Kelly Babstock's Seventh Career Hat Trick Propels No. 10 Women's Ice Hockey to 3-1 Victory Over Princeton
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HAMDEN, Conn. – Senior Kelly Babstock (Mississauga, Ontario) scored two goals in the first period and tacked on one more in the third to lead the Quinnipiac University women's ice hockey team to a 3-1 victory over ECAC Hockey foe Princeton on Tuesday night at HighPoint Solutions Arena. With the win, the Bobcats improve to 15-2-5 overall and 6-2-4 in league play. Princeton falls to 9-7-2 overall and 6-5-1 in conference action.
Coming into the evening as the nation's scoring leader, Babstock added to her point total with her seventh career hat trick and second this season. She came into play with the second-highest assist total in the nation with 22 but it was her prolific goal scoring ability that shined against the Tigers as she upped her season total to 15 goals to go along with 22 assists for 37 points. The nation's active career goals leader (91) also crept ever closer to the 200 career point mark as she now stands at 191 (91 goals, 100 assists).
Junior goalie Chelsea Laden (Lakeville, Minn.) was solid once again in net for the Bobcats as she posted 25 saves on 26 shots to earn her 13th victory of the season. Laden sports at 1.10 goals against average and .946 save percentage in her 20 appearances this year, 16 of which she allowed one or fewer goals. Her numbers across the board rank in the Top 5 among goalies throughout Division I.
After a month off due to the annual winter break for the team, Quinnipiac showed no rust in the early going as they picked up an early goal at 4:08. Babstock was credited with the goal but the play was created by freshman Emma Woods (Burford, Ontario) who forced a turnover along the far side boards in the Princeton defensive end. She skated with the puck behind Princeton goalie Kimberly Newell and faked a wraparound attempt only to back pass to Babstock waiting at the opposite corner. As Babstock tumbled to the ice, she was able to land a stick on the pass and beat Newell low for the goal.
The Bobcat offense continued to click later in the first period as Babstock was on the receiving end of a nice clear from their own defensive end by senior Olivia Brackett (Coopersville, Mich.) who found freshman Meghan Turner (Bedford, N.H.) in the neutral zone with a pass through a couple Princeton skaters. Turner pushed the puck forward to Babstock at the blue line who worked around to her forehand and wristed home the goal through Newell's leg padding.
Play evened out in a scoreless second period before the Tigers struck back with their sixth shorthanded goal of the season. Brianna Leahy and Denna Laing pressured the Quinnipiac defenders into a turnover in their own defensive end while the Bobcats were on the power play. Leahy took the puck off the boards and centered to Laing who quickly shot high and through on Laden to make it a 2-1 game with more than 18 minutes to play.
Pressure came throughout the final stanza from the Princeton lineup but the Bobcat defense was able to hold off the Tigers throughout the final period and finished it off with a late empty netter from Babstock. She stole the puck off the stick of a Tigers' skater along the near side boards and possessed the puck all the way into the Princeton defensive end. Instead of looking for her shot she initially spotted senior Amanda Colin (Burnsville, Minn.) at the far post and looked to pass but a Princeton defender dove to the ice and took that look away. After waiting for her to slide by, Babstock patiently flicked a wrist shot into the empty net and closed out her hat trick and the scoring at 3-1.
Quinnipiac will look to make the most of their two off days before heading to Rensselaer and Union this weekend for a pair of conference games.
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