Chelsea Laden Saves the Day in Net For Bobcats; Prevents Game-Winner in Overtime of 2-2 Tie Against Union
SCHENECTADY, N.Y. – Faced with a two-on-one break with less than two minutes to go in the overtime period, sophomore goaltender Chelsea Laden (Lakeville, Minn.) made the save of the night to deny the game-winner and hand the Bobcats a 2-2 tie against Union on Friday night at Messa Rink. Union's Christine Valente received the crossing pass and skated in on Laden unimpeded. The sophomore goalie stood tall and made one of her 16 saves on the evening to preserve the tie for Quinnipiac. The Bobcats move to 5-4-2 (2-2-1 ECAC Hockey) while Union stands at 3-5-1 (0-2-1 ECAC Hockey).
Controlling the game throughout, the Bobcats finished with a 34-17 advantage in shots-on-goal but couldn't break through a solid defensive outing from Union. Quinnipiac extends its unbeaten streak to 22 games against Union as their all-time record currently stands at 18-0-4, their best mark against any opponent in their history. Junior Kelly Babstock (Mississauga, Ontario) extended her point streak to four games with a goal while a couple Quinnipiac underclassmen had career firsts in the 2-2 decision.
The Dutchwomen continued their reoccurring trend all season as they scored a power-play goal in the first period. Despite being outscored for the season, 30-16, Union owns the advantage in first period scoring, 7-6, against nine opponents this season. They took advantage of their one power-play opportunity in the opening stanza as Christine Valente scored from Maddy Norton and Alex Tancrell-Fontai.
Quinnipiac found the equalizer at 14:04 of the second period. The play started with a great defensive effort from sophomore Morgan-Fritz Ward (Mason City, Iowa). She blocked a Union shot from the point, corralled the loose puck and sent a pass over to freshman Nicole Brown (Oshawa, Ontario) who led the rush up ice for the Bobcats. Brown carried the puck over the blue line and ripped a slap shot that banged off the post and in for the equalizer. The goal was Brown's first career tally and Fritz-Ward's first career assist.
Union goaltender Shenae Lundberg denied a golden opportunity by the Bobcats to start the third period. The Dutchwomen mishandled the puck on the power-play at center ice and left sophomore Nicole Kosta (Mississauga, Ontario) on a breakaway from the blue line. After a few stick moves, Kosta's backhand attempt was pad saved by Lundberg to prevent the scoring opportunity.
A defensive error from Quinnipiac in the third period came back to bite to the Bobcats. The Quinnipiac clearance attempt failed as the pass from behind Laden's goal was deflected and immediately shot on goal by Elsa Bruestle. Laden made the initial save but the rebound out front was knocked in by Kathryn Tomaselli to give Union a 2-1 lead.
The Bobcats returned the favor less than five minutes later. The Dutchwomen turned the puck over in their own end as a centering pass was intercepted by Babstock. The ECAC Hockey's leading scorer knew was to do with the puck as she made a couple stick moves before firing a wrister by Union goalie Shenae Lundberg for the goal, her 12th of the season.
The overtime period featured scoring opportunities from both sides as the Bobcats generated several chances in the Union defensive end. Babstock nearly connected with Kosta on a centering pass but the Dutchwomen nicked a piece of the pass to send it out wide.
The Bobcats will next take on Rensselaer on Saturday at 4 p.m. from Houston Field House as they look to continue their three-game winning streak against the Engineers.
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