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Quinnipiac women’s hockey wins home opener 1-0 over Providence

Photo Courtesy: Quinnipiac Athletics

By Tom Krosnowski

On Saturday afternoon the Quinnipiac women’s hockey team proved true the cliche: it’s not always how you start, but how you finish that can define a game.

The Providence College Friars outplayed the Bobcats in the first period. However Cassandra Turner’s team was not going to let 20 minutes of play define their home opener.

Quinnipiac played the final two periods more to its identity. It tallied one goal and kept Providence off the board to earn a 1-0 victory in the regular season home opener at High Point Solutions Arena.

Sophomore goalie Abbie Ives kept the Bobcats in the game throughout, tallying a 37 save shutout. Second year forward Abby Cleary scored the game’s only goal with five minutes left in the second period off a rebound, which was the only insurance that Ives needed.

“Abbie Ives had such a great day today,” Turner said. “She was there when we needed her.”

For Ives, it was the perfect way to celebrate her birthday. She was familiar with the Friars’ strategy coming off of a 3-1 loss in Providence the night before, and the extra preparation helped out in a big way.

“We knew they like to shoot from anywhere,” Ives said, “For me, that makes me have to be ready for a shot at any time.”

The Friars totaled 62 shots on goal in the two games of the home and home series this weekend.

The Bobcats were outshot 15-5 and did not maintain much puck possession time in the first period of Saturday’s contest. Playing without stars T.T. Cianfarano and Anna Kilponen, the Bobcats had to rally while playing shorthanded.

“We started as poorly as we probably could in that first period,” Turner said. “I don’t know if I’ve been a part of period like that for a long time here.”

The tide shifted for Quinnipiac halfway through the second period, when captain Melissa Samoskevich spearheaded a shorthanded chance off the rush. Her relentless energy sparked the team, and after a power play in which the Bobcats buzzed and hit the post with a shot, Cleary finally capitalized and put a goal on the scoreboard late in the frame.

“(Samoskevich) kept building as the day was progressing and won a lot of puck battles,” Turner said. “Our bench got excited about that and was ready to follow her. It was nice to see our captains and our veteran players make those plays when we needed it.”

Cleary’s goal was her second of the year, which surpasses her total from last year already. She has progressed as a player, and her coach has taken notice.

“Abby’s mindset has really grown,” Turner said. “When she has successes and when she has failures, she’s ready to recover from them. That is a really important skill in college hockey. It’s not just how she’s putting the puck in the net early this year, it’s how she’s battling. That’s a really important piece and we are really proud of her right now.”

Cleary played a complete game today, and acknowledged that there is more to her game than just scoring. She was fearless blocking shots on defense and was in the right place at the right time to chip in the game’s lone goal.

“[Raquel Pennoyer] had a really good shot there and the rebound hopped right to me, so I was lucky to enough to put it in,” Cleary said. “It’s nice to block shots and then put one in the net.”

For the Bobcats, the hope is that this win can help them discover their identity and lead to a more complete effort next weekend against the Vermont Catamounts. The Hockey East squad comes into Hamden for games on both Friday and Saturday.

“I think this spoke a lot about who we are as a hockey team,” Cleary said. “Obviously, we had a rough start in that first period, but we were able to battle and come together and pick it up.”

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