ST. CLOUD, Minn. – After 65 minutes of battling for loose pucks, close calls at the net and stalwart goaltending, the Quinnipiac women's ice hockey team's season-opener at St. Cloud State ended in a tie, 0-0. The Bobcats did, however, defeat St. Cloud State, 3-2, in a shoot-out, with the game-winning goal coming from local product senior Amanda Colin (Burnsville, Minn.). It was the Bobcats' first scoreless draw since Feb. 5, 2010 when they battled Cornell to a 0-0 tie through regulation and overtime.
Under WCHA rules, if the overtime period ends with the game still tied, both sides would enter into a shoot-out. As this was a non-conference match-up, those rules do not apply in determining wins or losses, but an agreement prior to the game allowed for a "practice" shoot-out after the regulation and overtime periods. Much like the NHL standards, each side attempted a penalty shot, starting from center ice, for three rounds. If the score remained tied, they would continue to go round-by-round until a winner was determined.
The Bobcats opened their first shoot-out since Dec. 30, 2007 (Nutmeg Classic Championship against Niagara) with a goal from senior forward Kelly Babstock (Mississauga, Ontario). In the fourth round, freshman Emma Woods (Burford, Ontario) pushed home a goal that was ultimately deemed good by the officials after a lengthy review. St. Cloud State answered both Bobcat goals until the seventh round when Colin beat the Huskies' goalie Julie Friend glove side. Now it was up for Bobcat junior goalie Chelsea Laden (Lakeville, Minn.), another local star, to close the door on the victory. Laden was rewarded for her sensational 19-save effort throughout regulation and overtime with a game-ending stop on St. Cloud State to finish off the shoot-out win.
Laden was the story for the Bobcats all evening as she finished with her second career shutout, making several key stops, including one on a breakaway attempt in the first period, that kept her team in the game. In the first period, she made some nifty pad saves but none bigger than her stop on the Huskies' leading scorer a year ago, Molli Mott. The senior forward picked up an errant Bobcat pass at center ice and skated in on Laden. Mott kept the puck on her forehand, bore in with a ton of speed tores the goal but was denied by Laden's blocker on a quick wrist attempt.
St. Cloud State would get another golden opportunity in the second stanza as they went on a 5-on-3 power play for over a minute. Pucks flew around the outside of the Bobcat defensive formation and eventually on Laden's net but the junior goalie was certainly up to the task. The Quinnipiac defense combined with Laden to kill off the threat without any damage as the game went into the third still scoreless.
Once again, the Quinnipiac pressure was evident from the opening faceoff of the third as they held the puck in the St. Cloud State end for a majority of the frame. Senior forward Kelly Babstock (Mississauga, Ontario) put on an incredible display of stick handling towards the later stages of third period as she came in on a two-on-one breakaway from center ice. The Bobcats' all-time leading scorer darted to the middle of the ice and nearly fell on top of the stick. Crashing towards Friend, Babstock was able to locate the loose puck while sliding on her knees and barley missed the game's first goal as the Huskies' goalie was able to get a glove on the highlight-worthy attempt.
The Bobcats will rest up and get back on the ice tomorrow in the series finale against the Huskies at 4:07 pm from Herb Brooks National Hockey Center.
Contact: Maxx McNall; email@example.com