December 5, 2012

Women's Ice Hockey Preps for Home-and-Home Series Against Princeton; On Road Friday at 4, Home on Saturday at 5

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Quinnipiac University Bobcats (10-7-2, 6-3-1 ECAC Hockey)
@ Princeton Tigers (5-7-2, 2-6-2 ECAC Hockey)
Friday December 7, 2012 – 4 p.m.
Hobey Baker Memorial Rink – Princeton, N.J. 

Quinnipiac University Bobcats (10-7-2, 6-3-1 ECAC Hockey)
@ Princeton Tigers (5-7-2, 2-6-2 ECAC Hockey)
Saturday December 8, 2012 – 5 p.m.
High Point Solutions Arena – Hamden, Conn.

Break is Near

The Quinnipiac women's ice hockey team will play their final games of the 2012 calendar year this weekend as they will take on Princeton in a home-and-home series to close out of the Fall semester. After the two games this weekend, Quinnipiac will not play a game until Jan. 5 when they take on McGill in an exhibition and won't play a conference opponent until Jan. 11 against Dartmouth. The Bobcats have been on a roll of late, winning three straight by a combined score of 14-3 over UConn, Rensselaer, and Union. Their record currently stands 10-7-2 heading into the Princeton series including a 6-3-1 mark in conference play, good for fourth place with 13 points. Quinnipiac dominated the series last season with a 1-0 victory and then 3-0 win the following night to sweep the two games from the Tigers. Princeton comes into Friday's game playing some of their best hockey of the season as the came away with a 2-1 in over Ohio St. on Nov. 24, shutout Union on Nov. 30, 3-0,, and then nearly came away with their third straight win but fell just short against Rensselaer, 4-3. The Tigers' Corey Stearns and Kelly Cooke combine for a great duo as Stearns comes in with 17 points (two goals, 15 assists) while Cooke has scored nine of her team's 33goals to start the season.

All-Time Against the Tigers

Quinnipiac hasn't had much success all-time against Princeton as they come into the weekend with a 5-10-2 mark but they have hot over the past two seasons, winning all five of their all-time meetings in the two previous years. Overall, the team comes in riding a four-game winning streak against the Tigers including a 2011 ECAC Hockey First Round series victory over Princeton on the road. The Bobcats won the first game 2-1 before recording a 2-0 shutout to sweep the best-of-three game series against Princeton for the program's first ever playoff series win. The two teams have locked up battles over their last six meetings despite the combined score of 14-6 favoring Quinnipiac.

Princeton Women's Hockey History

Playing in Hobey Baker Memorial Rink, Princeton certainly has a history that precedes itself as one of the hockey hotbeds throughout the years. The team featured many individual standouts in the early seasons including eight Tigers that have earned first team All-ECAC honors, which was the equivalent of All-American status in collegiate women's ice hockey until the late 1990's. Princeton set a program record for wins in 2006 with 21 victories, surpassing the previous high of 20, which was established in 2002-03 and 2003-04. Princeton made its first NCAA Tournament appearance in 2006, receiving an at-large berth to the tournament. Ultimately they lost in 2006 to the eventual runner-up in Minnesota, 4-0, but finished the year with a 21-8-4 overall record and 15-3-2 record within conference play. The Tigers play in Hobey Baker Rink as the building was named in honor of former Princeton star, Hobart A.H. "Hobey" Baker. He was a football and hockey star who died shortly after World War I. In Dec., 1921, it was decided to build an on-campus arena for the hockey team, and to name it after Baker. It is the second-oldest arena still in use in NCAA Division I hockey, behind only Matthews Arena at Northeastern University.

Last Weekend Recap

The Bobcats came away with an ECAC Hockey conference sweep last weekend as they took down Rensselaer and Union by the same score of 4-1 from High Point Solutions Arena. Friday night was dominated by the play of Kelly Babstock (two goals, one assist) and Nicole Kosta (one goal, one assist) who combined for five points in the victory over Rensselaer. Brittany Lyons recorded the game-winner late in the second period and Babstock added two insurance goals with less than seven minutes to play to hold off the Engineers. Saturday night featured a well-rounded offensive output from the Bobcats as Babstock (two assists), Kosta (two assists), Nicole Brown (one goal, one assist) and Regan Boulton (one goal, one assist) each posted multi-point games. Shelby Wignall chipped in her second career goal and Morgan Fritz-Ward found her third career goal to pad the lead in the third period. Victoria Vigilanti came through in net all weekend for the Bobcats as she earned the two victories, making 15 saves in net both nights while allowing just two goals in the two games over the weekend.

Third Time's a Charm

Kelly Babstock earned her third Hogan Hockey/ECAC Hockey Player of the Week honor of the year this Tuesday and seventh of her illustrious career. She put together a five-point weekend to lead all ECAC Hockey scorers including her 17th career multi-goal game on Friday against Union and her fifth game with at least two helpers this season on Saturday against Union. Her three Player of the Week honors lead all conference players this season.

On Her Game

Senior goalie Victoria Vigilanti earned her 13th career ECAC Hockey Goaltender of the Week and first this season on Tuesday. She led an inspired effort on the defensive end, making 15 saves in each of the 4-1 victories this past weekend. Vigilanti now holds a season-long three-game unbeaten streak, allowing only one goal in each game over the span.

