January 9, 2013

Bobcats Battle for First Place in ECAC Hockey as Women's Ice Hockey Travels to Dartmouth and No. 2 Harvard This Weekend

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Quinnipiac University Bobcats (12-7-2, 8-3-1 ECAC Hockey)
vs Dartmouth Big Green (9-5-2, 4-4-1 ECAC Hockey)

Friday January 11, 2013 – 7:00 p.m.
Thompson Arena – Hanover, N.H. 

Quinnipiac University Bobcats (12-7-2, 8-3-1 ECAC Hockey)
vs No. 2 Harvard Crimson (11-1-1, 9-0-0 ECAC Hockey)
Saturday January 12, 2013 – 4:00 p.m.
Bright Hockey Center – Cambridge, Mass.

Back in Action

After nearly a month off, the Quinnipiac women's ice hockey team (12-7-2, 8-3-1 ECAC Hockey) is back in action this weekend for a decisive ECAC Hockey weekend against Dartmouth (9-5-2, 4-4-1 ECAC Hockey) and No. 2 nationally ranked Harvard (11-1-1, 9-0-0 ECAC Hockey). The Bobcats are coming off a 4-1 victory over McGill on Saturday in an exhibition game from High Point Solutions Arena and enter the weekend riding a season-long five game winning streak. Quinnipiac's recent hot streak put the Bobcats in position to challenge for first place in the conference. Friday's game has the Bobcats traveling up to Hanover, N.H. to take on Dartmouth in a rematch of their game from earlier this season where Quinnipiac dominated the Big Green, 8-3, matching the program record for most goals scored in an ECAC Hockey contest. Nicole Kosta registered her first career hat trick while Kelly Babstock tallied five points (one goal, four assists) in the win. After their matchup with Dartmouth the Bobcats will then head to No. 2 Harvard to finish up the regular season series with the Crimson. Their ECAC Hockey rival has been one of the hottest teams in the nation as they enter the weekend with an undefeated conference (9-0-0) and home record (4-0-0). With the Bobcats currently sitting second in the ECAC Hockey points standings (17), just one behind Harvard (18), Saturday's game will go a long way in determining first place in the conference.

All-Time Against the Big Green

Despite holding a losing record of 4-8-3 all-time against Dartmouth, the Bobcats have contended the past three seasons where they've gone 4-3 over the past seven meetings including an 8-3 domination earlier this season from High Point Solutions Arena. Quinnipiac is 2-4-1 all-time against Dartmouth on the road and lost to the Big Green, 4-1, from Hanover last season.

Dartmouth Women's Hockey History

The Big Green has a long and storied history in women's hockey as they have appeared in the "Frozen Four," the semifinals of the NCAA hockey tournament, three times. Overall, the Big Green have appeared in the NCAA tournament six times with their last visit occurring in 2011 but fell to Cornell, 7-1, in the regional opener. Head coach Mark Hudak has been with the team since 2003 and has accumulated a 180-89-22 record with the Big Green. The team has won the ECAC Hockey tournament in 2001, 2003, 2007, and 2009 and has appeared in the tournament all eight years Hudak has been at the helm.

Scouting the Big Green

The Big Green come into the weekend with an 9-5-2 overall mark and 4-4-1 record in ECAC Hockey play. Their nine points rank sixth in the conference and are 5-1 in their past six games, outscoring their opponents 25-9. Before this recent five game surge however, Dartmouth struggled against the upper-echelon teams as they fell to Cornell, Harvard and Northeastern and managed ties against Boston College and Colgate. The Big Green will feature a balanced scoring attack as Reagan Fischer comes into the weekend with 17 points (eight goals, nine assists) to lead the team. Camille Dumais (eight goals, seven assists), Jenna Hobeika (four goals, eight assists) and Laura Stacey (four goals, nine assists) each come in with at least 11 points and the defensive lines are led by Sasha Nanji (two goals, five assists). Lindsay Holdcroft is the team's top goaltender with a record of 8-4-2, 2.24 goals against average and .906 save percentage. The Quinnipiac power play will need to take advantage of their opportunities as Dartmouth comes in as the ninth-most penalized team in the nation with 166 penalty minutes in 16 games this season (10.4 minutes per game).

