HAMDEN, Conn. - Freshman forward Kelly Babstock (Mississauga, Ontario) of the Quinnipiac women's ice hockey team has been named the 2010-11 ECAC Hockey Player of the Year, as announced by the league on Wednesday, Mar. 2. Babstock is the first player in Quinnipiac women's ice hockey program history to receive the award. The acceptance of the league's most prized individual award comes on the heels of being named Rookie of the Year, as well as being named to All-League First-Team and the All-Rookie Team.
"For a coach, Kelly Babstock is a once-in-a-lifetime student-athlete," said head coach Rick Seeley. "I have never coached a player as determined to create offense every second of every shift the way that Kelly does. It is hard to imagine a player has ever had the same impact on a program that Kelly has had on ours. She has been in on close to 60% of our goals this year. That takes a consistency that very few players ever achieve, and she's done it as a freshman. She has also totally committed herself to becoming a complete two-way player, trying to improve every aspect of her game, every day in practice. I am very proud of Kelly, and her accomplishments. I am very excited about the program and Kelly growing together over the next three years."
Babstock currently leads ECAC Hockey in goals (30), assists (28) and points (58), and finished the 2010-11 regular season second overall in league points (30). The freshman currently ranks first among all NCAA Division I freshman skaters in goals, assists and points and is second in points per game (1.61). Her 10 game-winning goals rank second among all NCAA Division I Women's Ice Hockey skaters, while she ranks sixth in goals, 12th in assists, and fifth in overall points. She has accumulated an incredible 17 multi-point games on the season thus far.
The Mississauga native finished the 2010-11 ECAC Hockey regular season as the league-leader in overall goals (29), assists (26) and points (55). She also finished first among all NCAA Division I Women's Ice Hockey rookie skaters in all three statistical categories, as well as finishing tied for first in the country with nine game-winning goals. The freshman led all ECAC Hockey skaters in conference goals (21) and shots (188), while finishing tied for first with two short-handed goals.
Babstock is a two-time ECAC Hockey/MLX Skates Player of the Week recipient and a five-time Rookie of the Week award winner. She has also received Quinnipiac University accolades, as she was named Quinnipiac Female Athlete of the Month for the months of November, December, and February.
The freshman forward has also received nationwide attention for her performance throughout the season. On January 17, 2010, Babstock became just the second athlete in school history to receive mention in Sports Illustrated's Weekly publication of its "Faces In The Crowd" section. Just this past week, Babstock was named one of the 26 nominees for the prestigious Patty Kazmaier Memorial Award, presented by Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine. The award is given annually to the most outstanding player in Division I Women's Ice Hockey.
Babstock began her Quinnipiac career hitting the ice in mid-stride, as she proceeded to collect at least one point in her first eight games of her career (the first skater in program history to ever accomplish this feat). On Friday, Nov. 26 in a 9-1 victory over Sacred Heart, she eclipsed the program's single-season points (30) and assists (17) records, while also breaking the program's single game points record of six points. The following Friday, Dec. 3, in just the 20th game of the season, Babstock broke Quinnipiac's single season goals record, scoring her 16th goal of the year in a 4-0 win over Brown.
Another defining game of the season for the freshman came on Saturday, Jan. 8 in an exhilarating 3-2 overtime victory over Clarkson. Babstock's program-record third hat trick of the season could not have come at a better time, as her late game heroics in regulation led to a game-tying goal with just under six minutes to play. With the score knotted at two apiece, Babstock buried the game-winner with 1:35 remaining in the extra frame, carrying the team to the victory and its first ECAC Hockey road series sweep of the season.
Just this past weekend, Babstock factored in both game-winning goals in its ECAC Hockey Quarterfinals sweep of No. 4 Princeton. Her assist with five seconds remaining in regulation on Friday, Feb. 25 propelled the Bobcats to a 2-1 win, while her goal and assist the following Saturday, Feb. 26 gave Quinnipiac the 2-0 victory, completing the sweep.
The Mississauga native led a Bobcats offense that scored a program-high 98 goals in the regular season. The 31 power play goals, also a program-record, helped the team accumulate a 20.8 power play percentage, which helped the squad rank third among ECAC Hockey teams during the regular season.
With Babstock's leadership, Quinnipiac has enjoyed its most successful season in program-history, capturing its most-ever overall (22) and league (12) win totals. Quinnipiac is poised for its first-ever ECAC Hockey Semifinals appearance this Thursday, Mar. 3 at 7 p.m. against No. 1 Cornell.
Also nominated for the Player of the Year award were Cornell teammates Rebecca Johnston and Laura Fortino.