ECAC Hockey Playoffs
Thursday, March 3,
2011 - 7 p.m.
No. 5 Quinnipiac University Bobcats (22-11-3) (12-9-1 ECAC Hockey) vs.
No. 1 Cornell University Big Red (28-2-1) (20-1-1 ECAC Hockey)
Lynah Rink - Ithaca, N.Y.
The No. 5-seeded Quinnipiac women's ice hockey team (22-11-3, 12-9-1 ECAC Hockey) travels to face No. 1 seeded Cornell (28-2-1, 20-1-1 ECAC Hockey) this Thursday, Mar. 3 at 7 p.m. in what marks the program's first-ever ECAC Hockey Semifinal appearance. The Bobcats emerged from its Quarterfinals matchup against No. 4 Princeton unscathed, defeating the Tigers two games to none in the best-of-three series.
Live Stats and Audio for Thursday's game can be accessed by clicking on the appropriate links on the women's ice hockey schedule at www.quinnipiacbobcats.com. Live Video will also be accessible for a one-time payment price of $7.95, also found on Quinnipiac's Athletic website.
The Big Red finished the 2010-11 season as one of the top teams in both ECAC Hockey and in all of Division I Women's Ice Hockey. Cornell led the league in goals (142), assists (238), goals per game (4.58), and power play percentage (25.9 percent). Cornell's prowess on its power play was further difficult for opposing teams to handle, as the Big Red did well to stay out of the penalty box itself, having the least penalty minutes (206) of any team in the league. Defensively, the Big Red were also dominant, leading the league in goals against (31), power play goals against (6), and save percentage (.947 percent).
Nationally, Cornell ranked at the top or near the top in many of the same categories. The Big Red finished first among all NCAA Division I Women's Ice Hockey Teams in winning percentage (.919), penalty kill percentage (94.1), and scoring defense (1.00). Cornell's power play percentage ranked the team second, while points per game ranked it third.
Cornell's two goaltenders (junior Amanda Mazzotta and sophomore Lauren Slebodnick) finished first and second, respectively, in goals against average among all NCAA Division I Women's Ice Hockey players (Mazzotta - .91gaa, Slebodnick - 1.15 gaa). The duo, who split playing time this season, also finished first and fourth in save percentage, with Mazzotta leading the nation with a .953 mark and Slebodnick with a .942 mark. Freshman forward and ECAC Hockey First-Team Brianne Jenner led all NCAA Division I Women's Ice Hockey rookie skaters in points per game after accumulating 47 points (22 goals, 25 assists) in just 29 games.
Though efforts to catch the most dominant player in all of ECAC Hockey (Quinnipiac's own Player of the Year recipient, Kelly Babstock) were fruitless, Jenner and four other teammates finished in the top six in ECAC Hockey in overall points. Junior (and fellow ECAC Hockey First-Teamers) Rebecca Johnston garnered 46 points on the season, while Second-Team recipient Chelsea Karpenko (42 points) and Third-Team award winner Catherine White (40) finished fourth and fifth, repectively. First-Team Laura Fortino rounded out Cornell's top six with 35 points on the season.
All-Time Against The
Thursday's game will be the 15th time the two sides face each other, as Cornell owns the all-time series lead with a 6-3-5 mark. In their last meeting on Saturday, Nov. 20, 2010, Cornell skated to a 4-0 victory over the Bobcats. The Big Red came out firing in the first period unleashing 13 shots in the frame, accounting for its 4-0 advantage heading into the locker rooms at the intermission. Quinnipiac would hold the Big Red scoreless for the remainder of the game; however it too would not find the back of net throughout the contest. Sophomore goaltender Victoria Vigilanti (Woodbridge, Ontario) made 33 saves on the evening for Quinnipiac.
Last Time Out
Quinnipiac turned in two of its best-played games of the season in its opening round ECAC Hockey Quarterfinals sweep of No. 5 Princeton on Friday, Feb. 25 and Saturday, Feb. 26. On Friday night, the Bobcats came away with a thrilling 2-1 victory over the Tigers, thanks to a game-winning goal by sophomore forward Brittany Lyons (Canton, Mass.) with just five second remaining in regulation. On the play, freshman forward Kelly Babstock (Mississauga, Ontario) outhustled two Princeton defenders to a loose puck behind the net and delivered a perfect pass (while falling to the ice) to Lyons who was crashing the net. After falling behind, 1-0, junior defender Bethany Dymarczyk (Hamden, Conn.) scored Quinnipiac's first goal on a second period slap shot with 7:47 remaining in the frame. Vigilanti made 20 saves in the contest.
