PRINCETON, N.J. - Freshman forward Kelly Babstock's (Mississauga, Ontario) second period goal proved to be the game-winner for the No. 5-seeded Quinnipiac women's ice hockey team, whose 2-0 victory over No.4-seeded Princeton helped the team advance to its first-ever ECAC Hockey Semifinal Game. The Bobcats swept the best-of-three series, two games to none, after defeating the Tigers the previous night, 2-1.
The Bobcats took the 1-0 lead just over two minutes into the second period on a deflection goal by Babstock, her ECAC Hockey-leading 30th tally of the season. Babstock, who skated in to create a screen in front of Princeton's junior goaltender Rachel Weber, got a stick on the puck off a shot from sophomore defender Felica Vieweg (Port Orange, Fla.). Vieweg earned her ninth assist of the season on the score.
Following the goal, Quinnipiac did well to keep a hungry Tigers unit at bay. Desperately searching for the game's equalizer, junior forward Danielle DiCesare turned in the best scoring chance for Princeton during the period as she received a pass in front of the net and flicked a backhanded shot towards the top-right corner. Sophomore goaltender Victoria Vigilanti (Woodbridge, Ontario) was quick to react, turning away the attempt with her blocker. Vigilanti made nine saves in the second period and 18 saves overall in the contest. Her counterpart Weber turned away 23 shots overall in the game for Princeton.
Quinnipiac's defense dug in during the third period, withstanding a Princeton squad that was seeking the game-tying goal. Despite multiple Princeton attempts late in the third, including two point-blank shots by freshmen forwards Sally Butler and Olivia Mucha coming at the 16:40 and 16:57 marks, respectively, Vigilanti and the Bobcats defense stayed strong.
Freshman forward Erica Uden Johansson (Sundsvall, Sweden) sealed the victory for Quinnipiac, netting an empty net goal with just 13 second remaining in the third period. After Princeton pulled Weber with 56 seconds to go, Babstock out-skated a Princeton attacker to the puck and found Uden Johansson who skated in unmarked for the easy goal.
The first period was a defensive struggle, as neither team could break through for a score during the initial 20 minutes of play. Quinnipiac held a favorable advantage in the shot department, outshooting Princeton 9 to 4 in the frame. The Bobcats were held scoreless on its one power play opportunity in the stanza, though not without registering one of the best scoring chances in the frame. With 45 second remaining on the penalty which was whistled at the 9:01 mark into the period, sophomore forward Brittany Lyons (Canton, Mass.) found herself open on the far side of the net. Her quick wrist shot beat junior goaltender Rachel Weber, but hit the pipe, deflecting away from the net.
On the afternoon, Quinnipiac stayed out of the penalty box for the entire contest, while Princeton was whistled for three penalties overall.Quinnipiac awaits the result of Sunday's ECAC Quarterfinals matchup between No. 3-seeded Dartmouth and No. 6-seeded Clarkson to determine where it will travel for its ECAC Hockey Semifinal game. If Dartmouth wins the series, Quinnipiac will travel to face No. 1-seeded Cornell on Thursday, Mar. 3; whereas if Clarkson pulls out the upset, the Bobcats will travel to face No. 2-seeded Harvard on that same date. The game's start time is yet to be determined.