NEW HAVEN, Conn. – In a 65 minute showdown ending in a 0-0 tie, the battle between No. 7 Quinnipiac women's ice hockey and Yale was as high-octane and pressure-packed as they get on Saturday from Ingalls Rink. Junior goalie Chelsea Laden (Lakeville, Minn.) was every bit as dominant as she could be, making 27 saves to record her Division I-leading fifth shutout of the year. The Bobcats unleashed a potent offense on the Bulldogs, outshooting their crosstown rival, 44-27, but couldn't manage to get one through. Quinnipiac extends their unbeaten streak to four games as their record moves to 8-1-3 (3-1-2 ECAC Hockey) while Yale ends their five game losing streak at 0-5-1 (0-3-1 ECAC Hockey).
Laden kicksaved and batted away all 27 Yale shots she saw on Saturday to lead the way to the draw and keep her team in the game. None of her 27 saves were bigger or more impressive than her glove save with less than 10 minutes to play in the third period. After kicking aside a rifle shot from the point, one of the Yale forwards wound up a slap shot and made it to the open rebound opportunity before the Bobcat defender. Her laser slapper made it through a couple players in front but not Laden's glove as she flashed the leather with a lightning-quick reach up to flick the sure-goal away. Laden also picked up four saves in the final overtime period to put away the game and earn her team one point in a crucial conference matchup.
Each team had one power play opportunity in the opening 20 minutes of play in a period that was played at a feverish back-and-forth pace. Yale had the best scoring chance in the frame as Abby Gahm found herself on a breakaway on a quickly executed breakout for the Bulldogs. She carried the puck in on her forehand until the last second where she went to her backhand side. Laden gave her nothing to work with, however, as the shot went over Laden's glove but dinged off the post and out as the Bobcats were out of harm's way. The first period ended scoreless and the shots favoring the Bobcats, 11-10.
Another scoreless frame followed as Quinnipiac started to assert their will with a 19-8 advantage in shots in the second period. Two Bobcat power play opportunities went to no avail as the team was desperately searching for a deflection in front of Yale goalie Jamie Leonoff. Perhaps their best chance of the stanza came with less than two minutes remaining when sophomore Nicole Connery (Newmarket, Ontario) was open at the far post but couldn't get a stick on a rebound left out front by Leonoff. The Yale defensemen were able to get back in time to knock the loose puck aside as Connery was a mere few inches away from the open shot.
The Bobcats thoroughly controlled the third period but wound up empty in the score column as Leonoff was up to the task on several close calls in front of the net. For the third straight period the Bobcats outshot the Bulldogs, 13-5, but were unable to find the back of the net in the high-pressured closing stages of the third period.
Each team was able to have a couple extended possessions in the extra five minutes of play but to no avail as Laden kicked away the one legitimate scoring chance for Yale. A shot from the point flew in on the mass of defenders in front and took a crazy bounce to the far post but Laden's right pad leg stood strong and denied the potential game-winner.
The No. 7 Bobcats will now take a brief break from conference play as they welcome No. 5 Boston College and the University of New Hampshire to High Point Solutions Arena next weekend. The Golden Eagles will face Quinnipiac on Friday at 3:00 pm while the Wildcats and Bobcats are scheduled to square off on Saturday at 3:00 pm.
Contact: Maxx McNall; email@example.com