November 22, 2012

Bobcats Face No. 5 Boston College in First Round of Nutmeg Classic on Friday From Ingalls Rink; Seeks Third Consecutive Title

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Quinnipiac University Bobcats (7-6-2, 4-3-1 ECAC Hockey)
vs. No. 5 Boston College Eagles (6-3-2, 5-2-1 Hockey East)
Friday November 23, 2012 – 4 p.m.
Ingalls Rink – New Haven, Conn. 

Quinnipiac University Bobcats (7-6-2, 4-3-1 ECAC Hockey)
vs. Yale Bulldogs (1-9-0, 1-5-0 ECAC Hockey)/UConn Huskies (2-10-2, 1-5-0 Hockey East)
Saturday November 24, 2012 – 4 p.m./7 p.m.
Ingalls Rink – New Haven, Conn.

We Must Protect This Crown

The Quinnipiac women's ice hockey team looks to defend their 2010 and 2011 Nutmeg Classic Tournament Championships this weekend at Yale University's Ingalls Rink. The Bobcats have won the Nutmeg Classic three times in program history and this year's defense will begin with a matchup against the No. 5 nationally-ranked Boston College Eagles. Quinnipiac looks to carry their success over from last season as the team scored a thrilling 2-1 victory over Boston College in overtime. The then No. 4 ranked Eagles led 1-0 late in the third period but Kelly Babstock scored the equalizer with 10 seconds remaining and then Amanda Colin provided the game-winner 35 seconds in the extra period. The victory from Nov. 22, 2011 still holds as the highest ranked opponent the Bobcats have ever defeated. With a victory against Boston College the Bobcats will take on the winner of the other opening round matchup either Yale or UConn on Saturday.

All-Time Against the Eagles

Quinnipiac has played only three teams (Yale, Colgate, Boston College) in every year of its existence. The Bobcats have not fared well through the years as they own a 3-15-3 all-time record against the Eagles heading into Friday's contest. One component aligning in favor of Quinnipiac is the two teams are playing at a neutral site. The Bobcats are 0-10-1 all-time when playing in Boston while they have achieved a 3-5-2 mark while playing at home. This will be the first time the teams match up at a neutral site as the Bobcats look to avenge their previous losses in a big way.

Boston College Hockey History

The Eagles are a prominent team in the world of college hockey as they share company with Minnesota as the only school to have both men's and women's teams ranked in the top-five of the USCHO.com national poll. The women's hockey program has a long and illustrious history that dates back to the 1994-95 season. After finishing with a 15-10-1 record in the program's first year of existence, they followed with 10 straight losing seasons including seven of the 10 with at least 20 losses. The Eagles suddenly turned it around in 2005-06 when they finished 20-11-4 and made their first NCAA Women's Frozen Four appearance the following season. The current head coach Katie King has led the Eagles to the NCAA Tournament three of the five years she has held the position including consecutive trips to the Frozen Four the last two seasons.

Scouting the Eagles

The 2012-13 squad has been nationally-ranked throughout the entire season and enters the weekend with a No. 5 ranking. Their 6-3-2 record isn't overwhelming but a close look into their season shows their competition has been among the toughest in the nation. Their three losses have come against Boston University, New Hampshire, and Minnesota-Duluth, all of which have spent time in the USCHO.com top-10 and the Eagles lost the three games by a combined total of four goals. Their record against ranked opponents this season is 3-1-1 and they haven't lost a game since Oct. 25 (seven game unbeaten streak). The team is led by Alex Carpenter whose 19 points (10 goals, nine assists) places her 11th in the nation in points per-game average (1.73). Carpenter isn't alone however, as she is supported by great depth including Haley Skarupa (six goals, 10 assists), Emily Field (four goals, seven assists) and Blake Bolden (two goals, nine assists) who all have recorded at least 11 points in just 11 games played this season. Overall, all but one of their regular skates have recorded at least one point throughout the year including 11 that have at least six points. The Eagles have had trouble finding consistent goaltending as they have split time in net between Megan Miller (3.01 goals-against-average, .890 save percentage in seven games) and Corinne Boyles (2.68 goals-against-average, .885 save percentage in five games). The Bobcat defense needs to be on point as the Eagles average the fourth-most goals of any team in the nation at 4.18 per-game.

