The Quinnipiac women’s hockey team’s 2-1 win over the Colgate Raiders pushed the Bobcats to a five-game unbeaten streak, their longest of the season. The streak isn’t a surprise to the Bobcats, who seem to have found the path to success.
“Confidence is key,” Quinnipiac head coach Cass Turner said. “They’re really believing in themselves. They’re believing in each other and you feel that in practice. You feel that on the bench. It’s the reason we’re executing at such a greater level. They believe that they’re a good team.”
After a scoreless first period, the Bobcats struck in the second. Quinnipiac junior forward Grace Markey redirected a slap shot between her legs from senior defenseman Kati Tabin, and the puck slipped past Raiders senior goaltender Liz Auby to put the Bobcats up 1-0.
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Markey’s success wasn’t just from the goal, as she also went 8-2 on faceoffs in a game in which the Bobcats dominated that stat category.
“I was really anticipating the ref dropping the puck today,” Markey said. “I think that was the biggest thing with that success.”
The Raiders responded later in the period when a scramble for the puck in front of the net led to Colgate freshman forward Sammy Smigliani getting a clean look at the goal and scoring to tie the game at 1-1. Her linemates, junior forward Malia Schneider and freshman Danelle Serdachny, assisted her on the goal.
Late in the third period, Quinnipiac sophomore forward Lexie Adzija began to pressure the Raiders. Auby stopped Adzija’s two scoring chances, but that didn’t discourage Adzija.
“I saw her face, and she’s mentally tough, and I knew if she got another chance she wasn’t gonna miss,” Turner said.
Turner was right.
A turnover in the neutral zone forced by Quinnipiac freshman forward Kenzie Hauswirth led to a deflected puck rolling in front of the net where Adzija was there to shoot it past the goaltender and give the Bobcats a 2-1 lead with just under four minutes remaining in the game.
“The first one I saw the corner and the goalie made a great save,” Adzija said. “For me it was just a momentum builder, and I think I came off it kind of just reflected and was like ‘OK you know it happened, you don’t score every one, and I need to score the next one.’”
The neutral zone aggression that created the scoring chance was a focal point throughout the game for the Bobcats. They maintained pressure in the attacking zone by creating turnovers in the neutral zone, preventing the Raiders from developing their attack.
“It was a big focus today in our pregame meeting how we were gonna pressure in the neutral zone because they’re such a fast team … ,” Turner said. “We wanted to be sure we were in good positions to turn them over or if they continued on that rush to be in good spots to backcheck and then be able to transition. Our team did a much better job of executing that today.”
The Raiders put the pressure on in the final minutes of the game, adding two more shots on goal, but it wasn’t enough as the Bobcats held onto the win and moved into fifth place in the ECAC Hockey standings
“I thought as a group we rebounded real well when they got their chances and continued to attack, Turner said. “It’s an exciting place for our team to be right now heading into Cornell tomorrow.”
Next up, the Bobcats will take on the No. 4 Cornell Big Red in Hamden. Last time these two teams met, the Bobcats fell to the Big Red 1-0 in a hard-fought battle. This time, with their confidence sky high, the Bobcats know they’re a different team.
“Cornell doesn’t know how we’ve been playing, and what we’ve done that last few months, Adzija said. “I think we’re really gonna take it to them.”