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Women’s hockey picks up crucial conference win
The Quinnipiac women’s hockey team defeated conference rival Union this past Saturday, 6-4, at Northford Ice Pavilion. The Bobcats received goals from six different players and improved to 3-8-0 with the win.
The action came early and often, as the first Union goal came off Elise Nichols’ stick just 16 seconds into the game. Spurred by the early lapse in defense, the Bobcats increased their pressure. Two minutes later Bobcat freshman Janine Duffy scored the equalizer after a fury of sticks, elbows and bodies whirled about in front of Union goalie, Alex Zirbel. Within the first four minutes of the period, Quinnipiac had five legitimate scoring chances as they constantly ripped off shots at the Union net. At 12:32 defender Karrah Stephen gave the Bobcats the lead as she fired home a loose puck that trickled into the slot. Looking to pad the lead on the power play, assistant captain Ashley Jaffray netted her first of two goals in the game. Thirty-four seconds later came Quinnipiac’s fourth goal of the period when Breana Burton sent the loose puck in front of the net sailing past Zirbel to make it 4-1.
Despite their dominance, the Bobcats did have several hiccups as they surrendered three breakaway chances to Union. By all rights the period would have seen the two tied at four were it not for the stellar play of Quinnipiac goalie Laura Brennan, who denied all three chances. Head coach Michael Barrett was especially impressed with his goalie’s play.
“We’re really bad at giving up breakaways; Laura did a fantastic job tonight,” Barrett said. “She was really solid; it was probably her best game yet. We’ve been hanging her out to dry a lot of times and she really stepped it up and stopped some point black shots.”
The second period saw the Bobcats augment the lead even further with a goal in the first minute by Hayley McMeekin, making it 5-1. Much to Union’s delight the door was not fully closed. As the Bobcats dominated the first period, Union equally owned the second. Union scored at 8:47 in the period on the power play. The team’s third goal would come with 15 minutes played, as Nichols scored her second of the night, cutting the deficit to 5-3. Less than a minute later Union brought it to within one when Captain Kelly Lannan scored on a centering feed from Gabi Whitner behind the net. At the end of two Quinnipiac held the lead at 5-4.
Assessing the second period’s letdown Jaffray said, “We had some rough patches. For some reason we’re having lulls when we know we should be playing better.”
“Other teams are capitalizing on our mistakes,” she said. “At the point we were 5-4, everyone was looking at each other and saying, ‘Oh my gosh this can’t be happening.'”
Quinnipiac regained its dominance in the third period. Clinging to a one goal advantage, the Bobcats slammed down the proverbial hammer on the Dutchwomen. The ‘Cats only allowed two Union shots on net the entire period. With 13 minutes gone, Jaffray took a centering feed from Nicolette Leone and wristed her second goal of the game. The Bobcats then held on for the 6-4 victory.
Quinnipiac will begin a tough four-game stretch of conference games beginning with a game at Colgate on Nov. 17.