Brownie Points

Freshman Nicole Brown had herself a career day on Saturday as she posted two points (one goal, one assist) for the first time in her Bobcat career. The standout freshman stands right behind Nicole Connery for the team-lead in points among freshman skaters with eight (four goals, four assists).

Blue Line Power

Regan Boulton has had herself a standout year as the senior defenseman posted two points (one goal, one assist) including the game-winner in Saturday's 4-1 win over Union. She has accumulated 17 points (four goals, 13 assists), good for fifth among ECAC Hockey defenseman and 10th in the nation among defenders in points-per-game (0.89).

Surging Forward

The Quinnipiac offense has exploded over the past three games with 14 goals over the span as the team scored at least four goals in all three matchups. The Bobcats currently stand ninth in the nation in scoring offense at 3.26 goals per game.

Penalty-Free

With only 114 penalty minutes through 19 games this season, the Bobcats come into the weekend as the least penalized team in the nation. They currently average six penalty minutes per game while the next-closest competitor averages 7.1 minutes per game.

Extra Attacker Goals

With two more power-play goals over the weekend the Bobcats continue their dominate play on the man advantage. They enter the weekend scoring at a 25.9 percent clip on the power play, good for sixth-best in the nation. Of the 62 Quinnipiac goals this season, 21 (33.9 percent) of them have come off the power play. Their production, in terms of power-play goals compared to the team's overall goals for the year, ranks fifth in the nation.

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 +21 plus/minus rating through 19 games. They each share the top spot in the ECAC Hockey standings as they're significantly higher than the next-closest player in the conference. Jillian Dempsey of Harvard sits in third place behind both Kosta and Babstock at +17.

Tenacious D

Shelby Wignall scored her second career goal on Saturday against Union in the third period to give the Bobcats a 3-1 lead. She last scored on Nov. 5, 2011 against Brown, a span that lasted 45 games.

Power Player

Brittany Lyons scored once last weeks and scored twice on the power play two weeks ago to move her season total to nine goals (six on the man advantage). Her power-play tallies currently sits tied for third among all players in the nation. With nine goals already in just 19 games, Lyons eclipsed her season total from last season (seven).

Kosting Right Along

With four points (one goal, three assists) in two games last week, Nicole Kosta continues her breakout season as her season total increased to 30 points (nine goals, 21 assists) that ranks second in the ECAC Hockey. With three helpers, she continues to lead the conference in assists with 21 on the year. Kosta is within range of her numbers from last year as she finished the 2011-12 season with 33 points (eight goals, 25 assists) through 34 games.

Shooting Spree
The Bobcats have combined to outshoot their opponents 139-45 through the last three games and haven't been outshot in a game since Nov. 10 against Rensselaer (seven games). For the season, the Bobcats have outshot their opponents 642-452 through 19 games so far.

Six is the Magic Number

The Bobcats have scored at least six goals in a game three times already this season in just 19 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. 

Double Trouble

Kelly Babstock etched her name further into Quinnipiac record books on Nov. 24 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.

She Shoots…She Scores…Again

With 18 goals and 19 assists in 19 games this season, Kelly Babstock has either scored or assisted on 37 of the team's 62 goals thus far in the season. She has had a hand in an astonishing 59.7 percent of the team's goals, which is the highest percentage of any player in the nation with Harvard's Jillian Dempsey the next-closest competitor at 57.1 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 Roeslerhave combined for 37 goals and 66 assists in 19 games throughout the season. The 103 points between the five players represents 65.6 percent of the total points for Quinnipiac (157 as a team).

Dynamite Ability

Kelly Babstock has been found near the top of the nation's statistical leaderboard all season. She currently ranks seventh in points-per-game (1.95), sixth in goals-per-game (0.95), tied for 12th in assists-per-game (1.00) and tied for second in shorthanded goals (two). She is one of only six players to own a spot in the nation's top-10 points per game, top-10 goals per game, and top 15 assists per game.

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-15 in points-per-game in the nation, each have contributed at least 30 points, with Babstock's 37 (18 goals, 19 assists) and Kosta's 30 (nine goals, 21 assists) leading the way for the Bobcats. They rank as the second-highest scoring duo in the country behind No. 1 Minnesota's Hannah Brandt and Amanda Kessell.

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 157 combined points for the Bobcats this season, Babstock and Kosta have accumulated 67 of those 157 for 42.7 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-15 nationally in assists-per-game. The two have combined to have a hand on 42-of-62 goals for the team on the season. Kosta has assisted on 33.9 percent (21-of-62) while Babstock has assisted on 30.6 percent (19-of-62) of the team's 62 goals this season. Kosta's percentage places her atop the nation's leaderboard in that category while Babstock sits right behind in fifth place.

Right Behind
Kelly Babstock comes into the weekend with 136 points which stands seventh among active Division I players. Her 66 goals are the second-most among active juniors as she trails only Minnesota's Amanda Kessel whose posted 73 tallies through her three seasons with the Golden Gophers.

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