All-Time Against Yale

Quinnipiac and Yale have met at least once in every season since the Bobcats first started playing Division I hockey in 2001. The Bobcats overall record stands 8-13-3 against the Bulldogs but the past seven games (6-1) have heavily favored Quinnipiac since the 2009-10 season. The two sides met twice last season with the Bobcats coming away with a 3-2 victory in overtime on the road and a 3-0 shutout at home over Yale. Chelsea Illchuk netted the game-winner in overtime on Dec. 3, 2011 to lead the Bobcats to the victory while Victoria Vigilanti and the Quinnipiac defense played big on Nov. 4, 2011 in a 13-save shutout performance.

Yale Hockey History

The Yale University Bulldogs women's ice hockey program has lived under the shadow of the men's program for years. The roots of the Yale Univeristy ice hockey program dates back to 1975 when the team, at first, competed as a club team. Only two years later the program elevated its status to be a varsity team in the 1977-78 season. That makes Yale one of the oldest varsity women's ice hockey programs in the country. Both the men's and women's teams play at Ingalls Rink, also known as "The Whale," and is one of the oldest rinks in the country as it was first opened in 1958. On April 3, 2011 former Yale player Mandi Schwartz succumbed to recurrent acute myeloid leukemia at age 23. She was a forward on the Yale's women's hockey team and had a string of 73 consecutive games played. Later that month, the Yale Bulldogs introduced the Mandi Schwartz Ward. The award is given in acknowledgement of a Yale Bulldogs player's courage, grit and determination. Aleca Hughes was named the first winner of the award.

Scouting the Bulldogs

Yale comes into the weekend with a 1-9 overall record (1-5 ECAC Hockey) and have struggled of late. After opening conference play with a 3-0 win at Colgate, the team has lost seven in-a-row by a combined score of 29-8. The Bulldogs have allowed at least four goals in six straight games and haven't scored more than one goal in a game since Nov. 2 (five games) against Dartmouth. They did however play ECAC Hockey's first-place and No. 2 ranked Cornell tough, losing 3-2 at home. They then followed with an overtime loss to Dartmouth, 5-4, who sits in sixth place in the ECAC Hockey standings. Yale has only scored 11 goals in 10 games this season but seven of them have come off the sticks of freshmen Janelle Ferrara (three goals), Jamie Haddad (two) and Kate Martini (two). The threesome have also accumulated 10 combined assists for 17 of the team's 28 total points to start the season. Jaimie Leonoff has started every game in goal for Yale as she comes in with a respectable 3.31 goals-against-average and .916 save percentage.  

All-Time Against UConn

The in-state rival Huskies have met the Bobcats on 13 occasions and own a 10-3 all-time record over Quinnipiac. The two teams have met only in the Nutmeg Classis since the 2004-05 season where the teams have split (3-3) six games over that span. The highlight for the Bobcats was their first ever victory over UConn in the 2005 Nutmeg Classic Tournament Championship where Quinnipiac came away with a 3-2 victory. The two teams met last season in the Nutmeg Classic First Round where Quinnipiac left victorious, 4-2. Four different Bobcats scored in the victory while Victoria Vigilanti stopped 24 UConn shots on the way to the victory.

UConn Hockey History

The Huskies are relatively new to Division I hockey as they first became a varsity program in 2000. The team hasn't had much success as they have recorded only five winning seasons in their 12-year history. Without a doubt their most successful season occurred in 2009-10 where the team finished 21-9-7 and made it all the way to the Hockey East Title Game against Boston University where they ultimately fell in a heartbreaking loss, 2-1 in overtime. Heather Linstad has coached the Huskies every season in the 12-year history of the program and has led the Huskies to more Nutmeg Classic Championships (four) than any other team.

