3 things we learned: Cornell defeats Quinnipiac 2-1


Photo Courtesy: Quinnipiac Athletics

Ryan Flaherty

M.J. Baird, Sports Director

The Quinnipiac women’s ice hockey team fell to the No. 6 ranked Cornell Big Red on Friday night, 2-1 at the Frank Perrotti, Jr. arena in Hamden.

Cornell scored first in the game, with Diana Buckley’s shot trickling over the goal line as Quinnipiac goaltender Abbie Ives couldn’t hold on.

Midway through the final frame, Cornell extended its lead perfecting a 2-on-1 opportunity as Kristin O’Neill finished a great pass from Paige Lewis to put the Big Red up 2-0. But less than 90 seconds later Quinnipiac’s Brooke Bonsteel knotted her first goal of the season, finishing on a partial breakaway to get the Bobcats on the board.

Ultimately two Cornell goals were enough to fend off Quinnipiac, as the Bobcats fall to 3-2-0 in ECAC hockey.

Quinnipiac head coach Cass Turner opened her postgame press conference by saying that her team “keeps getting better,” particularly after two weeks of practice thanks to an off-week. From an outsider perspective it may be hard to believe that despite back-to-back losses a team is improving.

But there are certainly parts of Quinnipiac’s game that are moving in the right direction even if the final product isn’t there just yet.

Here are my three takeaways from Friday’s game.

  1. Aye aye, Captain

 Quinnipiac’s captain Melissa Samoskevich missed the last two games, but for a great reason.

The senior represented team USA at the Four Nations Cup in Saskatchewan Nov. 6 -10. Samoskevich, a Sandy Hook, Conn. native, scored two goals across four games, contributing to the fourth straight Four Nations Cup win for the Americans.

But the Bobcats were sure happy to have their captain back in Hamden.

“She’s a tremendous leader, awesome on our bench,” Turner said. “Her character passes from one person to the next and it was really nice to have her.”

“I love playing with Samo,” Bonsteel said. “Her energy on the bench and on the ice is huge for the team.”

Samoskevich tossed five shots on goal, and was an important part of the Bobcats penalty kill as well.

A nice transition.

  1. Penalty kill success

“Look at the people we keep rolling out there (on the penalty kill),” Turner said. “They are smart and they prepare. As we give them information about the opposing teams power play they think about it and they are ready to make plays and that is pretty cool.”

Perhaps the best part of Quinnipiac’s game so far this season has been while a player down.

Tonight the Bobcats kept the Big Red scoreless on three man-advantage opportunities. But more impressive was the only two shots Quinnipiac surrendered combined across three Cornell power plays (0 shots on the first two PK’s).

The 3-for-3 effort improves Quinnipiac’s season percentage to over 90 percent effectiveness on the year (28/31, 90.6 %) and moves them into the top ten ranks nationally.

Penalties are a part of the game. They are going to happen, and sometimes at inopportune times just like this one.

Down a goal with three minutes to play, Randi Marcon headed to the penalty box and Quinnipiac needed to keep it a oone-goalgame, which it did.

If the Bobcats can continue to keep their penalty kill success rate amongst the top of the national ranks, good things are going to happen.

  1. Get used to close games

Quinnipiac fans, buckle in for close contests whenever you head to the rink.

Eight of Quinnipiac’s first 11 games have been decided by one goal or less. That’s nearly 75% of the games.

Defensively, everything is there for the Bobcats. They haven’t allowed more than three goals against in a game. But offensively, the Bobcats are struggling to find consistent goal scoring.

Turner has admitted that her team needs to score more goals if it wants to win more games.

Sophomore Taylor House leads the team with five goals, but no other Bobcat has scored more than twice this season.

Bonsteel notched her first goal of the year after a slow start to her sophomore season. Coming off a stellar freshman campaign with 10 goals on the year, the sophomore is hoping this might spark her offensive game.

“I sure hope so, it would be nice,” Bonsteel chuckled at the thought. “I’d love to be a goal-scorer but it is not something that I necessarily think I need to bring (as my main role).”

Whether it is Bonsteel, Samoskevich or someone else, Quinnipiac needs production up front.

And it needs it fast.

“In one goal hockey games we know we are just moments away from making some plays that could change (the result),” Turner said. “Every play matters and we are working to be the most consistent we can be. We aren’t going to get caught up in the results right now.”

Quinnipiac continues its stretch of five games in nine days this Thanksgiving season, hosting Colgate Saturday night.