HAMDEN, Conn. – After a lengthy offseason, the Quinnipiac women's ice hockey team ringed in the new year with a 3-1 exhibition victory over Guelph from High Point Solutions Arena on Saturday. Special teams play proved the difference for Quinnipiac as two power-play goals in the third period resulted in the go-ahead and game-clinching tallies for the Bobcats. Quinnipiac now has one more week of preparation before their season-opening trip out to St. Cloud State where they will take on the WCHA's Huskies.
"I thought for our first exhibition game we were great," said Quinnipiac head coach Rick Seeley. "I think this is Guelph's fourth or fifth game so they're battled tested. We held them to no shots in the third and no shots on those two power plays so I thought our forecheck was good, our second effort was great, our back pressure was good so overall I thought it was a really good effort."
The Bobcats and their faithful got their first glimpse at seven highly touted freshman as well as an incoming junior transfer Shiann Darkangelo (Brighton, Mich.). The former Syracuse Orange posted two points (one goal, one assist) in her first game with the Bobcats as she used her superior size and skill to control the offensive side. A pair of sophomore defenseman, Cydney Roesler (Stittsville, Ontario) and Kristen Tamberg (North Toronto, Ontario), each tallied two assists in the victory while junior Morgan Fritz-Ward (Mason City, Iowa) scored the game-winning power-play goal.
Initial pressure from the Bobcats came fast and furious as they tallied 18 shots-on-goal in the first period compared to six for the Gryphons. Despite a multitude number of scoring chances, Guelph's goalie Stephanie Nehring was up to the task on all 18 as she stood on her head to keep the Bobcats off the scoreboard early.
The pressure from the Bobcats persisted throughout the second before Quinnipiac finally broke through with a goal from sophomore Nicole Connery (Newmarket, Ontario). The scoring play began behind the Bobcat net where Tamberg pushed the puck up to center ice where it was nudged ahead by senior Olivia Brackett (Coopersville, Mich.). Connery made a great play as she was shooting up the left wing, the sophomore forward one-touched the puck to herself along the boards to create an odd-man rush. The 10-goal scorer from a year ago held the puck on a two-on-one breakaway, carried it all the way in on Nehring and then lifted it over the stick-side and into the back of the net.
Despite the momentum, the Gryphons responded less than 15 seconds later with a goal from Jessica Pinkerton. Guelph won the faceoff at center ice back to Kimberley Wong, who passed up to Amanda Parkins and then back to the faceoff winner Pinkerton. She carried the puck to the left faceoff dot and her shot beat freshman goalie Sydney Rossman (Excelsior, Minn.) five-hole to tie the score.
Coming out of the locker room for the third period, there was no question who was the better team down the stretch. The Bobcats forced Guelph into five penalties and converted two into the difference-making goals. The first of which came off the stick off Fritz-Ward as she deflected a Roesler shot from the point past Nehring for the ultimate game-winner at 4:23 in the third.
Quinnipiac added an insurance goal at 8:40 with Darkangelo finishing off a 5-on-3 power play advantage for the Bobcats. The puck swung along the boards to Tamberg waiting at the wing. She flicked the puck up to Roesler at the point who faked a shot and passed to the right wing where Darkangelo was waiting. The junior forward took her time and wristed a rocket shot past Nehring in the upper corner to push the score to 3-1.
Rossman picked up the win in net as she split time with junior Chelsea Laden (Lakeville, Minn.) who both combined for seven saves in the victory.
The Bobcats will open their season Oct. 4-5 where they will take on St. Cloud State in what will be the Bobcats' first game against a WCHA team since 2008 and just the second time Quinnipiac has played the Huskies on the road (last road meeting: Jan. 7, 2003).
Contact: Maxx McNall; email@example.com