Scouting the Huskies

Not much has gone right for UConn this season as they own a 2-10-2 overall record but their two victories have come against quality opponents. They defeated Maine on the road, 3-2, in an overtime victory on Oct. 20 and came away with a 4-2 win at home over Syracuse the following weekend. Perhaps their most impressive result to-date was their 2-2 tie to St. Lawrence in their last game played on Nov. 18. Despite the tie, the team is currently riding a six-game winless streak heading into the weekend as they take on Yale in the Nutmeg Classic First Round on Friday. Michela Cava (five goals, five assists) and Kelly Horan (three goals, seven assists) lead the way for the Huskies offense with 10 points each heading into Friday's contest. Their depth is evidenced by their 14 different goal scorers through 14 games this season and all of which have also contributed at least two points. The goaltender duties this season have been split between Elaine Chuli (nine starts, 4.10 goals-against-average, .894 save percentage) and Sarah Moses (five starts, 3.39 goals-against-average, .911 save percentage).

Weekday Special

The Bobcats last played on Tuesday night against New Hampshire in a non-conference showdown from Towse Rink where Quinnipiac fell 5-2. The Bobcats outshot the Wildcats, 32-23, but couldn't capitalize on their opportunities whereas New Hampshire broke through five times in just 23 shots. Nicole Kosta and Brittany Lyons scored in defeat as the team moved their record to 7-6-2 on the season.

She's Getting Her Lyons Share

With a goal against New Hampshire on Tuesday, Brittany Lyons recorded her sixth of the season which moved her into sole possession of third place on the team in goals scored. After finishing last season with seven goals in 37 games, Lyons already tallied six this year in just 15 games played.

Two's Better Than One

Five different Bobcats recorded two points on Saturday against St. Lawrence. Nicole Connery (two goals), Breann Frykas (one goal, one assist), Morgan Fritz-Ward (two assists), Regan Boulton (two assists) and Brittany Lyons (two assists) all chipped in the Quinnipiac scoring on Saturday.

Goals All Around

In a game that featured six goals for the Bobcats, second-highest total in a game this season, Quinnipiac also tied for their highest number of goal scorers in a single game this season. Nicole Connery (two goals), Nicole Brown, Kelly Babstock, Breann Frykas, and Erica Uden Johansson all recorded goals against the Saints to tie the team's total from a 8-3 win over Dartmouth earlier this season.

For the First Time

Freshman Nicole Connery notched her first career multi-goal game for the Bobcats against St. Lawrence and in the process moved herself into fourth place on the team in goals with five on the year. Sophomore Morgan Fritz-Ward came into the season with just one career point to her name but already has four points through 15 games this season. She notched a pair of assists on Saturday for her first career multi-point game.

It's Nice to See You Again

Senior Breann Frykas recently returned from injury last weekend and notched two points (one goal, one assist) including the game-tying goal to even the score at 4-4 in the third period. She added an assist late on Nicole Connery's insurance goal to give the Bobcats a two-goal lead over St. Lawrence.

Blue Line Power

Senior defender Regan Boulton has put together another solid season in her fourth year with the Bobcats. She currently ranks third on the team in points (two goals, 12 assists) and fifth (11th nationally) among the ECAC Hockey's defensemen in points-per-game (0.93).

Nowhere Near Finished

The two-time ECAC Hockey Player of the Week and reigning ECAC Hockey Player of the Month Kelly Babstock has broken numerous records to start the 2012-13 season. With three points against Mercyhurst, she became the first player in program-history to reach 100 career points. She broke the program-record for goals in a game with four in a 6-1 victory over Maine. She tied the program-record for assists in a game with four against Dartmouth and also finished with the highest plus/minus (+5) of any Bobcat in a game in the program's history. Finally, she rode a six-goal point streak where she either scored or assisted on six straight Quinnipiac goals, a program-record.

Caution: Hot Surface Do Not Touch

Opponents haven't been able to touch Nicole Kosta of late as she posted a five-point weekend against Colgate and Cornell to help her earn her first career ECAC Hockey Player of the Week honor. Always noted for her gifted passing skills, Kosta remains third in the ECAC Hockey in scoring with one goal against New Hamsphire behind fellow teammate Kelly Babstock and Clarkson's Jaime Lee Rattray.

