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Quinnipiac finishes up practice on Friday (photo: Melissa Wade).

TAMPA, Fla. — Quinnipiac’s defensive scheme has given teams fits all season, contesting neutral ice and forcing teams outside of their comfort zone.

This week, Bobcats coach Rand Pecknold and his players have talked about the importance of focusing on the style of play that’s resulted in a 32-3-7 record and a place in the national title game.

Pecknold refers to the style of play as his team’s “identity”: Battle hard on the forecheck without overcommitting and frustrate opponents in the neutral zone.

When asked about his 1-3-1 forecheck, Pecknold corrected the questioner.

“First off, we refer to it as a 1-1-3,” he said. “You can call it whatever you will. Some people call it a left-wing lock, which is not the right term.

“It’s something that allows us to kind of clog up the neutral zone a little bit. Our guys buy into it. It’s not a passive 1-1-3, it’s aggressive and we want to close gaps and create turnovers and deny time and space. I don’t want to get into all the intricacies of running a good 1-1-3 but it definitely caused problems for BC.”

Quinnipiac knows it needs to execute to perfection if it wants to shut down North Dakota’s top line of Nick Schmaltz, Drake Caggiula and Brock Boeser.

“I think they present challenges like Harvard’s top line and Boston College’s top line,” said Quinnipiac defenseman Devon Toews. “They have speed, size, skill. We’ve got to play our game and get in their face and take away their time and space, and we’ll be fine.”

“And it’s a good equalizer when you go up against teams [like Boston College and North Dakota],” said Pecknold. “It slows people down a little bit. But in the end it’s not just about the 1-1-3. We want to play offense off our forecheck. We got some good goals off forechecks [against Boston College].”

To be successful against the Fighting Hawks, the Bobcats know that they need every player to continue to focus on the type of play that’s gotten them this far.

“It really starts off the ice and guys being one big unit,” said Jonzzon. “I think that’s really translated for us. And I think that guys have bought in because they know the guy next to them is buying in.”