Friday, Oct. 5, 2012 – 7 p.m.
Saturday, Oct. 6, 2012 – 1 p.m.
Quinnipiac Bobcats (0-0-0, 0-0 ECAC Hockey)
vs. No. 9 Mercyhurst Lakers (2-0-0, 2-0 CHA)
High Point Solutions Arena at the TD Bank Sports Center – Hamden, Conn.
The Quinnipiac women's ice hockey team will get its first test of the season, in what is the home and season opener for the Bobcats, against No. 9 Mercyhurst at the High Point Solutions Arena at the TD Bank Sports Center. Friday's game will begin at 7:00 p.m. while Saturday's matchup is scheduled for 1:00 p.m.
Live stats, audio and video can be accessed by visiting the Official Website of Quinnipiac Athletics, www.QuinnipiacBobcats.com.
Mercyhurst finished with an outstanding year in 2011-12 as they finished the season 23-8-3 (8-1-3 CHA), good enough for the second best record within College Hockey America. They also advanced to their eighth straight NCAA Division I playoff appearance where they fell to the eventual runner-up Wisconsin in the quarterfinals, 3-1. The Lakers were ranked as high as 5th in the USCHO.com Division I Women's Poll at times last season and never slipped outside the top-10.
Mercyhurst has consistent dominated in the sport with at least 23 wins in each of the last 11 seasons. Their all-time best season came in 2008-09 when the Lakers advanced to the NCAA Division I Women's Ice Hockey Championship Game against Wisconsin after finishing the regular season with a 31-6 record (most wins in program history). They eventually lost to the Badgers in 2009 but advanced to the Frozen Four again in the 2009-10 season where they lost to Cornell, 3-2 in overtime.
Scouting the Lakers
Mercyhurst comes to the High Point Solutions Arena ranked No. 9 in the USCHO.com poll released on Monday Oct. 1. The Lakers graduated five of their top seven scorers from last year's team and feature nine freshmen and 12 total newcomers this season. Last year's leading scorer Bailey Bram (27 goals, 41 assists), leading goal scorer Kelley Steadman (33 goals, 20 assists) and key facilitator Jess Jones (13 goals, 35 assists) have all graduated. They also lose their top goaltender in Hillary Pattenden who finished with a 20-8-3 record, 2.10 goals-against average, and .920 save percentage last season. The Lakers as a team were deadly on the power-play, finishing first in the nation with a 27.68% conversion rate with the man-advantage.
They enter play this weekend with a 2-0 record having already swept CHA-foe RIT on the road with a 6-2 victory on Friday Sep. 28 and a 7-0 win on Saturday Sep. 29. Several key players to watch include junior captain forward Christine Bestland who already has three goals and four assists on the season. Freshman forward Emily Janiga recorded a hat trick in Saturday's 7-0 victory including a pair of power-play goals. Junior forward Christie Cicero comes in tied with Bestland for the team lead in assists with four (tallied three in Saturday's win). The Lakers will feature a pair of goaltenders in senior Stephanie Ciampa (17 saves, 0 goals allowed on Saturday) and sophomore Amanda Makela (21 saves, 2 goals allowed on Friday) who both figure to see some time over the weekend set.
All-Time Against the Lakers
Friday's matchup will be the 13th all-time meeting as Mercyhurst holds an 11-1 series record against the Bobcats. Quinnipiac however recorded its first victory against the Lakers last season in a 1-0 victory on Oct. 1, 2011 at the Mercyhurst Ice Center in Erie, Pa. Goaltender Victoria Vigilanti stopped all 24 shots she faced and Elena Orlando netted the game-winner in the second period. It was the first time Mercyhurst had been shutout since a 3-0 loss to Cornell on Jan. 18, 2011.
Strength vs. Strength
Both teams enter the 2012-13 season with some impressive numbes on the penalty kill and power-play. They both finished with nearly identical penalty kill percentages as the Bobcats killed off 83.7% of their penalties while Mercyhurst was right behind them at 83.4%. One advantage the Bobcats might want to exploit is the Lakers averaged 11.53 penalty minutes per game last season compared to just 7.14 for Quinnipiac. Finishing 16th in the nation last year with a 16.56% power-play, the Bobcats are in line for some opportunities this weekend.