She Shoots…She Scores…Again

With 14 goals and 15 assists in 15 games this season, Kelly Babstock has either scored or assisted on 29 of the team's 48 goals thus far in the season. She has had a hand in an astonishing 60.4 percent of the team's goals, which is by far the highest percentage of any player in the nation with Clarkson's Jaime Lee Rattray the next-closest competitor at 52.1 percent.

Top-of-the-Line Production

The Bobcat's top offensive and defensive lines have completely dominated the Quinnipiac scoring to start the season. The production of top forwards Kelly Babstock, Nicole Kosta, and Erica Uden Johansson along with top defenders Regan Boulton and Cydney Roesler have combined for 34 goals and 52 assists in 15 games to start the season. The 86 points between the five players represents 69.9 percent of the total points for Quinnipiac (123 as a team).

Whoever's First Wins

Scoring the game's first goal has been critical all season for the Bobcats as they extended their impressive record to 5-1-1 when scoring first whereas they currently stand 2-5-1 when their opponent breaks through with the game's first goal.

Dynamite Ability

Quinnipiac's Kelly Babstock has been found near the top of the nation's statistical leaderboard all season. She currently ranks seventh in points-per-game (1.93), seventh in goals-per-game (0.93), tied for 15th in assists-per-game (1.00), and tied for 17th in power-play goals (three).

Everything You Can Do I Can Do Better

Teammates Kelly Babstock and Nicole Kosta have teamed up this season for one of the most impressive tandems in the country thus far. Both rank in the top-15 in points-per-game in the nation, each have contributed at least 24 points, with Babstock's 29 (14 goals, 15 assists) and Kosta's 24 (eight goals, 16 assists) leading the way for the Bobcats. They rank as the third-highest scoring duo in the country behind Minnesota's Hannah Brandt and Amanda Kessell and Mercyhurst's Christine Bestland and Emily Janiga.

Percent Difference

The combination of Kelly Babstock and Nicole Kosta ranks as the top scoring tandem in the nation when considering their team's total production. Of the 123 combined points for the Bobcats this season, Babstock and Kosta have accumulated 53 of those 123 for 45.5 percent. That percentage ranks as the highest of any pairing in the nation.

Magic Touch

Nicole Kosta had her program-record 11 game point scoring streak come to an end earlier this season at Syracuse but she and Kelly Babstock have shown impressive passing ability as they both rank in the top-15 nationally in assists-per-game. The two have combined to have a hand on 31-of-48 goals for the team on the season. Kosta has assisted on 33.3 percent (16-of-48) while Babstock has assisted on 31.3 percent (15-of-48) of the team's 48 goals this season. Kosta's percentages places her atop the nation's leaderboard in that category while Babstock sits a right behind in fifth place.

Brownie Points

Quinnipiac freshman Nicole Brown has been a standout scorer for the Bobcats of late, scoring one goal in both games two weekends ago including the first of her career on Nov. 9 against Union. She then followed with another tally on Saturday against St. Lawrence to boost her total for four on the season and three in her last five games.

Lethal Power-Play

Of the 48 Quinnipiac goals in the 2012-13 season, 16 (33.3 percent) of them have come off the power-play. With the mark at 25.0 percent (16-of-64) throughout the season the Bobcats rank seventh in the nation on the man advantage and their proficiency when it comes to their total team production ranks among the best in the nation.

Power Players

Junior Erica Uden Johansson and senior Brittany Lyons have been the main beneficiary on the Quinnipiac power-play as they have scored four each on the man advantage. Uden Johansson notched a pair this weekend to bring her total up to Lyons who has scored four of her five goals on the season on the power play. Their totals rank tied for eighth in the nation among all players in power-play goals.

On the Plus Side

Quinnipiac's Nicole Kosta and Kelly Babstock both have instrumental in the team's success thus far in the season, evidenced by their +15 and +14 plus/minus rating through 15 games, respectively. Their rankings are significantly higher than the next-closest player in the ECAC Hockey. Jillian Saulnier of Cornell is in third place behind both Kosta and Babstock at +12.

Contact: Maxx McNall; maxx.mcnall@quinnipiac.edu