Orange crushed: ‘Cats sweep ‘Cuse, match program-high 11 wins

Heidi Nichols

The Quinnipiac women’s ice hockey team traveled to Syracuse University over the weekend for the first time in program history and came home with a pair of victories against the No. 10 Orange.

The Bobcats began their trip Friday night with a 4-3 overtime victory. Senior captain Kallie Flor scored two goals, including the game-winner. Freshman forward Kristen Eklund added two goals and an assist in the victory.

Syracuse scored first, at the 11:23 mark of the first period. Freshman goaltender Victoria Vigilanti deflected a shot off her right pad but Holly Carrie-Mattimo scooped up the puck and shot it past Vigilanti’s right shoulder. The Bobcats responded at the 15:33 mark of the second period when Eklund slapped a rebound into the corner of the net.

Quinnipiac capitalized off a power play in the first minute of the third period when freshman Regan Boulton’s shot was collected by Flor and lifted past Orange goaltender Lucy Schoedel. Syracuse came back strong and scored two goals at the 6:06 and 8:08 marks of the third period to take the lead, but Eklund answered with an unassisted goal 15 seconds after Syracuse’s last goal.

Two minutes and 24 seconds into overtime, Eklund passed to Flor at center ice and Flor weaved past a defender, faked a shot and slipped the puck in the lower-right corner of the net to take the lead for good.

Friday’s hard-earned victory was a preview of what was to come on Saturday afternoon when the Bobcats triumphed over the Orange with a 2-1 victory, improving their season record to 11-7-6.

Quinnipiac came out aggressively, scoring just 16 seconds into the first period. Boulton earned her second assist of the weekend when she passed the puck to senior Janine Duffy outside the crease. Duffy swiftly backhanded the puck into the net for her ninth goal of the season.

The Bobcats added an insurance goal at the 14:43 mark of the third period. Duffy gained the puck at center ice and she and Flor charged the net against the Orange defenders. In the right faceoff circle, Duffy made a firm pass to Flor, who ripped a shot into the right corner of the net, bringing the Bobcat lead to 2-0.

The Orange regained strength after the goal and battled the Quinnipiac defense with strong shots, especially during the last two minutes of play. Vigilanti, who made 21 saves in the game, blocked many of the shots fired her way but Orange forward Julie Rising scored an unassisted goal when she captured a loose puck in front of the net.

The two wins against Syracuse gave Quinnipiac its 11th win of the season, which matches the best record ever held in program history. The Bobcats will face off against Wayne State in a non-conference set of games at the TD Bank Sports Center this weekend.