Hockey season is rapidly approaching and for the Quinnipiac women’s ice hockey team, expectations are high as the Bobcats were ranked No. 9 in the USCHO.com preseason poll.
[media-credit id=2132 align=”alignright” width=”300″][/media-credit]The Bobcats got the ball rolling on Sunday with an exhibition game against Concordia College, the first ever meeting between these two teams. Special teams proved to be a major factor throughout the game as Quinnipiac scored all three of its goals on the power play, while Concordia added a power play goal of its own as well one shorthanded marker.
Despite back-and-forth play, the game ended in a 3-3 tie.
It was a slow start for the Bobcats as they went down 2-0 in the first period. Concordia forward Claudia Dubois opened up the scoring for the Stingers when she pounced on a loose puck at center ice and went in all alone to bury a shorthanded goal. On the breakaway, Dubois ripped a shot top-shelf past Quinnipiac sophomore goalie Abbie Ives.
Concordia added another goal late in the period. This time it was on the power play as defenseman Brigitte Laganiere fired a wrist shot through traffic, putting Quinnipiac down 2-0 with just 2.7 seconds left in the period.
Although the Bobcats started off slowly, Quinnipiac head coach Cass Turner knows how difficult it is to get back into the swing of things in the season’s first game.
“I’ve been doing this for a long time and whether you are a returner or a new player, when you put that jersey on for the first time there is a little bit of a hesitation,” Turner said. “I think that we just needed to get our confidence going and get the puck on our stick more.”
Already playing in seven games before its meeting with Quinnipiac, Concordia had more game experience so far this season, but that did not stop the Bobcats from getting back in the game. Sophomore forward Sarah-Eve Coutu-Godbout capitalized on a rebound opportunity, converting on Quinnipiac’s second power play of the game at 15:01. Quinnipiac appeared energized by the goal as they continued to pressure the Stingers, who struggled to gain zone time for the majority of the second period.
The third period opened up with a series of power plays and the Bobcats took advantage of both.
Coutu-Godbout added her second goal of the game early in the third on a one-timer set up by junior captain Melissa Samoskevich. Shortly after, Samoskevich added another power play point later in the period when senior assistant captain T.T. Cianfarano tipped in Samoskevich’s wrist shot from the top of the circle.
[media-credit id=2132 align=”alignright” width=”194″][/media-credit]Samoskevich says the trio of Eve Coutu-Godbout, Cianfarano and herself show a lot of promise after their first game together.
“It’s definitely fun playing with her (Eve Coutu-Godbout) and T.T.,” Samoskevich said. “We talk and the pace is just crazy. It’s a lot of fun.”
Although Quinnipiac came out flying in the third, Concordia was able to knot the game up at three apiece.
After sustaining pressure from Quinnipiac in the defensive zone, forward Marie-Pascale Bernier came through with the goal for the Stingers.
The game went into overtime, but neither team was able to finish their chances, ending the game in a 3-3 tie.
While winning is the goal for every team, Turner notes that exhibition games are more about getting the team up to speed and ready for the first test of the season.
“We really were looking for starting to build as a team, and starting to come together as a team,” Turner said. “We were at our best today when we were noticing what was going on with other groups on the ice and were ready to build on those plays.”
Next up, the Bobcats open up the regular season on Sept. 29 on the road against the University of Maine.