All-Time Against the Crimson

The Bobcats own a 2-12-1 all-time record against the Crimson but have claimed their two victories within the past six matchups (2-3-1 record). Their first victory over Harvard came on Jan. 9, 2010 when they scored a 1-0 victory with a 31-save shutout in net from Victoria Vigilanti at the High Point Solutions Arena. The Bobcats followed up with a 4-1 victory the following year on Nov. 12, 2010. Kelly Babstock tallied a hat trick in the three-goal victory and Vigilanti made 27 saves to preserve the win. Both victories came at home while the Bobcats are 0-7 all-time playing in Cambridge, Mass. Earlier this season the Crimson shutout the Bobcats, 2-0, from High Point Solutions Arena as Laura Bellamy earned the 30-save shutout.

Harvard Women's Hockey History

The Crimson have long been a force in the sport of women's ice hockey. Their last losing season occurred in 1997-98 when they finished the year with a 14-16 record. The following year Harvard went 33-1, including 30 consecutive victories to close the season. The final game of that 30-game winning streak was a 6-5 overtime victory over New Hampshire in the AWCHA National Championship Game. It was a season full of firsts as the team would win the Beanpot and Ivy League title in addition to their first ECAC Hockey regular season and tournament championships. This would also be the first AWCHA National Championship in the reign of head coach Katey Stone. Now in her 19th season, Stone became the women's college hockey all-time wins leader on Feb. 26, 2010, surpassing former Minnesota head coach Laura Halldorson. Stone's overall record of 378-164-32 stands alone in women's college hockey history.

Scouting the Crimson

Harvard is one of the hottest teams in the nation as they've shot up the USCHO.com national poll, entering the weekend with their highest ranking of the season at No. 2. Their 11-1-1 record and perfect 9-0-0 mark in the ECAC Hockey ranks just ahead of the Bobcats in the conference points standings. Entering the weekend with 18 points, the Crimson hold first place in the ECAC Hockey standings just one point ahead of the Bobcats who come in with 17 (8-3-1 record). The Crimson feature one of the nation's most dominating forwards in senior Jillian Dempsey. She ranks third among all Division I women's hockey players in points per game (2.38) as she has tallied 16 goals and 15 assist s (31 points) in just 13 games. The Crimson also feature one of the nation's most dominating forces on the defensive end in senior goalie Laura Bellamy. The netminder comes into the weekend allowing just four goals on the season with a 6-1-0 record, 0.60 goals against average and .967 save percentage which both rank as the best in the nation. Harvard joins Minnesota as the only team in the nation to be ranked in the top four in both scoring offense (4.31 goals per game) and scoring defense (0.77). The Crimson are a disciplined team, averaging the fourth-fewest penalty minutes per game (7.5) but perhaps their biggest weakness is the power play (17.8%) which is good for 15th in the country. Quinnipiac will need to have an answer for the Crimson's two big stars as both Bellamy (30-save shutout) and Dempsey (game-winning goal) factored heavily in their 2-0 win over the Bobcats earlier this season.

Last Time Out

The Bobcats came away with an exhibition victory over McGill, 4-1, on Saturday from High Point Solutions Arena. The threesome of Kelly Babstock (one goal, one assist), Kristen Tamberg (one goal, one assist) and Nicole Brown (two assists) all helped ignite the scoring for the Bobcats while Victoria Vigilanti earned the victory in net with 11 saves while Chelsea Laden closed the door in the third period, making five saves in the final stanza. The matchup was the first game action for Quinnipiac since Dec. 8 as the team has spent more than one month without playing a regular season game due to the annual winter break. The Bobcats will need to be sharp as they take on a pair of teams on two ECAC Hockey opponents on the road who swept Quinnipiac last season in two road meetings.

