Bobcats bid adieu to seniors

Doug Manners

The Quinnipiac women’s ice hockey team sent three seniors off with quite a bang this weekend. The team wrapped up its third season of varsity hockey by sweeping a home-and-home series with instate rival Sacred Heart to finish the 2003-04 campaign with a record of 11-21-2, a six-win improvement over last season.

Saturday afternoon’s 3-0 blanking of the Pioneers served as the perfect sendoff for seniors Debbie Beaudoin, Serena Hillman and Laura Magenheimer, who have all played three seasons at Quinnipiac and seen the program grow every year. The team went 5-25-2 last season, an improvement over its first-year record of 3-27-2.

Captain Debbie Beaudoin has provided the Bobcats with strong leadership skills and versatility. A native of Surry, British Columbia, she was the oldest player on the team this season at 24 years old and played both forward as well as defense. With 15 of the 22 players to suit-up for the Bobcats this year being a freshman or sophomore, Beaudoin’s strong work ethic on and off the ice set an example for the younger players to follow.

This season, Beaudoin finished with two goals and four assists for six points in 27 games played. In 85 career games with Quinnipiac, she collected 21 points on nine goals and 12 assists.

Hillman has been a clutch player for the Bobcats throughout her Quinnipiac career. This season, the Tsawwassen, British Columbia, native led the team in game-winning goals with two. She has scored the game-winner in five of the program’s 19 varsity wins. Her best memory was scoring the game-winning goal in a 1-0 win at Yale during the 2001-02 season. That victory marked the first road win in program history.

Hillman, who played two seasons at Wayne State University before coming to Quinnipiac, has recorded 14 points on five goals and nine assists in 32 games played this season. For her Quinnipiac career, Hillman finished with 28 points (13 goals, 15 assists) in 72 games played.

“It’s scary not knowing what you will be doing next year, but that’s also kind of exciting, and something I have been looking forward to,” Hillman said.

Magenheimer, like Beaudoin, has also seen time at both forward and defense for the Bobcats. During her first two seasons at Quinnipiac, she missed just one game. This season, Magenheimer has appeared in 27 games, tallying a goal and an assist.

A native of Westport, Conn., Magenheimer ranks third in all-time games played with 91. In her career at Quinnipiac, she has registered four goals and three assists for seven points.

The Bobcats wrapped up their season this past weekend by shellacking Sacred Heart. On Friday, the Bobcats routed the Pioneers, 7-1, in Milford. Freshman forward Vicky Graham, of Glen Riddle, Penn., tallied the only goal of the first period with her team-leading 14th goal of the season.

In the second stanza, the Bobcats blew the game wide open with five goals in a span of seven minutes. Sophomore Kathryn Dallimore, of Mississauga, Ontario, had a pair of goals while junior Caitlin Peters, of Minneapolis, Minn., sophomore Michelle Capazutto, of Bronx, N.Y., and sophomore Sarah Campbell, of Smithers, British Columbia each added one goal.

Sacred Heart scored their lone goal of the game in the third period before Quinnipiac sophomore Jamie Baer, of Ellington, Conn., capped the scoring with her second goal of the season. Freshman goalie Janelle Wolitski, of North Battleford, Sask., made 11 saves for the Bobcats, who outshot Sacred Heart, 55-12.

Saturday’s rematch was Senior Day for the Bobcats, and they came out flying in the first period, outshooting Sacred Heart in the first period, 32-1. But the Bobcats could not get on the scoreboard until the final seconds of the frame, when junior Gillian Gallagher, of Monteville, N.J., knocked in her own rebound while lying on the ice with 1.4 seconds remaining.

Peters put the Bobcats up 2-0 with 5:39 left in the second period, sneaking a shot inside the left post. In the third, Gallagher fired home a rebound while on the power play for her second goal of the game.

For the game, Quinnipiac outshot the Pioneers, 71-14, but Sacred Heart goalie Stephanie Boulay was sharp with a 68-save performance. Quinnipiac junior goaltender Catherine Lapare, of Valley Field, Quebec, turned aside 11 shots for her fourth shutout of the season.

Next season, the Bobcats will join the College Hockey America, joining Findlay, Mercyhurst, Niagara and Wayne State in the conference. The Bobcats have played the past two seasons as a Division I independent. In their inaugural season, Quinnipiac was a member of the ECAC East, but that league disbanded when several teams formed a Hockey East women’s league.

Quinnipiac played all four of their soon-to-be CHA rivals this season, posting an 0-9 record against those teams. But with a solid nucleus of players returning the next season, the Bobcats will be poised to improve upon their record for the fourth consecutive year.

“Our athletic department has put the necessary funding and support into this program that anything but [improving] would almost be unrealistic,” Hillman said.