STORRS, Conn. –Sophomore forward Erica Uden Johansson (Sundsvall, Sweden) made a dramatic return to the ice on Friday afternoon for the Quinnipiac women's ice hockey team, netting the game-winning goal with 5:31 remaining in regulation, as the Bobcats skated to a 4-2 victory over Connecticut in the first round of the Nutmeg Classic Tournament at Freitas Ice Forum in Storrs, Conn. With the win, Quinnipiac advances to Saturday's Championship Game, set for a 7 p.m. start, and improves to 8-7-1 overall. Connecticut falls to 2-12-2 overall on the season.
Senior defender Jordan Elkins (Wasilla, Alaska) added two assists on the Bobcats' first two scores, while sophomore forward Amanda Colin (Burnsville, Minn.), junior forward Breann Frykas (East St. Paul, Manitoba), and freshman forward Nicole Kosta (Mississauga, Ontario) each contributed one goal apiece in the victory.
Quinnipiac junior goaltender Victoria Vigilanti (Woodbridge, Ontario) made 24 saves in net, while her counterpart senior Alexandra Garcia turned away 31 shots overall.
The Bobcats grabbed the early 1-0 lead at the 6:18 mark into the first period of play on Colin's redirection power-play goal. Quinnipiac senior defenders Jordan Elkins (Wasilla, Alaska) and Bethany Dymarczyk (Hamden, Conn.) worked the puck up top where Elkins fired off a slap shot towards the net. Colin and junior forward Brittany Lyons (Canton, Mass.) provided a perfect screen in front of Connecticut's senior goaltender Alexandra Garcia, which allowed Colin's redirected shot to sneak through for her fourth score of the year. Elkins and Dymarczyk were each credited with their second and fourth respective assists of the season.
The power-play score was the Bobcats' only extra skater advantage on the afternoon. Connecticut was held scoreless on its two power-play opportunities.
Huskies' sophomore forward Jocelyn Slattery knotted the score at one apiece with her third goal of the season at the 4:44 mark into the second period of play. Slattery collected a Quinnipiac turnover at center ice and raced in towards the net where she fired a backhanded shot past junior goaltender Victoria Vigilanti (Woodbridge, Ontario).
The score remained tied only for a short period of time, as Frykas' goal at the 9:35 mark into the second stanza gave the Bobcats the 2-1 advantage. Deep in Connecticut's defensive zone, Lyons found Elkins open at the point and delivered a pass which the captain one-timed towards the net. Garcia stretched out for a pad save, but the rebound fell directly in front of Frykas who tapped home her fourth goal of the season.
Quinnipiac staved off multiple Connecticut attempts to tie the score following Frykas' goal, yet was unable to deny the Huskies from the game-tying goal before the period's conclusion. Senior Sami Evelyn worked her way towards the goal during the final seconds and wristed in her third tally of the year with three seconds remaining in the frame, sending the teams into intermission tied, 2-2.
The Bobcats' high energy in the third period paid off at the 14:29 mark into the stanza, as sophomore Erica Uden Johansson, playing in her first game of the season, slapped home the Bobcats' third goal of the game. Junior defender Regan Boulton (Brandon, Manitoba) spotted Uden Johansson sitting on the crease and delivered a back-door pass to the Sweden native whose shot deflected off Garcia's back and into the goal. Sophomore forward Kelly Babstock (Mississauga, Ontario) was also credited with an assist on the score.
Kosta added an empty net goal for Quinnipiac with four seconds remaining in regulation (giving her three scores on the year), ensuring the Bobcats' spot in the Championship Game on Saturday.
Quinnipiac returns to action tomorrow evening, Saturday, Nov. 26, when it takes on Robert Morris in the Championship Game at 7 p.m. Connecticut will face Yale in the 4 p.m. Consolation Game.
Contact: Ross Bennett, email@example.com