Home Weekend Series Against Brown and Yale Looms For Women's Ice Hockey; Skate With The Bobcats Slated for Saturday

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Quinnipiac University Bobcats (14-9-2, 8-5-1 ECAC Hockey)
vs. Brown Bears (4-14-1, 3-11 ECAC Hockey)
Friday February 1, 2013 – 7:00 PM
High Point Solutions Arena – Hamden, Conn.

Quinnipiac University Bobcats (14-9-2, 8-5-1 ECAC Hockey)
vs. Yale Bulldogs (4-16-1, 3-10-1 ECAC Hockey)
Saturday February 2, 2013 – 4:00 PM
High Point Solutions Arena – Hamden, Conn.

Home Sweet Home

The Quinnipiac women's ice hockey team (14-9-2, 8-5-1 ECAC Hockey) returns to home ice for their first regular season home game since Dec. 8 against Princeton. The Bobcats welcome a pair of ECAC Hockey opponents in Brown and Yale who remain the only pairing of conference foes that Quinnipiac has yet to play this season. This will be the first ECAC Hockey matchup for the Bobcats since Jan. 11-12 where they were swept on a weekend road series at Dartmouth and Harvard but Quinnipiac comes in riding a weekend road sweep of Robert Morris from Jan. 18-19. Currently sitting in fifth place in the ECAC Hockey standings with 17 points, just two behind the coveted fourth place position St. Lawrence, the eight-game stretch remaining in the 2012-13 regular season is pivotal for the Bobcats to claim home ice in ECAC Hockey Quarterfinals.

All-Time Against the Bears

The Bears and Quinnipiac have played to a 6-6-4 all-time series record but the Bobcats are unbeaten against Brown in their previous six meetings (3-0-3). At home, the Bobcats are 3-3-2 in eight all-time meetings with their last contest in Hamden coming on Nov. 5, 2011 as the teams played to a 2-2 tie. Shelby Wignall pumped in the game-tying goal with less than 10 minutes to play to send the game into overtime while the Bears' Katie Jamieson stood tall in net making 48 saves on 50 shots to lead Brown to the decision. In the second meeting last season, Quinnipiac came away with a 3-0 shutout as Victoria Vigilanti made 16 saves in net without surrendering a goal.

Brown Women's Hockey History

The Brown Bears women's ice hockey program is the oldest women's hockey program in the United States. The team was led by illustrious head coach Margaret "Digit" Murphy, who became the winningest coach in Division I women's ice hockey history during her 18th season at Brown (2006-07). She ultimately retired after the 2010-11 season but not before she had accomplished a great deal in her reign with the Bears. Brown advanced all the way to the 2002 NCAA Women's Ice Hockey Division I Frozen Four before losing to Minnesota-Duluth in the National Semifinals. The team finished the season at 25-8-2, having won 19 of its final 22 games, and advanced to their first and only appearance in the NCAA Tournament. The history of the program dates back to 1964 when the Brown Bears men's coach Jim Fullerton arranged for Nancy Schieffelin to attend a team practice. She disguised in full uniform and Fullerton was impressed enough that a year later, Brown University would have the first women's ice hockey program. In 1976, Brown would host the first ever Ivy League women's ice hockey tournament and between 1994 and 1997, the Bears won three consecutive ECAC regular season championships. During that time span, the Bears were undefeated in the league during the 1995-96 and 1996-97 seasons. The undefeated streak spanned 49 ECAC Hockey games and the Bears competed in the first AWCHA Division I National Ice Hockey Championship. In 1999-2000, Brown reached its second national championship final in three years, with the team finishing runner-up in both seasons.

