HAMDEN, Conn. – The Quinnipiac women's ice hockey team was selected to finish sixth in the 2012-13 ECAC Hockey Preseason Coaches' Poll, as announced by the league office on Monday, Sep. 17. The Bobcats totaled 71 points after finishing 2011-12 with a 19-16-2 overall record (12-8-2 ECAC Hockey), and made the ECAC Hockey Semifinals for the second consecutive year.
"We are pretty excited here and it's our first year since associate head coach Cassie Turner and I joined Quinnipiac that we have with four full recruiting classes on the roster," Quinnipiac head coach Rick Seeley said. "This is the strongest team in preseason we have had. We have star power in every class and our seniors include Victoria Vigilanti and Regan Boulton, who has taken over the leadership role for this season. It's all on paper now and we have to prove ourselves on the ice but we are all excited for the start of the season."
Three-time defending regular season champion Cornell tops the list as they garnered a total of 119 points, and nine of 12 first-place votes. Harvard accumulated 109 points and three first-place votes earning the No. 2 spot. Defending league tournament champion St. Lawrence totaled 100 points and grabbed the No. 3 spot. Clarkson (90 points) and Dartmouth (86 points) came in just ahead of the Bobcats in 4th and 5th, respectively. Princeton and Rensselaer garner the No. 7 and No. 8 slots while Brown was chosen in the No. 9 spot. Colgate, Union, and Yale round out the poll as the season begins in less than two weeks.
2012-13 ECAC Hockey Women's Ice Hockey Preseason Coaches' Poll
The Bobcats enter the 2012-13 season returning their top six points leaders form last season and one of the top goaltenders in ECAC Hockey, senior Victoria Vigilanti. Leadership in the form of senior captain Regan Boulton will be vital moving forward as this young, but experienced team will look to take another step forward and continue to win games. They advanced to the ECAC Hockey Semifinals as the No. 6 seed, upsetting No. 3 Clarkson in a thrilling 2-0 victory in game three of the best-of-three series. Numerous highlights throughout the year included Kelly Babstock becoming the all-time leader in points, goals, and assists. The Bobcats recorded perhaps their biggest win in program history when they defeated No. 4 ranked Boston College, 2-1 in overtime, after a miraculous Babstock goal with 10 seconds remaining in the third period tied the score and then Amanda Colin flipped in the game-winner in the extra period. Quinnipiac claimed its second consecutive Nutmeg Classic Championship and head coach Rick Seeley recorded his 200th career victory. Despite a loss to Cornell in the ECAC Hockey Semifinals, the Bobcats had numerous successes during the year and are returning a core group that includes some of the greatest players the program has ever seen.
Junior forward Kelly Babstock returns after another standout season in which she posted 18 goals and 22 assists for All-ECAC Hockey Second Team honors. Babstock stands as the program's all-time leader in goals (51), assists (48), and points (99). The two-time ECAC Hockey Preseason All-League Team honoree finished with the most points (40), goals (18), game-winning goals (four), shots (175), and plus/minus (+13) among all Bobcats skaters. Babstock isn't alone however as the Bobcats return several quality scorers highlighted by sophomore Nicole Kosta. She had a standout freshman season in which she tallied eight goals and a team-high 25 assists. Her impressive passing skills open up scoring opportunities for Babstock and several other forwards including senior Breann Frykas and junior Erica Uden Johansson. In her first season with the Bobcats after transferring from Wisconsin she scored the second most goals on the team with 11 and led the Bobcats in power-play goals with six. Uden Johansson played in only 22 games last season and still posted 10 goals and 11 assists, averaging just under one point per game for the season. Another dynamic scorer returning for her final season is senior Brittany Lyons, who finished the 2011-12 season with seven goals and seven assists.
Certainly the leadership and scoring (seven goals, 22 assists combined last season) of departing seniors Bethany Dymarczyk, Jordan Elkins, and Melissa Perry will be missed but the Bobcats return their top-scoring defensemen in Boulton. She had a breakout year last season, finishing with eight goals and 13 assists, placing her in a tie for third on the team in points. The 21 points were also good for sixth among all ECAC Hockey defensemen and it helped her earn All-ECAC Hockey Third Team honors for the first time in her career. Look for senior Felica Vieweg and junior Shelby Wignall to see a significant increase in ice time this season. Both played in at least 36 games and will have to step into a more prominent role for the Bobcats in 2012-13.
Vigilanti has been a stalwart for the past three seasons and headlines the returning goaltenders. Her production last season is unquestioned as she went 14-11-2, with a 2.21 goals-against average, and .909 save percentage in 30 games (28 starts). She was named ECAC Hockey/Fischer Hockey Player and Goaltender of the Month in December 2011 after posting three shutouts and 63 saves in three victories for the month. She was also a linchpin behind the Bobcat's upset series victory over Clarkson as she compiled a 2-1 record, 1.01 goals-against average, and .958 save percentage in the three-game series. Vigilanti wasn't alone however as sophomore Chelsea Laden gave Quinnipiac a second standout goaltender. In her first season, Laden finished 5-5, with a 2.32 goals-against average, and .916 save percentage in 11 games (nine starts). Laden was the team's winning goaltender in the upset 2-1 overtime victory over No. 4 Boston College as she posted a season-high 33 saves (.971 save percentage).
The Bobcats will hold an exhibition at the High Point Solutions Arena against the Cambridge Jr. team on Saturday Sep. 29 at 4 p.m. before facing a tough test to open the non-conference schedule. Reigning College Hockey America runner-up and NCAA Quarterfinalist Mercyhurst (23-8-5 in 2011-12) will make a trip up to Hamden, Conn. for the Bobcat's season opener on Friday, Oct. 5 at 7 p.m. and Saturday, Oct. 6 at 1 p.m.
Contact: Maxx McNall; email@example.com