Conference Play Resumes at High Point Solutions Arena as Women's Ice Hockey Takes on RPI and Union This Weekend

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Quinnipiac University Bobcats (8-7-2, 4-3-1 ECAC Hockey)
vs. Rensselaer Engineers (2-10-2, 0-4 ECAC Hockey)
Friday November 30, 2012 – 7 p.m.
High Point Solutions Arena – Hamden, Conn. 

Quinnipiac University Bobcats (8-7-2, 4-3-1 ECAC Hockey)
vs. Union Dutchwomen (3-6-2, 0-2-2 ECAC Hockey)
Saturday December 1, 2012 – 4 p.m.
High Point Solutions Arena – Hamden, Conn.

Welcome Home

The Quinnipiac women's ice hockey team returns home after facing three straight non-conference opponents to take on the ECAC Hockey's Rensselaer Engineers and Union Dutchwomen. The Bobcats have already played both teams this season with the battle at Union coming to a 2-2 draw while Quinnipiac recovered the following afternoon to take down the Engineers, 3-2, at Rensselaer. Both Union and Rensselaer enter the weekend winless in conference play, combining for a record of 0-6-2 through eight conference matchups. The Bobcats need not overlook their opponents however, as seven of their 10 losses have been by a one-goal deficit including tough losses to several quality opponents in Northeastern, Boston University, St. Lawrence, Robert Morris and Princeton. Union comes into play after falling to Providence 4-0 on Sunday but before that the Dutchwomen rode a three-game unbeaten streak (1-0-2) where they tied both Princeton and Quinnipiac while beating Syracuse, 4-2. Notoriously one of the worst teams in ECAC Hockey, the three game stretch was the longest since Oct. 23, 2004 when they held a four-game streak.

All-Time Against the Engineers

Quinnipiac needs to forget the past if they wish to get by the Engineers as there are still memories attached to the 2010 ECAC Hockey Quarterfinal series, the first home playoff series for the Bobcats in program-history. After winning the first of the three-game set, 2-1, in double overtime, Quinnipiac lost second game, 1-0, and finally the heartbreaking finale where the Bobcats lost, 2-1, after playing a record five overtime periods. Since then, Quinnipiac has recovered with a 4-0 mark in their last four meetings, but the Engineers own a 7-11-1 all-time series record playing the Bobcats. Victoria Vigilanti posted an incredible 57 saves in the five-overtime battle but it wasn't good enough as the Engineers scored on a transition play 4:32 into the eighth period of action. It was a brutal way to end the season as Quinnipiac had just finished their most successful season in program-history at 18-8-8 (11-4-7 ECAC Hockey) and made the playoffs for the first time in their history as well.

Rensselaer Hockey History

The Engineers have a long and storied hockey history. The women's ice hockey program began in the 1995-96 season, playing at the Division III level in ECAC East. In their final season in Division III, the 2004-05 season, the Engineers qualified to the championship game of the ECAC East Tournament. It was their second consecutive season in the championship. That season, RPI had 21 wins, compared to only six losses and league record of 17-2. In 2005-06, RPI was a Division I independent but the club won 18 games, lost six, and tied two. Rensselaer joined the ECAC Hockey for the 2006-07 season and has since gone on to become a respectable program within the conference. The record for most wins at the NCAA Division I level in one season is 19, which was set in 2008-09 (19-14-4). The overall program record is 21, set in 2004-05, the team's last year in Division III. The Engineers made NCAA history on Feb. 28, 2010, beating Quinnipiac 2-1 in five overtime periods. It is now the second longest college hockey game in NCAA history, surpassed a few weeks later on March 12, 2010 in a men's hockey contest between Quinnipiac and Union.

