The Michigan Wolverines (30-9-1) will face the Quinnipiac Bobcats (32-6-3) on Sunday night in the Allentown Regional Final. Winner advances to the Frozen Four next weekend; loser catches up on Bridgerton.
Stylistically, Quinnipiac presents a unique challenge to the Wolverines with a defensive scheme that will test Michigan’s discipline as much as their skill.
The Bobcats are the best defensive team in the country and have only allowed 46 goals in 41 games this year. Their goaltender Yanlv Perets ranks first in the country in goals-against-average (1.066) and second in save percentage (.944).
Even when playing with a man down, the Bobcats are difficult to score against. Quinnipiac has only allowed eight power play goals all season and their 91.8% penalty-kill is first in the country.
Offensively, the Bobcats are powered by defenseman and premiere set-up man Zach Metsa (9 G, 27 A). Despite being undersized, Metsa is an experienced senior who last year lead all defensemen in the country in assists, points, power-play assists (11), and power-play points (14).
The main beneficiary of Metsa’s play-making is a trio of 30-point forwards: Wyatt Bongiovanni (15 G, 18 A), Oliver Chau (13 G, 20 A), and Ethan de Jong (11 G, 20 A).
Despite only scoring 15 goals on the season, Michigan native and team captain Bongiovanni is the leading goal scorer for the Bobcats.
Although the Bobcats have a better record and better statistics, Quinnipiac is essentially a less talented Notre Dame. This isn’t a slight, but the Bobcats just didn’t play the same level of competition as the Irish and do not have the same talent depth on their roster.
However, any team that plays comparably to Notre Dame is a concern for Michigan whom went 1-5 against the Irish this season.
Quinnipiac will rely upon smothering team defense, a talented goalie, and an opportunistic offensive attack, that will try to use Michigan’s aggressiveness against them.
If the Wolverines are patient and defensemen maintain blue line integrity, Michigan should be able to get the job done comfortably. But if Michigan oversteps and forces the issue, the Wolverines will be undone by their own volition.
Quinnipiac tied American International College 2-2 at AIC and defeated the Yellow Jackets 2-1 in overtime at home.
Michigan defeated AIC 5-3 in the opening round of the NCAA Tournament.
How to Watch:
Where: PPL Center, Allentown, Pennsylvania
When: Sunday, 6:30 p.m.