HAMDEN, Conn. – After a string of five consecutive victories, the Quinnipiac women's ice hockey team earned the No. 12 position on the Women's Division I PairWise Rankings, as announced by USCHO.com this week. The Bobcats (12-7-2, 8-3-1 ECAC Hockey) are currently riding season-high five game winning streak and sit atop the ECAC Hockey standings with 17 points through 12 conference showdowns.
According to USCHO.com, the PairWise Rankings (PWR) are a statistical tool designed to approximate the process by which the NCAA selection committee decides which teams get at-large bids to the eight-team NCAA tournament. Although the NCAA selection committee does not use the PWR as presented by USCHO.com, the PWR has been accurate in predicting which teams will make the tournament field. For Division I women, the top 12 teams ranked by Ratings Percentage Index (RPI) are considered Teams Under Consideration (TUC). The PRW method compared every TUC with every other such team, with the winner of each "comparison" earning one PWR point. After all possible comparisons are made, the points are totaled up and rankings listed accordingly.
The 2012-13 Quinnipiac squad is playing their best hockey of the season in the past weeks with the Bobcats outscoring their opponents 21-5 during their winning streak. They most recently swept the weekend home-and-home series with Princeton, highlighted by a 4-0 victory at home on Dec. 8, giving senior goalie Victoria Vigilanti (Woodbridge, Ontario) her 22nd career shutout. Vigilanti earned her second consecutive ECAC Hockey Goaltender of the Week honor and has helped spark the Bobcats over the past five games with a 5-0 record, .941 save percentage (80 saves on 85 shots), and 1.00 goals-against-average.
Defense isn't the Bobcat's only calling card as the offense stands the ninth-best in the country, averaging 3.29 goals per game. The power play has proved vital to the team's success as Quinnipiac features the fifth-best percentage in the nation at 26.7 percent (23-for-86). They don't just score with the man advantage but they limit their opponent's opportunities as the team averages just six penalty minutes per game, which is by far the fewest in the country as Union is the next-closest competitor at 6.9 per game.
Several individual standouts have dominated on the offense with junior forward Kelly Babstock (Mississauga, Ontario) leading the way with 40 points (20 goals, 20 assists). The three-time ECAC Hockey Player of the Week and October Player of the Month has compiled 12 multi-point games this season and a +25 rating. Sophomore forward Nicole Kosta (Mississauga, Ontario) has also factored heavily in the team's success with 31 points (nine goals, team-high 22 assists) and is just two points away from eclipsing her freshman year total of 33 points. Senior defenseman Regan Boulton (Brandon, Manitoba) spearheads the defensive end with 20 points (four goals, 16 assists) and gives Quinnipiac three players with at least 20 points. After 21 games she finds herself ranked eighth in the nation among defensemen in points per game (0.95) and is just one point shy of eclipsing her career high of 21, achieved last season. Senior forward Brittany Lyons (Canton, Mass.) sits second on the team with 11 goals to go along with three assists for 14 points. She has been lethal on the power play with seven goals on the man advantage which is tied with two others for first among all Division I players. Junior Erica Uden Johansson (Sundsvall, Sweden) and freshmen Nicole Connery (Newmarket, Ontario) and Nicole Brown (Oshawa, Ontario) have all chipped in at least 10 points for the season. Uden Johansson (seven goals, nine assists), Connery (six goals, five assists) and Brown (five goals, five assists) all combine to give Quinnipiac great depth on the offensive end.
The Bobcats ride their five game winning streak into the winter break and will next play on Jan. 5 in an exhibition against McGill at 2:00 pm from the High Point Solutions Arena. Their next regular season affair will come between Jan. 11-12 where they travel up to Dartmouth and No. 4 Harvard in ECAC Hockey action.
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