February 8, 2013

Women's Ice Hockey Stuns No. 4 Cornell, 4-1; Defense and Victoria Vigilanti Shut Down Big Red Offense in Landmark Victory

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HAMDEN, Conn. – Quinnipiac made its first home victory over Cornell in program history a memorable one and left the fourth-ranked Big Red with their first loss in eight games as they fell to the Bobcats, 4-1. Friday afternoon belonged to the Bobcats as the Quinnipiac women's ice hockey team came into High Point Solutions Arena and dominated No. 4 nationally-ranked Cornell. The victory for Quinnipiac marks the program's second-ever win over a Top-5 nationally ranked opponent and moves their unbeaten streak to five games (4-0-1). Senior goalie Victoria Vigilanti (Woodbridge, Ontario) stood tall in net all afternoon with 32 saves while the Bobcat defense limited the Big Red opportunities with 20 blocked shots in front of Vigilanti. The victory moves Quinnipiac to 16-9-3 (10-5-2 ECAC Hockey) while the Bobcats put an end to Cornell's eight-game winning streak as the Big Red fall to 19-5 (14-3 ECAC Hockey).

Junior Kelly Babstock (Mississauga, Ontario) scored her third straight multi-point game as she finished with a pair of empty net goals to go along with an assist for three points (two goals, one assist). This gives Babstock 50 points (26 goals, 24 assists) on the season, five consecutive games with at least one point, and 17th career multi-goal game. Junior Erica Uden Johansson (Sundsvall, Sweden) scored the game's first goal for her second in as many games and senior Brittany Lyons (Canton, Mass.) also scored her 15th goal of the season in the victory. 

The win is the first over a Top-5 opponent since Nov. 22, 2011 when the Bobcats took down then-No.4 ranked Boston College, 2-1. This victory is just the fourth win over Cornell in program history (4-11-5 overall series record), their first win against the Big Red since Nov. 18, 2006 and put an end to the nation's second-longest unbeaten streak (eight games). 

The first period was very indicative of the way the game played out as the Bobcats seized control of the game from the start with a 15-6 advantage in shots-on-goal. One of those was converted into a goal as the Bobcats won a faceoff in the Big Red defensive end where they puck was swung up to senior Regan Boulton (Brandon, Manitoba) at the point. Her initial shot was deflected in front by Babstock's stick and was eventually poked in by Uden Johansson. Cornell goalie Lauren Slebodnick couldn't locate the puck as it hugged the goal line before Uden Johansson's stick knocked home her ninth of the season.

The entire night was dominated by the Bobcats defense and Vigilanti as she was sharp early, denying Cornell's Jessica Campbell on a breakaway attempt and later on the Big Red's three-on-one opportunity in the second period was stonewalled by Vigilanti who smothered the puck moving to her right to keep the shutout intact.

Junior Amanda Colin (Burnsville, Minn.) sold out for the second Bobcat goal at 6:30 in the second period. Her hustle from the opposite blue line to the far side boards caused a defensive turnover behind the net. She took the puck and centered to a wide open Lyons who deposited the shot past Slebodnick to give the Bobcats a 2-0 lead. Colin's hustle created the goal and resulted in her fifth assist of the year.

Pressure was applied throughout the second and third periods but nothing was working against Vigilanti on Friday. With the Bobcats skating down two players on a Cornell empty net and power play, Babstock lit the lamp again for a shorthanded empty-net goal. Boulton sold out in front of Vigilanti with another blocked shot and the loose puck found Babstock's stick who lifted a shot over the Big Red's back line and in for the goal. Boulton's assist was her second of the game and 21st of the season.

Still trying for a shutout, Cornell added a goal late as the ECAC Hockey leading scorer Brianne Jenner scored her 27th of the season off a deflection in front for a power-play goal. The Jenner tally put an end to Vigilanti's streak of 219:16 consecutive minutes without allowing a goal.

With the Big Red again playing with an empty net, the Bobcats and Babstock took advantage with her second empty-net goal of the game and 26th of the season.

The Bobcats were also playing with purple laces on Friday in rememborance of Daron Richardson, the younger sister of Cornell freshman Morgan Richardson, who took her own life in Nov. 2010 at age 14. The Big Red created the "Do It For Daron" series to raise awareness and inspire conversations about young mental health, according to the website (www.difd.com).

The monumental win now gives the Bobcat all sorts of momentum heading into the Senior Day matchup against Colgate tomorrow from High Point Solutions Arena starting at 7 pm.

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