Last Time Out For the Bobcats
The Bobcats skated to a 7-0 win in an exhibition matchup against Cambridge on Saturday, Sep. 29 at the High Point Solutions Arena. Six skaters found the back of the net including two goals from junior forward Erica Uden Johansson (Sundsvall, Sweden). Senior Brittany Lyons (Canton, Mass.), junior Kelly Babstock (Mississauga, Ontario), sophomore Nicole Kosta (Mississauga, Ontario), and freshmen Nicole Brown (Oshawa, Ontario) and Nicole Connery (Newmarket, Ontario) all scored for Quinnipiac. The top line of Uden Johansson, Babstock and Kosta accounted for four of the seven goals on the afternoon. Senior Victoria Vigilanti (Woodbridge, Ontario) and sophomore Chelsea Laden (Lakeville, Minn.) split time in net, each compiling three saves against the Rivulettes.
ECAC Hockey Preseason Polls
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.
Official ECAC Hockey Preseason Poll Results
1. Cornell (9)
2. Harvard (3)
3. St. Lawrence
ECAC Hockey Preseason All-League Honors
Quinnipiac women's ice hockey junior forward Kelly Babstock was honored with a ECAC Hockey Preseason All-League selection, as announced by the league on Friday, Sep. 15. A Second-Team All-ECAC Hockey honoree at the end of the 2011-12 season, Babstock earns her second-consecutive Preseason All-League designation. She is joined by three Cornell skaters, including defenders Laura Fortino and Lauriane Rougeau, and forward Brianne Jenner, as well as Harvard forward Jillian Dempsey and Clarkson goaltender Erica Howe.
ECAC Hockey Preseason All-League Team
Goaltender - Erica Howe (Clarkson)
Defense - Laura Fortino (Cornell)
Defense - Lauriane Rougeau (Cornell)
Forward - Brianne Jenner (Cornell)
Forward - Kelly Babstock (Quinnipiac)
Forward - Jilliam Dempsey (Harvard)
At the annual team banquet, head coach Rick Seeley formally announced the team captain for the 2012-13 season is senior defender Regan Boulton. The proven veteran is a consummate presence on the ice and her leadership extends in areas beyond the rink as her teammates have come to appreciate and respect her role on the team.
Support In Numbers
Boulton is supported by assistant captain senior Breann Frykas who is only entering her second year with the team but has a wealth of playing experience having won a National Championship with the University of Wisconsin before transferring to Quinnipiac in 2011. The two other assistant captains include juniors Amanda Colin and Erica Uden Johansson. Both enter their first year in leadership positions but each brings to the table big-game performances (Colin's overtime game-winner against No. 4 Boston College) and Olympic experience (Uden Johansson played for the Swedish National Team in the 2010 Winter Olympic Games).
It Was a Season To Remember
The Bobcats finished the 2011-12 campaign with a 19-16-2 overall record and 12-8-2 in ECAC Hockey competition. 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. Quinnipiac's season came to an end in the next round however as No. 1 Cornell bested the Bobcats for the second consecutive year in the ECAC Hockey Semifinals.
She's Back For More
The program's all-time leader in assists, goals, and points, Kelly Babstock returns after another standout season in which she posted 18 goals and 22 assists for All-ECAC Second Team honors. The junior forward finished with the most points (40), goals (18), game-winning goals (4), shots (175), and plus/minus (+13) among all Bobcat skaters and with 99 career points, she is primed to reach the century mark early in the season.
Kosting Right Along
Ending last season on a seven-game scoring streak, sophomore forward Nicole Kosta needs a point in Quinnipiac's first game of the season against Mercyhurst to tie Babstock's record and another point the following game to break the all-time program record of eight games. In those final seven games, Kosta totaled 12 points (four goals, eight assists) to lead her team in some of the most pressure-packed games of the season down the stretch. She had a breakout freshman season in which she tallied eight goals and a team-high 25 assists.
