PRINCETON, N.J. – The Quinnipiac women's ice hockey team was locked in a battle all night with Princeton but three early goals proved just enough as the Bobcats came away with their fourth straight win, 3-2, over the Tigers from Hobey Baker Rink on Friday night. All three Quinnipiac goals were scored within the first 21 minutes of play from senior Brittany Lyons, freshman Nicole Connery, and junior Kelly Babstock. The Tigers made it tough with a pair of goals but the Bobcat defense tightened throughout the third to improve their record to 11-7-2 (7-3-1 ECAC Hockey) while Princeton drops to 5-8-2 (2-7-2 ECAC Hockey).
The win gives the Bobcats another two points in conference play for a total of 15 on the season and moves the team from fourth to second place in the ECAC Hockey standings. Lyons' (Canton, Mass.) goal came on the power play to give her a season total of seven on the man advantage which is tied with two others (North Dakota's Jocelyne and Monique Lamoureux) for the most among all Division I women's hockey players. With another goal on Friday, Babstock's (Mississauga, Ontario) ECAC Hockey leading total moves to 19 and Connery added her sixth goal of the year.
Senior Regan Boulton (Brandon, Manitoba) chipped in two assists with junior Amanda Colin (Burnsville, Minn.), freshman Nicole Brown (Oshawa, Ontario) and junior Erica Uden Johansson (Sundsvall, Sweden) also adding assists in the victory. Senior goalie Victoria Vigilanti (Woodbridge, Ontario) made 17 saves in net for her 10th victory of the season.
The Bobcats took the early lead just over two minutes into the game as they took advantage of their one power play opportunity in the period. Quinnipiac connected on three pinpoint passes before Lyons found the back of the net. Boulton found Uden Johansson open at the faceoff circle. The junior forward faked the slap shot and passed to Lyons in the middle who knocked it past Princeton goalie Kimberly Newell. The goal is Lyons' 10th of the season.
Vigilanti stood tall in the first with a pair of outstanding saves. The first came with the Tiger's Brianna Leahy fired a one-timer on a rush up ice but was denied as Vigilanti came across right to left with a pad save. Princeton again threatened late in the opening period as Molly Contini's wrist shot was snatched out of the air for a glove save while the senior goalie was sprawled on the ice.
The Quinnipiac lead increased to two with another goal at 8:57 in the first. Colin created the play as she rushed to Princeton's defensive end off a line change. She stole the puck and moved in for a shot on Newell. As she fell to the ice her shot was saved but the rebound was left out front for Connery (Newmarket, Ontario) who lit the lamp. The play resulted in Colin's second assist in as many games.
Another Bobcat goal early in the second period extended their lead to three as Babstock stuck for her 19th of the season. Coming off the faceoff to start the period, Brown gained control of the puck along the boards and passed back to Boulton. The senior defender was patient with the puck and found a wide open Babstock at the blue line. The pass led to a breakaway for Babstock who skated in on Newell and scored on a backhander just 14 seconds into the period. Brown's assist was her fifth of the season while Boulton was credited with her 15th.
Princeton responded with a goal at the 17:46 mark of the second as Kelly Cooke's shot from the middle beat Vigilanti stick side to push the score to 3-1.
Another Tiger goal just over one minute into the third period kept it close late as Leahy beat Vigilanti with a host of players shielding the Bobcat goalie in front of the net.
Both teams had chances late but Quinnipiac finished with a decisive 9-5 advantage in shots-on-goal in the third period. Vigilanti and the Bobcat defense prevailed as they controlled the puck in their own end and the forwards battled along the boards to make it tough on the Tigers down the stretch.
The home-and-home series with Princeton will conclude on Saturday as the two teams will face off at the High Point Solutions Arena at 5 p.m.
Contact: Maxx McNall; email@example.com