January 16, 2013

Non-Conference Slate Wraps Up This Weekend for Women's Ice Hockey at Robert Morris; Friday at 7 pm, Saturday at 2 pm

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Quinnipiac University Bobcats (12-9-2, 8-5-1 ECAC Hockey)
@ Robert Morris Colonials (10-6-2, 6-4-0 College Hockey America)

Friday January 18, 2013 – 7:00 p.m.
RMU Island Sports Center – Pittsburgh, Pa. 

Quinnipiac University Bobcats (12-9-2, 8-5-1 ECAC Hockey)
@ Robert Morris Colonials (10-6-2, 6-4-0 College Hockey America)
Saturday January 19, 2013 – 2:00 p.m.
RMU Island Sports Center – Pittsburg, Pa.

Road Trip

The Quinnipiac women's ice hockey team (12-9-2, 8-5-1 ECAC Hockey) looks to regain their winnings ways on the road facing College Hockey America's Robert Morris Colonials (10-6-2, 6-4-0 CHA). The trip to Pittsburgh, Pa. will have the Bobcats playing in a two-game weekend non-conference set against Robert Morris that will wrap up the non-conference schedule for this season. The Bobcats come into the weekend with a perfect 6-0 mark all-time mark against the Colonials including a 3-2 victory last season in the Championship Game of the Nutmeg Classic. Quinnipiac will need to overcome their recent two game losing streak handed to them by Dartmouth and No. 2 Harvard last weekend by a score of 5-2 and 4-0, respectively. The Bobcats will have one more weekend to improve on their 4-3-1 overall non-conference record this season before entering February where eight ECAC Hockey games loom large in determining playoff positioning for early March.

All-Time Against the Colonials

The Bobcats currently stand unscathed against Robert Morris with a 6-0 all-time record. Quinnipiac is 4-0 all-time against the Colonials playing at home while they've beaten Robert Morris, 4-3, in overtime back on Dec. 6, 2006 in their only meeting in Pittsburgh, Pa. The two met last season on Nov. 26, 2011 in the Championship Game of the Nutmeg Classic last season where the Bobcats came out on top, 3-2. The game featured three points (one goal, two assists) from Kelly Babstock who was named Tournament MVP for her heroics while head coach Rick Seeley won his 200th career game in the process.

Robert Morris Women's Hockey History

The Colonials have emerged as one of the national powers in women's hockey over the past two seasons. Since joining Division I in 2005-06, Robert Morris accumulated six straight losing seasons before hiring current head coach Paul Colontino in 2011. The move proved immense to the team's success as the Colonials finished 2011-12 with a 19-9-4 overall record and 6-3-3 mark within College Hockey America, both substantially better than any previous season. The turnaround extended into the playoffs as Robert Morris ran through Niagara, 3-2, in the CHA Semifinal round for their first ever trip to the CHA Championship game. The incredible run didn't end after the Semifinal victory as Robert Morris stunned then No. 6 ranked Mercyhurst, 3-2, to claim the program's first ever league title while simultaneously ending the Lakers' run of nine consecutive CHA tournament championships. Despite being picked to finish last in the conference in the preseason coaches' poll, Robert Morris, under the direction of first-year head coach Colontino, pulled its second upset of the season over the Lakers to claim the championship for the first time ever.

Scouting the Colonials

Robert Morris has carried their incredible success from last season into 2012-13 where they enter the weekend with a 10-6-2 overall record and 6-4 mark in College Hockey America. They've played a multitude of ECAC Hockey teams including Yale, Princeton and Rensselaer and finished 2-1-1 in four contests against the Bobcats' conference foes. The Colonials picked up a good deal of steam from Nov. 3 through Dec. 8 where the team reeled off a 8-1-1 record and nearly cracked the USCHO.com national poll for the first time in program history. Included in that 10-game stretch, was a seven-game unbeaten streak, highlighted by two marque wins against No. 4 nationally ranked Mercyhurst. Robert Morris picked off their conference opponent with a weekend sweep with a 3-1 and 2-1 victory. The sweep gives the Colonials their first over Mercyhurst in program history and it is also the first time Robert Morris has swept an opponent ranked in the national top-10. Senior goalie Kristen DiCiocco was vital over the stretch with 60 total saves over the weekend while allowing just two goals against the high-flying Mercyhurst offense. Over their past four games however, Robert Morris has lost in three of their past four games, all of which played at home. The losing stretch began against RIT where the Colonials dropped both games in the weekend set and continued the losing stretch with a 5-2 loss against Lindenwood at home last weekend. They regained momentum on Saturday with a 5-2 win against Lindenwood as they enter the last two games of an eight-game home stand against the Bobcats. Sophomore Rebecca Vint (12 goals, 12 assists) leads the team in goals, assists, points, shots, penalty minutes, game-winning goals, and third-most blocked shots with 25 entering the weekend. Senior forward Kelsey Thomas is second on the team with eight goals and 11 assists while Thea Imbrogno (six goals, seven assists), Kristen Richards (six goals, seven assists) and Cobina Delaney (three goals, eight assists) have all compiled at least 11 points this season. DiCiocco enters play with a 8-6-2 record in goal, .919 save percentage, and 2.18 goals-against-average this year.