Depth All Around
Senior Breann Frykas transferred to Quinnipiac last season after winning an NCAA Championship with Wisconsin in 2010-11. In her first season with the Bobcats she scored the second most goals on the team with 11 and led the team in power-play goals with six. Her production and senior leadership will be needed up front as they all look to advance to the team's first ECAC Hockey Championship game.
Junior forward Erica 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 with Quinnipiac is Brittany Lyons. She finished the 2011-12 season with seven goals and seven assists and will look to help fill the void left by a pair of graduating seniors.
Among the group of departures along the scoring line include former assistant captain Kate Wheeler and Chelsea Illchuck. The pair combined for nine goals and nine assists last season and the Bobcats will have to fill the leadership role both players took on as four-year contributors for Quinnipiac. Other returnees among the forwards includes senior Kristen Eklund, juniors Elena Orlando and Amanda Colin and sophomores Anna Borgfeldt and Morgan Fritz-Ward. Several freshmen will also look to make an immediate impact with the team as Nicole Connery, Olivia Agostinelli, and Nicole Brown enter their first season with Quinnipiac.
It's All About the D
The group of Bobcat defenders will certainly miss the departures of former stalwarts Bethany Dymarczyk, Jordan Elkins, and Melissa Perry along the back-line. Each defender played in at least 141 games over their four-year careers and were among the most vocal leaders throughout their careers. Certainly their leadership and scoring (seven goals, 22 assists combined last season) will be missed but the Bobcats return their top-scoring defenseman in senior Regan Boulton. She had a breakout year last season, finishing with eight goals and 13 assists, and 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 Third Team honors for the first time in her career. Her production also picked up as the year went on as she produced eight goals and eight assists in 22 matchups against ECAC opponents.
Total Team Effort
Boulton will need several other defenders to help step into the roles filled by the departing players from last season. Look for senior Felicia 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. Also expect a trio of incoming freshmen in Cydney Roesler, Kristen Tamberg, and Lindsey West to play major minutes for the Bobcats this season. Junior Olivia Brackett is also in line to step into a much larger role as she played in only 17 games last season.
Victoria Vigilanti has been a stalwart for the past three seasons and headlines the returning goaltenders for the 2012-13 season. 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 after posting three shutouts and 63 saves in three victories throughout the month.
Pressure Packed Performance
Vigilanti also was a linchpin behind the Bobcat's upset series victory over Clarkson as she compiled a 2-1 record, 1.01 goals-against average, .958 save percentage, and one shutout in the three-game series. Vigilanti's 23-save shutout in game three of the ECAC Hockey Quarterfinals clinched the series and pushed her career shutout total to 23, including the second of her playoff career.
Oh Wait There's Another
Vigilanti wasn't alone last season however as sophomore Chelsea Laden gave Quinnipiac a second standout goaltender. In her rookie season, Laden finished 5-5, with a 2.32 goals-against average, and .916 save percentage in 11 games (nine starts). Her save percentage finished as the tenth best among all ECAC Hockey goaltenders with at least 500 minutes. 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 win began a streak of four consecutive wins for Laden including her first career shutout in a 3-0 victory over Syracuse. The pair will certainly see the majority of the ice time and the coaching staff the capability to pick-and-choose matchups as the speedy Vigilanti and the physically imposing Laden both offer Quinnipiac advantages that coach Seeley will certainly utilize at times during the season.
Newcomers To The Squad
The Quinnipiac women's ice hockey team welcomes six skaters to its roster for the 2012-13 season. Freshmen Nicole Brown (Oshawa, Ontario), Lindsey West (Ajax, Ontario), Olivia Agostinelli (Framingham, Mass.), Nicole Connery (Newmarket, Ontario), Kristen Tamberg (North Toronto, Ontario), and Cydney Roesler (Stittsville, Ontario).