TROY, N.Y. – The Bobcat defense led by senior goaltender Victoria Vigilanti (Woodbridge, Ontario) shined on Saturday afternoon at Houston Field House, staving off 30 of 32 Rensselaer shots to preserve a 3-2 victory. Three different Bobcats scored while the ECAC Hockey's leading scorer junior Kelly Babstock (Mississauga, Ontario) picked up her eighth multi-point game of the season (one goal, one assist). Quinnipiac comes away with the victory to improve to 6-4-2 (3-2-1 ECAC Hockey) while the Engineers fall to 2-7-1 (0-4 ECAC Hockey).
Early pressure helped lead to the victory, scoring a pair of goals within the first four minutes of play and Babstock helped seal the game with her 13th goal of the season. Scoring first has been vital to Quinnipiac's success as they remain undefeated (4-0-1) when the Bobcats score first. Vigilanti's 30 saves are the second-most for any Bobcat goaltender on the season and improved her record to 5-2-1.
In the first, the Bobcats did to the Engineers what a majority of their opponents have thus far, take advantage of penalties. The Engineers entered with the nation's worst penalty-kill, staving off just 26-of-40 of their opponent's power-play chances (65 percent). Quinnipiac had one opportunity in the opening stanza andthey made the most of it. The puck was swung over to sophomore Nicole Kosta (Mississauga, Ontario) from the point. She fed down to junior Kelly Babstock (Mississauga, Ontario) at the faceoff dot. She skated in, put a shot on net, and the rebound out front came right to Kosta who scored the goal. It was her seventh goal of the season and Babstock's ECAC Hockey-leading 15th assist.
The pressure offense led to another early goal as freshman Nicole Brown (Oshawa, Ontario) scored in her second consecutive game. The play began as sophomore Anna Borgfeldt (Kristianstad, Sweden) swung the puck up top to freshman Cydney Roesler (Stittsville, Ontario) whose shot from the point was deflected in front. Brown picked up puck, set up the shot, and knocked home the rebound for an early 2-0 lead. Roesler registered her third assist while Borgfeldt picked up her second of the season.
Vigilanti and the Bobcat defense caught a tough break to end the first period. Rensselaer shot the puck from between the faceoff circles and the puck was loose in front. After several swats, Lauren Wash landed just enough of her stick on the puck to knock it through Vigilanti's pads for the Engineer goal.
In a tightly contested second period where both teams traded blows, Vigilanti came up with the most impressive of her 30 saves. Facing an Engineers rush, Rensselaer's Ali Svoboda fired a shot from the right faceoff circle. Vigilanti turned away the Svoboda wrister but the rebound was left out front for Rensselaer's Taylor Mahoney. She corralled the puck and was met by the fully-extended right leg of Vigilanti to deny the equalizer.
Facing consistent Engineer pressure on the defensive end, the Bobcats picked up some much-needed breathing room midway through the third period. A defensive miscue behind Rensselaer's net had Babstock end up with the puck to the left of the opposing goalie. Two pokes were all she needed as the puck tricked through Kelly O'Brien's pads and lit the lamp to give Quinnipiac a 3-1 advantage.
Vigilanti was under fire throughout the third period but she and her defense managed the Engineer onslaught. Despite a late goal to close the gap to one, the senior netminder came up big after rocket shot from the point. She denied the slap shot but the puck was kicked up in mid-air. Faced with multiple Engineers in front, Vigilanti calmly snagged the puck out of the air the prevent the equalizer with seven seconds remaining.
A big ECAC Hockey weekend looms for Quinnipiac as they will play a pair of nationally-ranked conference opponents at home in Clarkson on Friday at 7 p.m. and St. Lawrence on Saturday at 4 p.m. from the High Point Solutions Arena.
Contact: Maxx McNall; email@example.com