Last Time Out

The Bobcats had a tough time dealing with Dartmouth and No. 2 Harvard over the weekend. Quinnipiac began the ECAC Hockey weekend with a matchup against the Big Green on Friday that finished with a 5-2 decision in favor of Dartmouth. Kelly Babstock and Brittany Lyons scored the Bobcats' goals while Erica Uden Johansson and Amanda Colin each tallied one assist in defeat. Saturday's game featured the No. 2 nationally-ranked Harvard Crimson whom own a 14-1-1 overall record to this date in the season. The ECAC Hockey's first place team defeated Quinnipiac, 4-0, to sweep the season series from the Bobcats. Goalie Victoria Vigilanti did her best in net with 26 saves to keep her team close but the Crimson offense proved too much on Saturday.  

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.

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 Friday, this time on even strength, to give her 12 on the season which is good for second on the team and tied her career high for goals in a season. 

Babs Strikes Again

With another goal over the weekend, junior forward Kelly Babstock moves her ECAC Hockey-leading total to 41 points (21 goals, 20 assists) on the season. She already bested 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, sophomore forward Nicole Kosta, continues to lead ECAC Hockey in helpers as her season total currently stands at 22. Kosta enters the weekend just three assists shy of matching her freshman year total while she already has established a new career high in goals (nine) after totaling eight in 2011-12. 

Blue Line Power

Senior defenseman Regan Boulton has had herself a standout year, posting 20 points (four goals, 16 assists) this season. 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.

Moving On Up

Boulton's play of late has sent her surging up the national leaderboard in terms of points per game among defenseman. Her 20 points through 23 games (0.87 points per game average) puts her fourth among all ECAC Hockey defenders and ninth in the nation among all defensemen.

Brownie Points

Freshman Nicole Brown has played her best hockey since being moved to the top offensive line alongside Kelly Babstock and Nicole Kosta. Since moving to the top line, Brown has totaled four points (two goals, two assists), +3 plus/minus rating, and 17 shots-on-goal, including a career-high nine on Dec. 8, over the past six games. She currently stands seventh on the team with 10 points (five goals, five assists) in 23 games this season.

Penalty-Free

With only 136 penalty minutes through 23 games this season, the Bobcats come into the weekend as the least penalized team in the nation. They currently average 5.9 penalty minutes per game while the next-closest competitor (Bemidji State) averages 6.7 minutes per game.

Extra Attacker Goals

One of the biggest strengths for the Bobcats this season has been their 26.7 percent clip on the power play, good for sixth-best in the nation. Of the 71 Quinnipiac goals this season, 23 (32.3 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 +23 and +21 plus/minus rating through 23 games, respectively. They hold the fifth and sixth spots in the ECAC Hockey standings as they sit behind a foursome of Harvard players.

Kosting Right Along

Nicole Kosta continues her breakout season as her season total stands at 31 points (nine goals, 22 assists) that ranks fourth in the ECAC Hockey. 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.

Six is the Magic Number

The Bobcats have scored at least six goals in a game three times already this season in just 23 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 21 goals and 20 assists in 23 games this season, Kelly Babstock has either scored or assisted on 41 of the team's 71 goals thus far in the season. She has had a hand in an astonishing 57.7 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 52.9 percent.

Points Galore
Since her first game freshman year, not counting exhibitions, Kelly Babstock has recorded at least one point in 70 of the 88 games that Quinnipiac has not been shutout.

2010-11: 28-of-33
2011-12: 25-of-36
2012-13: 17-of-19 (current season)

Top-of-the-Line Production

The Bobcat's top offensive and defensive lines have completely dominated the Quinnipiac scoring throughout 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 41 goals and 73 assists in 23 games throughout the season. The 114 points between the five players represents 64.4 percent of the total points for Quinnipiac (177 as a team).

Dynamite Ability

Kelly Babstock has been found near the top of the nation's statistical leaderboard all season. She currently ranks 9th in points per game (1.78), 8th in goals-per-game (0.91), 19th in assists-per-game (0.87), tied for 3rd in game-winning goals (four), and tied for 4th 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 20 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 41 (21 goals, 20 assists) and Kosta's 31 (nine goals, 22 assists) leading the way for the Bobcats. They rank as the fifth-highest scoring duo in the country.

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 177 combined points for the Bobcats this season, Babstock and Kosta have accumulated 72 of those 177 for 40.7 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-20 nationally in assists-per-game. The two have combined to have a hand on 47-of-71 goals for the team on the season. Kosta has assisted on 31.0 percent (22-of-71) while Babstock has assisted on 28.2 percent (20-of-71) of the team's 71 goals this season. Kosta's percentage places her sixth 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 140 points which stands eighth among active Division I players. Babstock's point total is the third-most among active juniors and her 69 goals is the second-most behind Minnesota's Amanda Kessel who has posted 82 goals in her three years with the Golden Gophers.

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