Published: Tuesday, March 26, 2013
by Chris Hunn, Register Staff
email@example.com / Twitter: @Chris_Hunn
|Zach Davies is in his senior year with the Quinnipiac Bobcats|
photo courtesy NH Register
HAMDEN — Quinnipiac senior defenseman Zach Davies isn't used to getting much attention from the media.
He skated off the ice Tuesday to a nearby television camera. A notepad and pencil quickly followed. But that's what happens when you're named the ECAC's best defensive defenseman and play for the top team in the nation.
"It's okay," said Davies, about getting some recent press. "It's kind of nice."
Davis has flown under the radar for most of his four years at Quinnipiac. He's soft-spoken and humble.
"He's been a quiet leader for us," Bobcats coach Rand Pecknold said. "He's not one to be aggressive and find the cameras or mics or anything like that. He's handled it well. I'm happy for him. He deserves it."
Davies and the Bobcats will open up NCAA tournament play on Saturday against Canisius at 5:30 p.m. at the Dunkin Donuts Center in Providence, R.I.
Quinnipiac boasts goaltender Eric Hartzell, a Hobey Baker Award finalist. Pecknold is also quick to mention the Bobcats' deep and talented group of defensemen when it comes to the season's success. And he says Davies has had the best season of them all.
Davies has been a staple in the Quinnipiac lineup since he was a freshman. He's given the Bobcats consistency and steadiness over the last four years. But Pecknold said he's elevated his competitiveness, which has turned Davies from a very good player to an excellent one.
"This year he's been lights out," Pecknold said. "He's been locked in every game and it's really made him one of the best defensemen in our league."
At 6 feet and 170 pounds, Davies, who is from British Columbia, doesn't stand out in terms of size. But in the words of his coach, he has "NHL skating ability." Add to that a strong stick and a good hockey sense. He finds ways to win battles and blocks shots.
Pecknold also makes sure to note Davies' accomplishments off the ice, too. He holds a 3.85 GPA, graduated in three years and is pursuing his MBA.
Davies attributes much of his success to everyone else, especially second-year assistant coach Reid Cashman. They dissect film together. He offers Davies advice and the confidence Cashman has shown in him — whether it's giving him a last-minute or extra shift — has made a difference.
"He's never too high or too low," Cashman said. "We can rely on that. He's an elite skater. Combine those two things, and he's been great for us this year."
It will be difficult for Davies to avoid some of the spotlight now. He will embrace it, but while remaining soft-spoken and humble.
"Honestly, I had no thoughts of it ever happening," said Davies about winning the league's top defensive defenseman. "Obviously, that has a lot to do with the team and where you play. But it's nice to be recognized."