Defense Plays Big for Women's Ice Hockey Down the Stretch; Helps Earn 1-1 Tie With St. Lawrence
CANTON, N.Y. – Heading into Friday's matchup deadlocked in the ECAC Hockey point standings, the Quinnipiac Bobcats and St. Lawrence Saints battled throughout and left Appleton Arena still tied after a 1-1 draw. The Bobcats battled off two Saints power play opportunities in the closing minutes of the third period and overtime as senior goalie Victoria Vigilanti (32 saves) and the Quinnipiac defense played big throughout to extend the Bobcats' unbeaten streak to seven games (5-0-2). Due to their win over the Saints earlier in the season, the Bobcats (17-9-4, 11-5-3 ECAC Hockey) keep hold of the fourth and final home playoff ice seed as they finish with the series victory over St. Lawrence (16-11-4, 11-5-3 ECAC Hockey).
Junior Amanda Colin (Burnsville, Minn.) scored the lone goal for the Bobcats on the evening as her power-play goal early in the first helped lift Quinnipiac to the result. Vigilanti moves her unbeaten streak to six games (4-0-2) as the senior goalie has allowed a mere four goals during the stretch for the Bobcats. The tie against St. Lawrence is the second in their all-time series history (5-9-2) but Quinnipac has played four straight at Appleton (2-0-2) without suffereing a defeat.
Colin picked a great time for her first goal of the season as her power-play goal gave Quinnipiac the early 1-0 lead. With less than 30 seconds remaining on the man advantage, freshman Cydney Roesler (Stittsville, Ontario) shot the puck from the left faceoff dot. The shot went wide but was corralled behind net and centered to Colin by freshman Nicole Connery (Newmarket, Ontario). Unmanned in front of the crease, Colin banged home the one-timer past Saints goalie Carmen MacDonald. Connery's assist is her eighth of the season while Roesler also registered her eighth helper.
Vigilanti was on top of her game early, denying Jackie Wand on a breakaway from center ice to keep her team in front and then with 10 seconds left in the period, Wand put a slap shot on net with her team on an odd man rush. The senior goalie deflected Wand's high in the air and then turned aside the rebound opportunity just before the horn sounded.
The Saints' pressure offense finally got to the Bobcats as the St. Lawrence leading scorer Kelly Sabatine blasted a slap shot past Vigilanti for the equalizer. The Saints pushed the puck along the right boards before Sabatine drew back her stick and fired a shot top shelf to beat the senior goalie.
Vigilanti continued to play big in the second as the Saints continued their aggressive play, leading 23-11 in shots-on-goal after two periods. Perhaps her most impressive came with 10 seconds remaining as Sabatine's faceoff win in the Bobcat defensive end was ripped to Vigilanti's glove side. The senior calmly snagged the puck out of midair however to prevent the unsuspecting goal.
After both sides battled ferociously throughout the third period, a Quinnipiac penalty with less than two minutes remaining in the final frame had the St. Lawrence faithful on their feet. The Bobcat defense and Vigilanti kept their composure throughout with several block shots and hustle plays to clear the puck and send the game into overtime.
In the extra frame, both side had a power play opportunity that went by the waste side. With both teams back skating five-on-five, St. Lawrence decided to pull their goalie with 37 seconds remaining to try and come up with the much-needed victory. Quinnipiac was up to the task one more time as the Bobcats held the Saints without a shot on net. Junior Kelly Babstock (Misssissauga, Ontario) had a potential opportunity at center ice but St. Lawrence defender Brooke Fernandez came flying in to separate Babstock from the puck and send both teams home with a tie.
Quinnipiac will look to increase their unbeaten streak to eight games as they take on No. 6 Clarkson from Cheel Arena tomorrow afternoon at 3 p.m. The Green Knights lost to Princeton 4-1 the night before as the Bobcats look to capitalize as well.
Contact: Maxx McNall; email@example.com