Scouting the Bears

After starting the season with two wins in their first four games, Brown has gone 2-12-1 since as they currently stand 4-14-1 (3-11 ECAC Hockey). They currently stand 11th in the conference standings but sit just one point behind Yale and Colgate for the eighth and final spot in the ECAC Hockey Tournament. Brown nearly pulled off a pair of upsets on the road last weekend as they were up 2-1 in the third period over Colgate but allowed three unanswered before ultimately falling 4-3. The following afternoon they traveled to take on No. 4 nationally-ranked Cornell. The Bears trailed 3-1 heading into the third period but didn't back down as they scored a power-play goal to close the gap to one before the Big Red added one late to ultimately come away with a 4-2 victory. Certainly the biggest strength for the Bears is their junior goaltender Aubree Moore. Despite her 2-9-1 record, Moore has posted a 2.12 goals-against-average (ranked 15th nationally) and her .926 save percentages stands 10th among all Division I goalies. Her presence around the net spearheads a penalty kill unit that has denied a goal on 85.3 percent of their opponent's power play opportunities which is ranked ninth nationally. Finally, their leading scorer is senior forward Alena Polenska who leads the team in both goals (seven) and assists (five) on the season. Junior forward Jessica Hoyle (three goals, five assists) and sophomore defender Lauren Vella (three goals, five assists) are two other players to watch for Brown.

All-Time Against the Bulldogs

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 Women's Hockey History

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 (4-16-1, 3-10-1 ECAC Hockey) has shown gradual improvement throughout the season. After going 1-5-0 in their first six ECAC Hockey games, the Bulldogs have picked up a pair of wins and a tie in their last eight conference games -- and three of their five losses in that span have been by just one goal. The penalty killing unit in particular has been heating up. Yale has killed off 18 of 19 penalties in the last five games, and the Bulldogs have not allowed a power play goal in their last three. Sophomore goaltender Jaimie Leonoff continues to be the backbone of Yale's defensive efforts. She is second in the nation in saves with 697, and while her numbers for the season are good (.922 save percentage, 2.93 goals-against average), her numbers since the start of December are even better (.934 save percentage, 2.22 goals-against average). Six of the 18 goals scored against her in that time frame have come on the power play. The Bulldog scoring is led by a host of freshmen including forwards Janelle Ferrara (six goals, six assists) and Jamie Haddad (team-high seven goals, three assists) and defenseman Kate Martini (three goals, team-high eight assists).

Last Time Out

The last time the Bobcats were in action they accomplished something that had not been done since Dec. 2-3, 2011. Quinnipiac managed a weekend road series sweep over Robert Morris to accomplish the feat and did so in dramatic fashion. On Friday night, the Bobcats allowed a quick goal less than five minutes into the game but stormed back with a shorthanded tally from Nicole Kosta late in the first and then the ultimate game-winner came off the stick of Brittany Lyons 27 seconds into the third frame. The Bobcat defense and goaltender Victoria Vigilanti posted 21 saves and allowed one goal for the sixth time this season. The following day, the Bobcats came-from-behind once again to win, 3-2, over the Colonials. Nicole Connery (one goal, one assist) and Regan Boulton (one goal, one assist) were key in the victory as the Bobcats were down 2-1 with nearly 10 minutes to play before Boulton scored on a two-man advantage and Connery followed through with a power-play game-winner less than a minute later. Goalie Chelsea Laden was impressive all afternoon making 22 saves in her first start since Nov. 9, 2011 at Union.

Milestone Alert!

Quinnipiac women's ice hockey head coach Rick Seeley enters the weekend just one win away from the 225th of his career. He comes into Friday with a 224-156-42 overall mark in 13 years of head coaching experience with three years coming in Manhattanville (53 wins), five standing at the helm in Clarkson (93 wins), and he is currently in his fifth year with the Bobcats (77 wins).

Picking It Up

In the past seven games for the Bobcats, only the ECAC Hockey's leading scorer Kelly Babstock has scored more points than freshman teammate Nicole Connery for the Bobcats. Highlighted by her three points (one goal, two assists) last weekend, Connery has tallied seven points (two goals, five assists) over the previous seven games for the Bobcats which is a tie for second on the team alongside Regan Boulton. Saturday's game-winner was the first of her career and fourth multi-point game of the season.