Scouting the Engineers

The team began the year with a tie and victory against UConn before putting a scare in national powers Boston University and Northeastern, losing by one goal in each game to a pair of teams who were ranked nationally. They followed with three more losses including their ECAC Hockey openers with St. Lawrence and Clarkson and they just recently defeated Vermont, 5-1, on Oct. 31 in their last game played. Even though they come into the weekend 2-10-2 (0-4 ECAC Hockey), seven of their losses have come by only one goal. The Bobcats need to take advantage of the Engineer's special teams play as Rensselaer comes into the weekend ranked 33rd out of 34 teams nationally on the penalty kill (68.3 percent, 41-for-60) and the 29th ranked team on the power play at12.3 percent (seven-for-57). Rensselaer's top scorer is freshman forward Alexa Gruschow who comes into the weekend with eight goals and five assists (13 points). Their top goaltender is Kelly O'Brien who's posted a 2.76 goals-against-average.

All-Time Against the Dutchwomen

The Bobcats could not come in with a better mark against the Dutchwomen as the team currently stands 18-0-4 all-time against Union, their best mark against any opponent in program-history. Quinnipiac thoroughly dominated the Dutchwomen last season as they won their only two matchups by a combined score of 11-3. The earlier meeting this season was significant for Union in that they registered a 2-2 tie with Quinnipiac. Dutchwomen goalie Shenae Lundberg posted 31 saves in net and kept the potent Bobcat offense scoreless for a majority of the first and second periods before freshman Nicole Brown scored on a laser shot from the point and junior Kelly Babstock took advantage of a defensive miscue with the game-tying goal in the third period. Sophomore goalie Chelsea Laden proved to be the different maker for Quinnipiac as she came up with a monster save, her 16th of the night, on a two-on-one break in the extra period to preserve the decision.

Union Hockey History

The Dutchwomen have notoriously been at the bottom of the ECAC Hockey standings since joining the conference. The most conference victories in one season for Union is two while their first ECAC Hockey victory came on Nov. 4, 2011. From 1999 to 2003 Union competed in Division III hockey until joining the ECAC Hockey. Their most successful season in program-history came in 2002-03 when the team finished 11-14-1, since then the team has not finished a season with more than five wins overall and no more than two in conference play. This season, however, the team has shown signs of life as they enter the weekend with a 3-6-2 overall mark, defeating a quality opponent in Syracuse on the way to their strong start. Their most recent ECAC Hockey weekend against Quinnipiac and Princeton was a big success as the Dutchwomen managed a pair of ties to come away with two points over the weekend.

Scouting the Dutchwomen

The Bobcats need to be concerned with this squad as they are a dangerous opponent, entering the weekend with a 3-6-2 overall record (0-2-2 ECAC Hockey). They managed a victory over UConn in their season opener before losing to national powers Northeastern, 4-1, and Boston University, 6-2. They followed with a win over cross-town rival Rensselaer, 3-2, before losing their first conference contests of the season on the road to Clarkson and St. Lawrence, a pair of teams that have been ranked nationally. In the last weekend in conference play the Dutchwomen battled Quinnipiac and Princeton to a pair of ties and just recently fell to non-conference opponent Providence. Union is led by Jessica Kaminsky (two goals, five assists) who comes in with the most points of any player on the roster. Union also features three other skaters who each share a piece of the team-lead in goals for the season as Courtney Turner (three goals, three assists) comes in with six points. Christine Valente (three goals, three assists) has scored all three of her goals on the power play to lead the team in that category. Finally, Kathryn Tomaselli has posted three goals, all of which have resulted in game-winners. Union comes in with lackluster special teams numbers as the power play (17 percent) and penalty kill (78.4 percent) sit near the bottom of the nationally rankings. Their goaltending this season has been some of the best the program has ever seen behind the play of freshman Shenae Lundberg who owns a 2-3-2 record, 2.64 goals-against-average, and .911 save percentage.

