Follow your leaders

Quinnipiac women’s ice hockey preps for ECAC Hockey playoffs

By on February 26, 2019

Quinnipiac women’s hockey is heading to the ECAC Hockey playoffs on a bit of a hot streak. The team is 3-0-3 in its last six games, including two shutouts.

Morgan Tencza | The Quinnipiac Chronicle
The Bobcats (12-16-6, 9-9-4 ECAC) are set for an ECAC Quarterfinals matchup with the Clarkson Golden Knights (25-7-2, 16-5-1 ECAC). They have faced off against Clarkson twice this season, losing the first game 3-2 and fighting to a 1-1 tie in the second game.

The Golden Knights’ graduate student goaltender Kassidy Sauvé is going to be a tough test for the Bobcats to solve. She is in the top 20 in the country in save percentage (.932) and is in the top 10 in goals against average (1.78) with five shutouts.

Quinnipiac junior goaltender Abbie Ives hasn’t been too shabby herself. She is sitting within the top 20 in the nation in terms of goals against average (1.83) and save percentage (.925). In addition, she has recorded a career-high six shutouts.

“She’s a student of the game,” Quinnipiac head coach Cassandra Turner said. “I don’t even think her numbers speak for who she is as a goaltender, I think she’s better than that, even. She steals games for us…She relies on her positioning, she’s a smart goaltender, reads the play well; she’s someone who you want in big moments, that’s for sure.”

A lot of the work that Ives puts in comes in the offseason. She skates and works out at the Prentiss Hockey Performance gym in Stamford, Connecticut. Throughout her time working out there, she’s been able to skate with the likes of New York Rangers’ defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk and forward Chris Kreider, as well as Milford, Connecticut native and two-time Stanley Cup champion Jonathan Quick.

“Getting challenged by shots like that makes you see that you can be really patient,” Ives said. “Then when I come back to this speed, it’s pretty helpful to think back on that.”

In addition, the team’s top line of senior Loren Gabel, junior Michaela Pejzlova and sophomore Elizabeth Giguere have combined for 76 goals and 174 points on the year. The whole line is in the top five in points in the ECAC Hockey, holding the one, two and four spots. Also, Giguere’s five shorthanded goals are the best in the nation.

The Bobcats will see a familiar face as T.T. Cianfarano is playing her graduate year with the Golden Knights. She has 18 goals and 33 points on the year.

“It’s just like another opponent,” Ives said. “I mean the first game was definitely weird…but no that really doesn’t motivate me that much. What motivates me is to knock off that team that’s done a lot in the past four years without T.T..”

Despite the overwhelming firepower of the Golden Knights’ top line, the Bobcats have a line that has been clicking of late. The team’s top line, comprised of all seniors: captain Melissa Samoskevich and alternate captains Kenzie Lancaster and Randi Marcon.

The line has amassed 24 goals, 31 assists and 55 points on the season. They have tallied four power play goals and are a +10. Although Clarkson’s top line has slightly over triple the amount of points on the year, hockey postseasons typically favor those who get hot at the right time.

In Clarkson’s last six games, the top line has totaled 10 goals and 21 points, four of the goals and 10 of the points coming from Giguere, alone. However, in Quinnipiac’s last six games, its top line has scored eight goals and 19 points. Marcon is making her presence felt as she has scored five goals and six points in her last six games.

“Randi is really hot right now and she just plays with so much heart, I could see her scoring some big goals,” Ives said. “Samo obviously game in game out is just unbelievable…all lines are clicking right now so I could see pretty much anybody could be the hero.”

They’ve seen the emergence of some of the freshman class, most notably forward Lexie Adzija and defenseman Zoe Boyd.

Adzija is heading into the postseason with five goals, 10 assists and 15 points. Her 10 assists ranks second on the team and her 15 points have her sitting at third on the team. She’s tied for the team lead with two power play goals.

Boyd has tallied two goals, nine assists and 11 points to land her at second among the squad’s defensemen in points behind junior Kati Tabin (4-8-12), and also tied for the team lead with both of her goals being on the power play.

“They’ve been unreal,” junior goaltender Abbie Ives said. “They’re super experienced with international play and I think that helps them. They play super mature, they learn the systems and they’re so skilled.”

Despite giving up a hat trick to Gabel in the 3-2 loss to then No. 5 Clarkson in Hamden on Feb. 1, the team was able to hold it to just a lone goal scored by Giguere in Feb. 23’s 1-1 tie. For the Bobcats, Marcon scored a goal in each game, both assisted by Lancaster.

“We’re right there,” Turner said. “We’re going to work this week to help our team to see and understand what it’s going to take to win, but I think we have the pieces. It’s just going to be putting them together and being more confident throughout the entire game. I think it’s the right matchup for us, I think it’s an exciting matchup and it’s most definitely going to be a physical and great battle.”

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