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Quinnipiac splits weekend series against Princeton

Video by: Naomi Grey and Tom Krosnowski


Article by: Michael Dalton

Just 21 hours after getting shutout against the Princeton Tigers, the Quinnipiac Bobcats’ women’s ice hockey team returned home to avenge Friday’s loss. Quinnipiac continues to be dominant at Frank Perrotti, Jr. Arena defeating Princeton 3-1 and improving its home record to 7-1.

In the early stages of the game, it was all Bobcats. Quinnipiac’s leading point scorer, Kenzie Lancaster got things started with her 15th point this season, scoring less than three minutes into the game.

Princeton responded early in the second period, with a goal from West Hartford, Connecticut native Sharon Frankel, tying the game 1-1.

The Bobcats found themselves in a tough situation with 12:36 left in the second period. Shannon Cherpak was sent to the penalty box for interference, giving the Tigers their first power play opportunity and a chance to take the lead.

“We talked about welcoming the battle today,” Quinnipiac head coach Cass Turner said. “You’re going to make mistakes in a hockey game, but it’s how you recover from that, how you celebrate successes with your teammates and be excited to make more plays than the other team.”

The Bobcats responded by scoring their first short-handed goal of the season. Initially, the goal was under review to see if Taylor House kicked the puck past Tiger goaltender Stephanie Neatby, but the referees we’re unable to find any conclusive evidence that she made a kicking motion, and House was credited for the goal.

“I was just focusing on getting my stick in the lane,” House said. “I got a lucky pass right to me. I gave it to Prater, and I got the lucky rebound.”

Trailing 2-1, the Tigers had the opportunity to tie the game once again 5:08 into the third period, when Sarah-Eve Coutu-Godbout was sent to the penalty box for interference. But the combination of Princeton owning ECAC Hockey’s worst power play percentage (11.1%) and Quinnipiac claiming the fifth best penalty kill percentage in the nation (89.3%) resulted in the Bobcats shutting down the Tigers. At some points during the penalty kill, it looked like Quinnipiac wasn’t even down a player.

“The penalty kill is a mentality,” Turner said. “Our bench gets excited. We clearly don’t want to take penalties, but we have a good mental shift into that moment. We like to kill in an aggressive way. You can tell when we make those plays that we’re excited about it because you hear the bench. It’s a full team effort when we’re killing penalties.”

With less than five minutes to go in regulation, Kenzie Prater fired a wrist shot about 10 feet away from Princeton goalie Stephanie Neatby, who made the initial save, but gave up a rebound that bounced right to Quinnipiac forward Brooke Bonsteel who put the puck in the back of the net, extending the Bobcats lead to two goals.

The goal was Bonsteel’s seventh goal of the season. Bonsteel currently leads the freshmen class in goals, and is second on the team, only behind captain Melissa Samoskevich who has nine.

“I think the freshmen have all had really big opportunities in the first half of the season, and I think as a group we’re building off of one another,” Bonsteel said. “Plus, the upper classmen are helping us with our confidence.”

Despite the Bobcats getting shutout by the Tigers on the road the day before, Saturday’s matchup went back much further than what had transpired 21 hours before.

Last year, the Bobcats and Tigers met each other in the ECAC Quarterfinals. The Bobcats took the first game in a triple-overtime thriller, however the tigers were able to take the next two games and move on to the semi-finals.

“There’s so much to fuel the fire with Princeton,” Turner said. “When you’re playing a team that ends your season, there’s fire. I think we needed to manage that emotion a little bit better yesterday. Today we did. I thought we saw a lot closer of what Quinnipiac hockey should be in today’s game.”

The Bobcats won’t be playing another game until Thursday Dec. 28th at 7:00, and their opponent will be one they’re not accustomed to as they welcome Team Korea to Hamden.

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