September 17, 2013

Women's Ice Hockey Garners Fourth Place in ECAC Hockey Preseason Coaches' Poll

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ECAC Hockey Preseason Coaches' Poll Release

HAMDEN, Conn. – As chosen by the league's coaches, the Quinnipiac women's ice hockey team was selected to finish fourth in the ECAC Hockey Preseason Coaches' Poll. The Bobcats totaled 94 points after finishing the 2012-13 with a 20-12-4 overall record (13-6-3 ECAC Hockey) and advanced to the ECAC Hockey Tournament for the fourth consecutive season.

Three NCAA Tournament teams headline the top three spots on the list, starting with Clarkson who received 119 points and seven of 12 first place votes. Four-time defending regular season champion Cornell was voted second as they accumulated 111 points and the remaining five first place votes. The reigning league runner-up Harvard slotted in at third place, just ahead of the Bobcats with 99 points. St. Lawrence (78 points) and Dartmouth (75 points) came in behind Quinnipiac in fourth and fifth, respectively. Princeton and Rensselaer garnered the No. 7 and No. 8 slots while Colgate was chosen in the No. 9 spot. Rounding out the poll is Yale, Brown and Union as the season officially kicks off in less than two weeks.

2013-14 ECAC Hockey Preseason Coaches' Poll

Rank   Team (First place votes)  Points
1 CLARKSON (7) 119
2 CORNELL (5) 111
3 HARVARD 99
4 QUINNIPIAC 94
5 ST. LAWRENCE 78
6 DARTMOUTH 75
7 PRINCETON 56
8 RENSSELAER 46
9 COLGATE 43
10 YALE 36
11 BROWN 26
12 UNION 16

Last Season Recap

The 2012-13 season was yet another successful campaign as the Bobcats finished 20-12-4 overall and 13-6-3 in ECAC Hockey competition. The 13 wins in conference action was the most in the history of the program and the 20 total wins gives the team 80 victories over a four-year span, a claim only 10 other teams in Division I can hold. They advanced to the ECAC Hockey Tournament for the fourth consecutive season as the No. 4 seed, thus hosting a postseason series for just the second time ever. Quinnipiac's season however, came to an end after falling to No. 5 St. Lawrence in three games of the best-of-three Quarterfinal series.

Forwards

At the pace Kelly Babstock is currently on, it will be quite some time before anyone is to ever come close to approaching her career numbers. The senior forward stands alone as the only 100 point scorer in Quinnipiac women's ice hockey history and finished her junior year with 154 career points. Her stat line for 2012-13 included 28 goals and 27 assists for 55 points which led to a nomination for the Patty Kazmaier Award and an ECAC Hockey First Team distinction. Nicole Kos ta went toe-for-toe with Babstock at times throughout the season as she finished with 11 goals and a team-leading 28 assists for 39 points. Kosta's ability to find open teammates has always been her calling card as she enters her junior season with 72 career points (19 goals, 53 assists), good for third on the all-time scoring list. Her inspired play in 2012-13 earned her an ECAC Hockey Third Team award as well as being named a finalist for the Best Defensive Forward award.

Nicole Connery and Nicole Brown made some noise in their first seasons with Quinnipiac as the pair of sophomore forwards will look to make a name for themselves amongst the talent-laden roster. Both appeared in all 36 games of their rookie campaigns and continued to see more ice time as the season went on. Connery led all Bobcat freshman with 19 points (10 goals, 9 assists) and saw considerable time on the ice for the Bobcats' special team units. Brown meanwhile registered 15 points (6 goals, 9 assists) and posted a remarkable streak as the team went 13-0-1 in the 14 games she posted at least one point. Another dynamic athlete to add to the mix is incoming junior transfer Shiann Darkangelo who comes to the Bobcats after playing two years at Syracuse University. Darkangelo compiled 42 points (23 goals, 19 assists) in 70 career games and led the Orange in goals (16) last season.

The remaining group of returning forwards includes the senior captain Amanda Colin, who was named the 10th captain in the history of the program at the annual banquet in May. Health and improved play earned junior Morgan Fritz-Ward considerable playing time last year and she took advance with seven points (2 goals, 5 assists) in 33 games.

Defense

The back line will certainly miss the departures of longtime standouts Regan Boulton and Felica Vieweg but in steps several young, exhilarating talents that make this unit especially difficult to score against. The loss of such cornerstones will be difficult but ma de easier with the returns of senior Shelby Wignall and sophomores Cydney Roesler and Kristen Tamberg. A converted forward, Wignall blossomed into a consistent, steady presence along the blue line last season. She finished with five points and a +6 plus/minus rating, the  fourth-highest among Bobcat defenders. In just her first season with the team, Roesler started alongside Boulton in all 36 games and owned the best plus/minus rating among all defenders on the team at +11. Her heady play resulted in just three penalties in 22 ECAC Hockey games last season and she also finished with nine assists, the second highest total among the blue-liners. Much like her fellow classmate, Tamberg stepped right in and earned significant minutes in her first season. She posted great all-around numbers with five assist, +8 plus/minus rating and just 10 penalty minutes scattered across the 36-game season.

Potential breakout players lie waiting in the wings as sophomore Lindsey West is back fully healthy after missing nearly half the season due to injury. The Bobcats will also get their first glimpse at Taryn Baumgardt and Emma Greco, two talented freshman defenders who both figure to see plenty of time in their first years. Baumgardt represents just the fifth Bobcat to ever have played for the Canadian U-18 National Team while Greco captained the Toronto Jr. Aeros and won a bronze medal with Team Ontario Red in the 2012 Canadian Women's U-18 Championships.

Goaltending

Victoria Vigilanti's dep arture to graduation closes the doors on the greatest career for a goaltender in the history o f the program. An All-ECAC Hockey performer three out of her four years, Vigilanti goes down with the most wins (71), saves (3257), games played (133), goals against average (1.68), save percentage (.931) and shutouts (25) of any goalie in Quinnipiac history. Her departure however creates an opening for the up-and-coming junior Chelsea Laden. A sought-after recruit two years ago, Laden has had to wait her turn behind Vigilanti the past two seasons and looks to make the most of her chance this year. She has accumulated seven career wins in 15 starts to go along with a 2.58 goals against average and .905 save percentage. The loss of Vigilanti also creates an opportunity for incoming freshman Sydney Rossman, another highly-touted recruit whose notoriety spread across the country in her senior season at Minnetonka High School. She was named the 2013 Let's Play Hockey Senior Goalie of the Year, presented to the top Minnesota senior goalie in girls' high school hockey. Also a three-time USA Hockey National Development Camp Selection, Rossman earned an invite to the United States National Women's U-18 Team Selection Camp in Aug. 2012 as one of only three goalies.

Schedule

The Quinnipiac coaching staff announced the Bobcats' 2013-14 35-game schedule (one exhibition) that features a program record 20 home games, seven matchups against NCAA Tournament participants from last season, a season-opening trip out to St. Cloud, Minn. for a pair of games against the Huskies, hosting the 10th annual Nutmeg Classic and the culmination as the High Point Solutions Arena will play host to the 2014 NCAA Women's Frozen Four in March.

The crown jewel at the end of the season will commence as three automatic qualifiers from the winners of the WCHA, Hockey East and ECAC Hockey conference tournaments will be paired amongst five schools receiving an at-large berth. The First Round will feature eight teams and four games played at the higher-seeded team. Then the 2014 Frozen Four will be held from March 21-23 at the High Point Solutions Arena in Hamden, Conn. Quinnipiac is the first ECAC Hockey institution to host the NCAA Women's Frozen Four on campus since its inception in 2001.

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