Vigilanti Victorious

Senior goaltender Victoria Vigilanti had one of her most impressive outings of the season last Friday as she posted 21 saves on 22 shots in a 2-1 win over Robert Morris. After allowing a quick goal less than five minutes into the game, Vigilanti and the Bobcat defense tightened up over the next 55 minutes to not allow another goal through. The victory marked the sixth time this season Vigilanti had only allowed one goal in net.

Didn't Miss a Beat

After not starting since Nov. 9 (13 games) and not seeing any game action in net since Nov. 20 (10 games) sophomore goalie Chelsea Laden made the most of her opportunity, making 22 saves in net to preserve a 3-2 victory over the Colonials on Saturday. The win was Laden's second of the year and first since Oct. 13 when she made 19 saves in a 5-2 win over Maine.

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, good for a tie for sixth-most of any player in the nation. Her 14 goals on the season is second on the team, fifth in the ECAC Hockey, and already eclipsed her previous single season career high of 12 established in her sophomore season. Lyons has also scored a goal in seven out of the last nine games for the Bobcats. 

Babs Strikes Again

With another two assists over the weekend, junior forward Kelly Babstock moves her ECAC Hockey-leading total to 43 points (21 goals, 22 assists) on the season. She already bested her point total from last season and is just 16 points shy of matching 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, has remained in the top-five in the ECAC Hockey in helpers as her season total currently stands at 23. Kosta enters the weekend just two assists shy of matching her freshman year total while she already has established a new career high in goals (10) after totaling eight in 2011-12. 

Blue Line Power

Senior defenseman Regan Boulton has had herself a standout year, posting 22 points (five goals, 17 assists) this season. She already has established a single-season career high in assists and just broke her previous single season career high in points (21) established last season where she was named to the All-ECAC Third Team. 

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 22 points through 25 games (0.87 points per game average) puts her third among all ECAC Hockey defenders and tied for seventh in the nation among all defensemen.

Race for Second

Regan Boulton enters the weekend with 69 career points (23 goals, 46 assists) which currently sits fourth all-time in the Quinnipiac record books but fellow teammate Nicole Kosta is not far behind with 66 career points (18 goals, 48 assists). They both sit fourth and fifth, respectively, on the career points list in Quinnipiac history. Boulton enters the weekend just five points away from passing Vicky Graham '08 for second place all-time while Kosta sits eight points away from the milestone.

Points – Career
1.            142         Kelly Babstock (69 goals, 73 assists)
2.            73           Vicky Graham '08 (36 goals, 37 assists)
3.            72           Elyse Cole '09 (43 goals, 29 assists)
4.            69           Regan Boulton (23 goals, 46 assists)
5.            66           Nicole Kosta (18 goals, 48 assists)

Ms. Reliable

Senior defenseman Felica Vieweg has been one of the most durable players the program has ever seen. She has played in every collegiate game since becoming a Bobcat in 2009, giving her 136 consecutive games played. Vieweg already is tied for sixth place in Quinnipiac history and is a mere nine games away from matching Chelsea Illchuk and Bethany Dymarczyk for the most in program history with 145.

Penalty-Free

With only 160 penalty minutes through 25 games this season, the Bobcats come into the weekend as the least penalized team in the nation. They currently average 6.4 penalty minutes per game while the next-closest competitor (Bemidji State) averages 6.8 minutes per game.

Extra Attacker Goals

One of the biggest strengths for the Bobcats this season has been their 24.3 percent clip on the power play, good for fifth-best in the nation. Of the 76 Quinnipiac goals this season, 25 (32.9 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 +24 and +22 plus/minus rating through 25 games, respectively. They hold the sixth and seventh spots in the ECAC Hockey standings as they sit behind a foursome of Harvard players and Cornell's Brianne Jenner.

