Quinnipiac women’s ice hockey shows speed and solid defense, beats UConn 3-1

Benjamin Yeargin, Contributing Writer

Starting off the 2021-22 campaign with a bang, Quinnipiac secured an exhibition win by beating the UConn Huskies 3-1.

Energy radiated throughout the People’s United Center from both sides as players were lined along the bench banging their sticks on the ice and cheering for their teammates to start the game. Fans were finally welcome back at the arena for the first time since March 2020.

Though it was an exhibition game, the energy around the ice and among the players made it seem like the regular season.

Quinnipiac women’s ice hockey beat UConn 3-1 in its first and only exhibition game of the 2021-22 season. (Connor Lawless)

“Going into the game, we didn’t view it as an exhibition game …” sophomore defenseman Kendall Cooper said. “We wanted to play the best hockey we possibly can … no matter what type of game we’re playing we are always going to play with that.”

Quinnipiac dressed 22 players instead of the normal 18 compared to the 20 that UConn decided to dress. Quinnipiac decided to play four lines every period in order for every player to get some time on the ice.

“It was a good opportunity to see some people get some more experience which is just so important,” said Cass Turner, Quinnipiac women’s ice hockey coach.

Both teams started off by exchanging shots with one another. Quinnipiac sophomore goaltender Catie Boudiette made an excellent save on a breakaway shot from UConn junior center Natalie Snodgrass just under four minutes into the game.

Scoring began halfway through the first period as UConn graduate student left winger Morgan Wabick deflected sophomore defenseman Alex-Anne Boyer’s pass into the net for an early 1-0 lead. Junior right winger Coryn Tormala was also credited with an assist.

Quinnipiac responded not even two minutes later with a wrist shot by Cooper just above the right dot of its offensive zone. She was assisted by sophomore forward Nina Steigauf and junior forward Sadie Peart.

Quinnipiac outshot UConn in the first period 20-12. The Bobcats also earned more shots on target by a margin of 11-7.

Defense stepped up for both sides as goals were stagnant in the second period. Many passes were bounced around and 25 total shots were taken, 12 for the Huskies and 13 for the Bobcats. None found their way to the back of the net, ending the second period with a 1-1 score.

In the third period, UConn tallied more shots than Quinnipiac, topping the Bobcats 15-10 in total shots, and 7-6 in shots on target, but the whole story cannot be told solely by statistics.

Around 12 minutes into the third period, graduate student defenseman Olivia Konigson drilled a goal top shelf on UConn freshman goalie Megan Warrener, making the score 2-1. Freshman forward Maya Labad and sophomore forward Olivia Mobley assisted Konigson.

The Bobcats will begin their season on Friday, Sept. 24 against Maine. (Connor Lawless)

Defense shined again in this period for the Bobcats with a key block by senior defenseman Zoe Boyd and an even more crucial save by graduate student goaltender Corinne Schroeder with under five minutes to go.

With a little over a minute and a half left in the game, Labad scorched a shot over the left shoulder of Warrener to extend the lead to 3-1 for Quinnipiac. Labad earned her first goal in her young collegiate career, assisted by freshman forward Ann-Frédérik Naud and sophomore defenseman Maddy Samoskevich.

This team had “only nine opportunities to skate,” Turner said, which led to some bumps in the road in this game.

One of Quinnipiac’s weaknesses displayed throughout the game was its inability to convert on the power play. The Bobcats had two opportunities, one in the first period and one in the second, yet were only able to execute one shot total.

Looking forward, Turner hopes to utilize the depth of this team and its pure skate speed that was shown today.

“When we can put those two together I’m excited for how fast this hockey team can be,” Turner said.

Quinnipiac will begin its regular season on Friday, Sept. 24 as it welcomes Maine in the Frank Perotti Jr. Arena at 6 p.m.