Three takeaways: Quinnipiac falls to Clarkson 3-2 in Hamden

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Three takeaways: Quinnipiac falls to Clarkson 3-2 in Hamden

Photo Courtesy: Liz Flynn/Quinnipiac Bobcats Sports Network

Photo Courtesy: Liz Flynn/Quinnipiac Bobcats Sports Network

Photo Courtesy: Liz Flynn/Quinnipiac Bobcats Sports Network

Photo Courtesy: Liz Flynn/Quinnipiac Bobcats Sports Network

Ryan Flaherty, Women's Ice Hockey Beat Reporter

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There’s no place like home.

Or so the saying goes.

That wasn’t the case for the Quinnipiac women’s ice hockey team on Friday night, as it fell to the No. 5 Clarkson Golden Knights 3-2. Quinnipiac returned to Hamden for its first home game since December 1, but despite the loss turned in one of its best performances of the year.

Quinnipiac pressured Clarkson right from the opening puck drop and scored just 15 seconds into the game. Quinnipiac frustrated Clarkson early on, but eventually the Golden Knights settled in and the two teams went back and forth for the remainder of the contest.

It came as no surprise that Loren Gabel was the biggest difference maker in the game as she notched all three goals for the Golden Knights collecting her 26, 27 and 28 goals of the season giving her 52 points in just 25 games.

While there were many takeaways from tonight’s game, here are my top three

1. Quinnipiac’s best hockey is yet to come

After the game, Quinnipiac head coach Cassandra Turner expressed that there is a belief that although this team may not be getting the results they want, they are headed in the right direction.

“We keep getting better and better and you know we just showed so much heart and grit, we played well with the puck, we created some chances, we had some tremendous opportunities,” Turner said. “I think we got to stay the course because the course is putting us in a great position right now”

The Bobcats 9-15-3 record might not have you believing that they’re one of the better teams in college hockey but there is certainly something to be said about the fact that they’ve played 9 games against opponents ranked in the top 10 in the country. Yes, Quinnipiac is 0-9 in those games, but seven of nine have been games decided by one goal and the Bobcats have made visible improvements in all of them.

The pucks may not be bouncing the Bobcats way right now but it’s hard to deny the work they’re putting in. It may sound cliché but there’s no stat for a team’s heart and determination. This team is not only getting better by the day, but the players believe they can win and more importantly they believe in each other. The pucks have to start bouncing Quinnipiac’s way at some point. The ECAC hockey playoffs might just be that point.

2. Abbie Ives is playing at an elite level

With the departure of backup goaltender Allison Small and the injury to freshman Logan Angers, there is added pressure on junior Abbie Ives to perform between the pipes. And she has been nothing short of phenomenal. Don’t let her 9-12-3 record fool you, she’s the real deal. In 23 starts this season, Ives has a goals against average under 2.00, a save percentage of .928, and 4 shutouts.

Ives has been one of the main reasons for the competitiveness Quinnipiac has shown against top-ranked opponents as she is able to take away easy scoring chances for teams like Clarkson who will take advantage. She’s got one of the quickest gloves in the conference and has made incredible saves look routine.

Ives continued success paired with the constant improvement of her team and their system could be a dangerous recipe for the rest of ECAC hockey.

3. Playing aggressive may be the key to success

My last takeaway of the night is that in order for Quinnipiac to right the ship and turn its season around, there needs to be a sense of urgency on the ice.

The Bobcats are not known for their aggressive style of play, but tonight they came out of the gates firing and almost beat the No. 5 team in the nation because of it. Not only did the Bobcats jump out to an early 1-0 lead, but they forced the Golden Knights to change their game plan. Instead of sitting back and playing to their more defensive culture, the Bobcats fought offense with offense and for a while, it confused the defending national champion Golden Knights.

The Bobcats were winning puck battles. They were creating scoring chances. Most importantly, Quinnipiac’s defense was even more successful because it forced Clarkson to compete in an uncomfortable environment. The Bobcats need to take back their home ice advantage and unleash the talent they have in their top six forwards.

Quinnipiac will be back in action tomorrow afternoon to take on the St. Lawrence Saints at 3 p.m. in Hamden.