Kosting Right Along

Nicole Kosta continues her breakout season as her season total stands at 33 points (10 goals, 23 assists) that ranks sixth in the ECAC Hockey. She continues to lead the team with 23 assists on the year. Kosta is just one point away from besting her numbers from last year as she finished the 2011-12 season with 33 points (eight goals, 25 assists) through 34 games.

She Shoots…She Scores…Again

With 21 goals and 22 assists in 25 games this season, Kelly Babstock has either scored or assisted on 43 of the team's 76 goals thus far in the season. She has had a hand in an astonishing 56.6 percent of the team's goals, which is the highest percentage of any player in the nation with Wisconsin's Brianna Decker the next-closest competitor at 53.5 percent.

Points Galore
Since her first game freshman year, not counting exhibitions, Kelly Babstock has recorded at least one point in 72 of the 90 games that Quinnipiac has not been shutout.

2010-11: 28-of-33
2011-12: 25-of-36
2012-13: 19-of-21 (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 Nicole Brown along with top defenders Regan Boulton and Cydney Roesler have combined for 41 goals and 73 assists in 25 games throughout the season. The 114 points between the five players represents 60 percent of the total points for Quinnipiac (190 as a team).

Dynamite Ability

Kelly Babstock has been found near the top of the nation's statistical leaderboard all season. She currently ranks 10th in points per game (1.72), tied for 8th in goals-per-game (0.84), tied for 17th in assists-per-game (0.88), tied for 9th in game-winning goals (four), and tied for 5th 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 combined 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 33 points, with Babstock's 43 (21 goals, 22 assists) and Kosta's 33 (10 goals, 23 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 190 combined points for the Bobcats this season, Babstock and Kosta have accumulated 76 of those 190 for 40 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 49-of-76 goals for the team on the season. Kosta has assisted on 30.3 percent (23-of-76) while Babstock has assisted on 28.9 percent (22-of-76) of the team's 76 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 142 points which stands eighth among active Division I players. Babstock's point total is the fourth-most among active juniors and her 69 goals is the second-most behind Minnesota's Amanda Kessel who has posted 85 goals in her three years with the Golden Gophers.

 Active Leaders in Points
  1. 255         Jocelyne Lamoureux         Sr.           North Dakota
  2. 243         Monique Lamoureux         Sr.           North Dakota
  3. 227         Brianna Decker                 Sr.           Wisconsin
  4. 205         Amanda Kessel                 Jr.            Minnesota
  5. 157         Isabel Menard                  Sr.           Boston University
  6. 152         Christine Bestland            Jr.            Mercyhurst
  7. 150         Brianne Jenner                  Jr.            Cornell
  8. 142         Kelly Babstock                Jr.           Quinnipiac
  9. 141         Jillian Dempsey Sr.           Harvard
  10. 133         Kelly Sabatine                   Sr.           St. Lawrence
The Wins Keep on Coming

Victoria Vigilanti already eclipsed the career win total of every Quinnipiac goalie, male or female, in program history. Now she is looking to further her claim as one of the greatest goalies in ECAC Hockey history as she currently ranks third among active goalies throughout Division I in wins (65).

 Active Goalie Leaders in Wins
  1. 100         Noora Raty                    Sr.           Minnesota
  2. 75           Alex Rigsby                   Sr.           Wisconsin
  3. 65          Victoria Vigilanti          Sr.          Quinnipiac
  4. 58           Laura Bellamy               Sr.           Harvard
  5. 54           Kerrin Sperry                 Jr.            Boston University
  6. 51           Erica Howe                    Jr.            Clarkson
  7. 44           Corinne Boyles              Sr.           Boston College
  8. 43           Lindsay Holdcroft           Jr.            Dartmouth
  9. 41           Lauren Slebodnick         Jr.            Cornell
  10. 38           Laura Chamberlain        Jr.            RIT

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