The following afternoon, the Bobcats ensured that a game three would not be necessary, as the team skated to a 2-0 shutout victory over the Tigers. Babstock's redirection goal in the second period proved to be the game-winner (her league-high 10th such goal of the season), while her assist to fellow freshman forward Erica Uden Johansson (Sundsvall, Sweden) with 13 seconds remaining in the third period sealed the victory for Quinnipiac. The shutout for Vigilanti was her league-high ninth shutout of the season.
With the two victories, Quinnipiac improves to 3-2 all-time in post-season play. The Bobcats only other post-season appearance came last year during the 2009-10 season. In 2009-10, Quinnipiac went 1-2 in its playoff stint, falling to Rensselaer in its opening round Quarterfinals matchup. The Bobcats took the first game of the best-of-three series on Friday, Feb. 26, as sophomore forward Chelsea Illchuk's (Lockport, Manitoba) double overtime goal propelled Quinnipiac to its first-ever playoff victory. After falling to Rensselaer, 1-0, the following Saturday, Feb. 27, Quinnipiac and Rensselaer proceeded to play in the second-longest game in the history of NCAA Division I Ice Hockey on Sunday, Feb. 28. The game, which ended on a goal by Rensselaer forward Alisa Harrison in the fifth overtime, was the longest women's ice hockey game since it became an NCAA sport in 2001. Sophomore defender Bethany Dymarczyk's (Hamden, Conn.) game-tying goal with just 5:22 remaining in the third period would be Quinnipiac's only goal on the evening. Vigilanti played one of the best games of her career, earning a career-high 57 saves on the night.
Bab-Stocking Up On
Freshman forward Kelly Babstock's amazing 2010-11 season resulted in multiple regular-season award selections. Babstock was named both ECAC Hockey Player and Rookie of the Year, while also being named to both First-Team All-League and the All-Rookie Team. Babstock is the first player in Quinnipiac women's ice hockey program history to be honored with a Player of the Year selection, and only the second player to be named First-Team All-League and Rookie of the Year in the same season.
Sophomore goaltender Victoria Vigilanti (Woodbridge, Ontario) received a 2010-11 ECAC Hockey Third-Team All-League selection. This was the second consecutive year in which she earned an All-League selection, as she was honored with a First-Team selection (in addition to winning Rookie of the Year) a season ago.
ECAC Hockey Top
Head coach Rick Seeley was named one of the three finalists for the 2010-11 ECAC Hockey Coach of the Year. Seeley has led the 2010-11 Bobcats to program records in both overall wins (22) and conference wins (12). Last season, Seeley was awarded with ECAC Hockey Coach of the Year after leading his team to a then program-record 19 overall wins and 11 ECAC Hockey victories.
Brittany Lyons game-winning goal with five seconds remaining in regulation added to what is already a terrific season for the sophomore. The game-winner was her third of the season, while her one goal and two assists over the weekend increased her season totals to 11 and 10, respectively. Her 21 points ranks her fifth overall on the team.
Junior defender Bethany Dymarczyk's (Hamden, Conn.) rocket of a slap shot in the second period of Game 1 evened the score, 1-1, and helped the Bobcats regain momentum in the contest. Dymarczyk now has five goals, as well as 18 assists, ranking her fourth on the team in overall points.
Freshman forward Kelly Babstock (Mississauga, Ontario) has been named one of the 26 nominees for this year's 2011 Patty Kazmaier Memorial Award, presented by Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine. Babstock is one of just two freshman nominated and is one of six skaters chosen from ECAC Hockey. On the season, Babstock leads all NCAA freshmen, as well as all of ECAC Hockey, in goals (30), assists (28) and points (58). She ranks second in the country with 10 game-winning goals.
Streak To 12
Saturday's game marked the 12th straight game in which Quinnipiac's penalty-kill unit prevented the opposition from scoring on its extra skater advantage. During that time span which dates back to Saturday, Jan. 22, teams have gone 0 for 29 against the Bobcats. On the season overall, Quinnipiac has an 90.2 percent penalty-kill success rate and has allowed only 11 power play goals against.