Last Time Out

The Bobcats played three non-conference games last week starting with New Hampshire on the road on Tuesday. Quinnipiac battled but let up dug themselves too big of a hole in the first period as the Wildcats first scored 34 seconds into the period and eventually built up a 3-1 lead heading into the intermission. New Hampshire claimed the victory, 5-2, from Towse Rink. Quinnipiac's goal scorers were Nicole Kosta and Brittany Lyons. Then over the weekend, Quinnipiac played in the ninth annual Nutmeg Classic where they were faced with one of their toughest opponents of the season in the First Round matchup against No. 5 Boston College. The Eagles scored a 3-0 shutout but Quinnipiac totaled the same number of shots as Boston College (27) and Victoria Vigilanti played well in net with 24 saves. In their third game of the week, the Bobcats took it to the UConn Huskies on Saturday in the Consolation Game with a 6-1 victory. Kelly Babstock scored two shorthanded goals while Brittany Lyons added a pair of power-play goals and Erica Uden Johansson tallied three points (one goal, two assists) in the victory.

Double Trouble

Junior Kelly Babstock etched her name further into Quinnipiac record books on Saturday as she became just the second player in program history to register two shorthanded goals in one game. She joins Ashley Jaffray, who recorded a pair against Northeastern on Oct. 16, 2006, as the only two Bobcats to ever accomplish the feat. Babstock added an assist to give her three points on the afternoon and move her season total to 32 (16 goals, 16 assists) that continues to lead the ECAC Hockey.

Power Player

Senior Brittany Lyons scored three times last week including twice on the power play to move her season total to eight goals (six on the man advantage). Her two power-play tallies moved her into a three-way tie for first place with Minnesota's Megan Bozek and North Dakota's Jocelyne Lamoureux for the most power-play goals on the season. With eight goals already in just 17 games, Lyons eclipsed her season total from last season (seven).

Kosting Right Along

With three points (one goal, two assists) in three games last week, sophomore Nicole Kosta continues her breakout season as her season total increased to 26 points (eight goals, 18 assists) that ranks second in the ECAC Hockey. With two helpers, she continues to lead the conference in assists with 18 on the year.

UJ's Career Day

Junior Erica Uden Johansson played a vital role in the team's victory over UConn on Saturday as she tied her career high with three points on the afternoon (one goal, two assists). She currently stands fourth on the team with 12 points and second with four power-play goals on the season.

There's the Game-Winner

Kelly Babstock's first shorthanded goal against UConn proved to be the difference as she recorded her team-leading third game-winning goal of the season and the 17th of her career. The goal was Quinnipiac's first shorthanded tally since Feb. 18, 2012 (20 games) when Bethany Dymarczyk scored against Rensselaer.

Tenacious D

The Quinnipiac defense was dominate all day on Saturday as they limited the Huskies to just 13 shots including none in the decisive third period. Victoria Vigilanti posted 12 saves to win her seventh game on the season and 60th of her career.

Shooting Spree

When the horned sounded to end the second period of Friday's tilt against Boston College, it broke the Bobcat's string of 10 consecutive periods totaling at least 10 shots-on-goal as they finished just short with nine. It was also the first time in 11 periods that Quinnipiac was outshot by their opponent as the Eagles totaled 10 in the frame.

Goals All Around

In a game that features six goals for the Bobcats, tied for the second-highest total in a game this season, Quinnipiac had four different goal scorers on the afternoon. Kelly Babstock and Brittany Lyons each finished with two while Erica Uden Johansson and Regan Boulton capped the scoring with one each.

Six is the Magic Number

The Bobcats have scored at least six goals in a game three times already this season in just 17 games played. This mark matches the most in a single season in program history when the team last accomplished the feat during the 2009-10 season. 

Blue Line Power

Senior defender Regan Boulton scored her third goal of the season on Saturday, her first since Oct. 12 (14 games) in a game against Maine. The senior has put together another solid season in her fourth year as she currently ranks third on the team in points (three goals, 12 assists) and fifth (10th nationally) among the ECAC Hockey's defensemen in points-per-game (0.88).

Nowhere Near Finished

The two-time ECAC Hockey Player of the Week and reigning ECAC Hockey Player of the Month Kelly Babstock has broken numerous records to start the 2012-13 season. With three points against Mercyhurst, she became the first player in program-history to reach 100 career points. She broke the program-record for goals in a game with four in a 6-1 victory over Maine. She tied the program-record for assists in a game with four against Dartmouth and also finished with the highest plus/minus (+5) of any Bobcat in a game in the program's history. Finally, she rode a six-goal point streak where she either scored or assisted on six straight Quinnipiac goals, a program-record.

