It’s that time of the year again. The Quinnipiac women’s ice hockey team ushered in the winter sports season with an exhibition against the Guelph Gryphons. The Bobcats handled the Gryphons with a 3-1 victory, in which they outshot Guelph 45-8.
The Bobcats played exceptionally well to start the game, outshooting Guelph 18-4 in the first period. However, Guelph goaltender Stephanie Nehring kept the Bobcats in check with 18 saves. Neither side would yield and the game was locked in a scoreless tie. Quinnipiac goalie Chelsea Laden made a diving save at the end of the first to keep the Gryphons off the board.
The deadlock would continue deep into the second period. With 2:25 remaining in the second, the Bobcats scored the first goal of the game when Nicole Connery scored a goal assisted by Olivia Brackett and Lindsey West.
Quinnipiac enjoyed a lead for all of eight seconds. Guelph would win the ensuing face-off and score on a Jenna Pinkerton shot with 2:17 remaining. After two periods the Bobcats took 29 shots, compared to eight by the Gryphons, yet only one goal to show for it.
The scoring would continue for Quinnipiac though, as penalties became an issue for Guelph. Morgan Fritz-Ward scored on a power play to give the Bobcats a 2-1 lead over Guelph 4:23 into the third period. Minutes later, Shiann Darkangelo would score on a 5-on-3 power play to increase the Quinnipiac lead to two. Cydney Roesler had the assist on both of goals.
The Bobcats’ defense and goaltenders continued their strong play, not allowing a single Guelph shot in the third period, and Quinnipiac held on for a 3-1 win.
It was a day of firsts for the Bobcats. The exhibition not only marked the first time the team took the ice during the 2013-14 season, but also the first time in school history the Bobcats faced the Guelph Gryphons.
It was also the first time on the ice at TD Bank Sports Center for the team’s freshmen. The defense in particular features several freshmen, including starter Taryn Baumgardt. Despite their inexperience the played wonderfully, holding Guelph to eight shots, and Quinnipiac head coach Rick Seeley was pleased.
“I think for our first exhibition game we looked great.” Seeley said. “I think this was Guelph’s fourth or fifth game so they’re battle tested. I think we held them to no shots in the third, and that’s no shots on two power plays. I thought the forecheck was good I thought our second effort was great, the back pressure was good. So overall I thought it was a really good effort.”
Shiann Darkangelo was another Bobcat making her first appearance at High Point Solutions Arena. In her first exhibition with Quinnipiac, the former Syracuse Orange had two points.
The women’s ice hockey team will open its season on the road with a two-game series against St. Cloud State on Oct. 4 and 5. On Oct. 11 it will return to TD Bank Sports Center for its home-opener against Penn State.