Going Back-to-Back

Senior goalie Victoria Vigilanti picked up her second consecutive Hogan Hockey/ECAC Hockey Goalie of the Week honor on Dec. 11 becoming the first goalie to pick up back-to-back conference awards this season. The senior netminder won her 14th career Goaltender of the Week after posting another stellar weekend for the Bobcats with a pair of victories including her first shutout of the season. She stopped 38-of-40 Princeton shots over the weekend series for a .950 save percentage, her highest in a two-game stretch all season.

On Her Game

Vigilanti has played her best and helped lead the team on their season-high five game winning streak. Her play has proved vital as the senior goalie has posted a 5-0 record, .941 save percentage (80 saves on 85 shots), and 1.00 goals-against-average over the past five games. Her talent was on full display in the Bobcat's last game played on Dec. 8 in her first shutout of the season as she made several sprawling saves all around the crease to preserve the 4-0 Quinnipiac victory.

Getting Her Lyons Share

Senior forward Brittany Lyons has made a living this season on the extra-man advantage for Quinnipiac as she her season total for power-play goals currently stands at seven. She scored her seventh of the season in the 3-2 victory over Princeton on Dec. 7 to place her in a tie for second place for the most of any player in the nation. Lyons added another goal on Saturday, this time on even strength, to give her 11 on the season which is good for second on the team and one shy of her career high for goals in a season.

Babs Strikes Again

With three points (two goals, one assist) in two games against Princeton, junior forward Kelly Babstock moves her ECAC Hockey-leading total to 40 points (20 goals, 20 assists) on the season. She already matched her point total from last season and is on-pace to eclipse her program record 59 points (30 goals, 29 assists) achieved during her freshman year.

Helping Hand

The team-leader in assists was at it again against Princeton as sophomore forward Nicole Kosta recorded her 22nd helper on the year in the Dec. 8 matchup against the Tigers at home. Kosta continues to lead ECAC Hockey in assists and is tied for second in points with 31 (nine goals, 22 assists) behind fellow teammate Kelly Babstock,

Blue Line Power

Senior defenseman Regan Boulton has had herself a standout year, posting another three assists in two games against Princeton to move her season total to 20 (four goals, 16 assists). She already has established a single-season career high in assists and is just one point shy of matching her point total from last season of 21. The senior captain has really picked up her play of late, posting five points (one goal, four assists) over the past three games.

Moving On Up

Boulton's play of late has sent up surging up the national leaderboard in terms of points per game among defenseman. Her 20 points through 21 games (0.95 points per game average) puts her third among all ECAC Hockey defenders and 8th in the nation among all defensemen.

Instant Energy

The play of freshman forward Nicole Connery has picked up of late as the first year Bobcat has registered one point in three straight games, tied for her longest such stretch of the season. Connery currently stands sixth on the team with 11 points (six goals, five assists) and has provided the team with great scoring depth behind the top offensive line.

Brownie Points

Freshman Nicole Brown had herself another strong weekend and has played her best hockey since being moved to the top offensive line alongside Kelly Babstock and Nicole Kosta. Brown registered two points (one goal, one assist) over the weekend including the game-winner in Quinnipiac's 4-0 win over Princeton. Since moving to the top line, Brown has totaled four points (two goals, two assists), +6 plus/minus rating, and 16 shots-on-goal, including a career-high nine on Dec. 8, over the past four games. She currently stands seventh on the team with 10 points (five goals, five assists) in 21 games this season.

Surging Forward

The Quinnipiac offense has exploded over the past five games with 21 goals over the span as the team scored at least three goals in all five matchups. The Bobcats currently stand 10th in the nation in scoring offense at 3.29 goals per game.

Penalty-Free

With only 126 penalty minutes through 21 games this season, the Bobcats come into the weekend as the least penalized team in the nation. They currently average six penalty minutes per game while the next-closest competitor (Union) averages 6.9 minutes per game.