Caution: Hot Surface Do Not Touch

Opponents haven't been able to touch Nicole Kosta of late as she posted a five-point weekend against Colgate and Cornell to help her earn her first career ECAC Hockey Player of the Week honor. Always noted for her gifted passing skills, Kosta is currently second in the ECAC Hockey in scoring (26 points) behind teammate Kelly Babstock and first in assists (18).

She Shoots…She Scores…Again

With 16 goals and 16 assists in 17 games this season, Kelly Babstock had either scored or assisted on 32 of the team's 54 goals thus far in the season. She has had a hand in an astonishing 59.3 percent of the team's goals, which is by far the highest percentage of any player in the nation with Clarkson's Jaime Lee Rattray the next-closest competitor at 52.1 percent.

Top-of-the-Line Production

The Bobcat's top offensive and defensive lines have completely dominated the Quinnipiac scoring to start the season. The production of top forwards Kelly Babstock, Nicole Kosta, and Erica Uden Johansson along with top defenders Regan Boulton and Cydney Roesler have combined for 33 goals and 57 assists in 17 games throughout the season. The 90 points between the five players represents 66.2 percent of the total points for Quinnipiac (134 as a team).

Dynamite Ability

Quinnipiac's Kelly Babstock has been found near the top of the nation's statistical leaderboard all season. She currently ranks eighth in points-per-game (1.88), seventh in goals-per-game (0.94), 18th in assists-per-game (0.94) and tied for 23rd in power-play goals (three).

Everything You Can Do I Can Do Better

Teammates Kelly Babstock and Nicole Kosta have teamed up this season for one of the most impressive tandems in the country thus far. Both rank in the top-20 in points-per-game in the nation, each have contributed at least 26 points, with Babstock's 32 (16 goals, 16 assists) and Kosta's 26 (eight goals, 18 assists) leading the way for the Bobcats. They ranks as the third-highest scoring duo in the country behind Minnesota's Hannah Brandt and Amanda Kessell and Mercyhurst's Christine Bestland and Emily Janiga.

Percent Difference

The combination of Kelly Babstock and Nicole Kosta ranks as the top scoring tandem in the nation when considering their team's total production. Of the team's 136 combined points for the Bobcats this season, Babstock and Kosta have accumulated 58 of those 136 for 42.6 percent. That percentage ranks as the highest of any pairing in the nation.

Magic Touch

Nicole Kosta had her program-record 11 game point scoring streak come to an end earlier this season at Syracuse but she and Kelly Babstock have shown impressive passing ability as they rank both in the top-18 nationally in assists-per-game. The two have combined to have a hand on 36-of-54 goals for the team on the season. Kosta has assisted on 33.3 percent (18-of-54) while Babstock has assisted on 29.6 percent (16-of-54) of the team's 54 goals this season. Kosta's percentage places her atop the nation's leaderboard in that category while Babstock sits right behind in sixth place.

On the Plus Side

Quinnipiac's Nicole Kosta and Kelly Babstock both have been instrumental in the team's success thus far in the season, evidenced by their +17 and +16 plus/minus rating through 17 games, respectively. Their rankings are significantly higher than the next-closest player in the ECAC Hockey. Jillian Dempsey of Harvard sits in third place behind both Kosta and Babstock at +12.

Extra Man Means Extra Goals for Quinnipiac

Of the 54 Quinnipiac goals in the 2012-13 season, 19 (35.2 percent) of them have come off the power play. With the overall team mark at 26 percent (19-of-73) throughout the season the Bobcats ranks seventh nationally on the man advantage and their proficiency when it comes to their total team production (19 of the 54 goals coming off the power play) ranks third in the nation.

Contact: Maxx McNall; maxx.mcnall@quinnipiac.edu