Women’s Hockey learning what it takes in Division I

One of Quinnipiac University’s newest Division I sports, Women’s Ice Hockey, spent much of the long winter break on their skates. The team played six games over the break, two on the road, and four on their home ice at the Northford Ice Pavilion.
The team’s Assistant Coach, Paul Nemetz-Carlson compared being at Quinnipiac over the winter break to hockey camp. “Everyone’s here to play hockey and hangout,” he said. “School’s a lot of fun when there aren’t things like classes and loads of homework taking up tons of time.”
The first game of the break was right before the New Year on Dec. 30, up in Burlington, VT. The Quinnipiac women led most of the game, and went into the third period with a 2-0 lead, with goals by freshmen Hilary Bulger and Gillian Gallagher (Boonton, NJ). Vermont managed to rally back and score two goals to tie the game and take it into overtime. The overtime was scoreless, and the game remained a 2-2 tie. Quinnipiac had 44 shots, and QU goaltender junior Mel Courtemanche had ten saves for the tie.
Returning to play at Northford on Jan. 4, the Quinnipiac Women suffered an 8-0 loss against the University of New Hampshire. The UNH women started out and finished strong scoring three goals in both the first and third periods, and two in the second. Quinnipiac goaltenders Courtemanche and freshman Catherine Lapare had a combined 40 saves. The next afternoon Quinnipiac played Boston College again on their home ice. Courtemanche stopped 23 of Boston’s 25 shots, letting in one goal at the 15:34 mark of the second period and a second off an unfavorable bounce early in the third period. None of Quinnipiac’s 18 shots made it into the net and Boston walked away with the 2-0 win.
On Jan. 9, Quinnipiac traveled to Providence, RI to take on Brown University. Again, the Quinnipiac goaltenders had a busy night trying to keep the puck out of the net. Courtemanche and Lapare shared the time between the pipes letting in only six goals out of the 75 shots that came their way. Quinnipiac’s only goal came from junior, Liz Jankowski with just over four minutes left in the game, making the final score 6-1.
Quinnipiac fell to another Rhode Island team, Providence College, a few nights later on Jan. 12. Courtemanche stopped fifty shots in the 7-1 loss and out of QU’s four shots, only freshman Ashley Berglund’s found the back of the net. The Quinnipiac women came out strong a few nights later on Jan. 16 against the UCONN Huskies, but unfortunately were unable to keep up the effort as the Huskies skated away with a 5-1 win.
“We dominated UCONN in the first period,” said Assistant Coach Nemetz-Carlson. “There is a clear indication that things are going in the right direction.” Courtemanche saved 27 of the shots sent her way, and freshman Caitlin Peters had QU’s only goal of the game.
“We’re all learning what it takes to be successful at the Division I level,” said Nemetz-Carlson. “And everyday we’re showing more and more signs that we’re getting it.”
The first weekend after the rest of the student body returned to Quinnipiac and classes started, the Women’s Ice Hockey team headed to Orono, Maine to play a two game series against the University of Maine. Gallagher had QU’s only goal of Friday night’s game during the second period, making the score 2-1. Maine rallied in the third period and came out on top with a 7-1 victory. Saturday night, Maine came out strong scoring three goals in the first period and four in the second. Bulger put Quinnipiac up on the scoreboard with a goal early in the second period, and in the third Jayne Riley and Jankowski each put a shot in the back of the net. Maine netted one more goal before the end of the game giving them an 8-3 win.
The Women’s Ice Hockey team returns to action at home (at the Northford Ice Pavilion) against Providence on Feb. 8 at 7pm.