Extra Attacker Goals

With two more power-play goals over the weekend, the Bobcats continue their dominate play on the man advantage. They enter the weekend scoring at a 26.7 percent clip on the power play, good for fourth-best in the nation. Of the 69 Quinnipiac goals this season, 23 (33.3 percent) of them have come off the power play.

On the Plus Side

Quinnipiac's Nicole Kosta and Kelly Babstock both have been instrumental in the team's success thus far in the season, evidenced by their +25 and +24 plus/minus rating through 21 games, respectively. They hold the second and third spots in the ECAC Hockey standings as they're just behind Jillian Dempsey of Harvard who sits in first place at +28.

Kosting Right Along

With another assist in the team's last game, Nicole Kosta continues her breakout season as her season total increased to 31 points (nine goals, 22 assists) that ranks tied for second in the ECAC Hockey. With another helper, she continues to lead the conference in assists with 22 on the year. Kosta is within range of besting her numbers from last year as she finished the 2011-12 season with 33 points (eight goals, 25 assists) through 34 games.

Shooting Spree
The Bobcats have combined to outshoot their opponents 212-85 through the last five games and haven't been outshot in a game since Nov. 10 against Rensselaer (nine games). For the season, the Bobcats have outshot their opponents 715-492 through 21 games so far.

Six is the Magic Number

The Bobcats have scored at least six goals in a game three times already this season in just 21 games played. This mark matches the most in a single season in program history when the team last accomplished the feat during the 2009-10 season. 

Double Trouble

Kelly Babstock etched her name further into Quinnipiac record books on Nov. 24 as she became just the second player in program history to register two shorthanded goals in one game. She joins Ashley Jaffray, who recorded a pair against Northeastern on Oct. 16, 2006, as the only two Bobcats to ever accomplish the feat.

She Shoots…She Scores…Again

With 20 goals and 20 assists in 21 games this season, Kelly Babstock has either scored or assisted on 40 of the team's 69 goals thus far in the season. She has had a hand in an astonishing 58 percent of the team's goals, which is the highest percentage of any player in the nation with Harvard's Jillian Dempsey the next-closest competitor at 55.4 percent.

Points Galore
Since her first game freshman year, not counting exhibitions, Kelly Babstock has recorded at least one point in 69 of the 87 games that Quinnipiac has not been shutout.

2010-11: 28-of-33
2011-12: 25-of-36
2012-13: 16-of-18 (current season)

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 40 goals and 72 assists in 21 games throughout the season. The 112 points between the five players represents 64.7 percent of the total points for Quinnipiac (173 as a team).

Dynamite Ability

Kelly Babstock has been found near the top of the nation's statistical leaderboard all season. She currently ranks 5th in points per game (1.90), 4th in goals-per-game (0.95), 12th in assists-per-game (0.95), tied for 3rd in game-winning goals (four), and tied for 3rd in shorthanded goals (two). She is one of only six players to own a spot in the nation's top-10 points per game, top-10 goals per game, and top 15 assists per game.

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-20 in points-per-game in the nation, each have contributed at least 31 points, with Babstock's 40 (20 goals, 20 assists) and Kosta's 31 (nine goals, 22 assists) leading the way for the Bobcats. They rank as the second-highest scoring duo in the country behind No. 1 Minnesota's Hannah Brandt and Amanda Kessell.

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 team's 173 combined points for the Bobcats this season, Babstock and Kosta have accumulated 71 of those 173 for 41.0 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 rank both in the top-12 nationally in assists-per-game. The two have combined to have a hand on 46-of-69 goals for the team on the season. Kosta has assisted on 31.9 percent (22-of-69) while Babstock has assisted on 29.0 percent (20-of-69) of the team's 62 goals this season. Kosta's percentage places her fourth in the nation's leaderboard in that category while Babstock sits right behind in eighth place.

Right Behind
Kelly Babstock comes into the weekend with 139 points which stands seventh among active Division I players. Babstock's point total is the third-most among active juniors and her 68 goals is the second-most behind Minnesota's Amanda Kessel who has posted 76 goals in her three years with the Golden Gophers.

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