Hughes' Hat Trick Powers Women's Ice Hockey Past RPI, 6-1

HAMDEN, Conn. - Freshman forward Heather Hughes (Stoufville, Ontario) notched her first career hat trick and added an assist as the Quinnipiac University women's ice hockey team defeated Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, 6-1, Saturday afternoon. Freshman goaltender Victoria Vigilanti recorded 29 saves in goal as the Bobcats' record improves to 4-3-1 overall, with a 2-0 stance in ECAC Hockey, giving Quinnipiac women's ice hockey their best start in the program's history. The Engineers' record drops to 2-5-3 overall, with a 0-1-1 conference record.

The Bobcats offense erupted from the start, scoring four first period goals. Sophomore Bethany Dymarczyk opened up the scoring with a power play goal at the 4:03 mark of the first. The defender received a pass from Kelley Davies (Chesapeake, Va.) from the right side and ripped a shot from the center of the blue line into the left corner of the net for her second goal of the year. The assist was Davies' second of the season.

Hughes notched her first goal of the game 26 seconds later on an assist by fellow freshman Breehan Polci (London, Ontario). Polci wrapped around the back of the net to find Hughes positioned outside the crease by the left post. Polci made a quick pass to her line mate and Hughes lifted it into the upper right corner of the net for the early 2-0 lead. The assist was Polci's first of her career.

Hughes struck again for the Bobcats on another power play opportunity at the 10:51 marker of the first. Skating past the left faceoff circle, sophomore Chelsea Illchuk (Lockport, Manitoba) fired a pass to Dymarczyk at the right point. Dymarczyk blasted a shot on net that was tipped by Hughes into the upper right side for her second tally of the game. The assist was Illchuk's first point of the 2009 season, and it was Dymarczyk's second assist of the weekend.

Senior forward Janine Duffy (Toronto, Ontario) closed out the Bobcats' first period scoring with a snipe at the 18:56 mark. From behind the net, Hughes skated wide around the right post, to find Duffy in front of the net. Duffy converted on the quick pass from Hughes and rifled a shot into the upper left corner with such force that the puck lodged between the upper right post and the netting. The 4-0 goal was Duffy's second of the season, and it was Hughes' first assist of the year. Sophomore Jordan Elkins (Wasilla, Alaska) was also credited with an assist on the play.

After a scoreless second period, the Engineers scored their lone goal of the game after they pulled their goalie and brought in a sixth skater during a power play opportunity in the third. Allysen Weidner dished the puck from the right side to find Taylor Horton streaking through the slot. Horton buried the puck between the pads of Vigilanti at the 16:25 mark for her third goal of the year.

The Engineers continued to play with an extra skater, pulling their goaltender, Shannon Ramelot. The Bobcats capitalized on the opportunity, scoring back-to-back empty net goals at the 17 minute and 19:47 marks of the third period. Hughes notched the first of the two, after Illchuk broke up a play in the defensive zone and skipped a pass to Hughes at center ice for her second assist of the game. Sophomore Stacey Kmill (Thunder Bay, Ontario) scored the second empty netter, good for her first goal of the season and the 6-1 Bobcat lead.

Vigilanti turned aside 29 shots by the Engineers in her third victory of the season. RPI goaltender Sonja van der Bliek was pulled after the first three Quinnipiac goals, making four saves in the ten minutes played and earning the loss. Ramelot recorded 14 saves, and allowed one goal in 45 minutes played.

Quinnipiac returns to action next weekend in their first ECAC Hockey road series at Brown and Yale. The Bobcats will take on the Bears on Friday, Nov. 6 at 7 p.m., and will face the Bulldogs on Saturday, Nov. 7 at 4 p.m.