Gifting grades: The Chronicle sports team’s final assessment grades for the winter sports teams heading into the holidays

Women’s ice hockey: A+

What do a Tiger, Bulldog and an Engineer have in common? They’ve all lost to the Bobcats.

Through 18 games this season, the Quinnipiac women’s ice hockey team is 15-1-2 and was ranked No. 4 in the USCHO and USA Today polls. It’s the squad’s highest consensus ranking since the third week of the 2016-17 season.

The Bobcats’ well-rounded play keeps the train going. On the offensive end, a combined 43 points from their first line of forwards sophomore Olivia Mobley, senior Lexie Adzija and junior Jess Schryver has paved the way for Quinnipiac, leading it to sixth in the nation in goals for.

Defensively, the Bobcats have been just as solid, sitting in the same position for goals against while only allowing eight goals in their last nine games. The goaltending duo of graduate student Corinne Schroeder and senior Logan Angers has been excellent, with the former leading the nation in both goals against average and save percentage. Both combine to tally five shutouts on the season.

With No. 1 Wisconsin on the horizon in early January, Quinnipiac has a big test ahead of it. But if their play so far this season has been a sign of things to come, it is certainly up to the task. — Cameron Levasseur, associate sports editor

Women’s basketball: B+

Non-conference matchups are always a fun surprise. One day you’re playing the Indiana Hoosiers, who were No. 4 in the country at the time, and then a week later you’re dominating Hartford by nearly 50 points.

The Bobcats’ success has come from their 3-point shooting, which has just been ruthless. The team is shooting an absurd .410 from beyond the arc. The next best 3-point shooting team in the MAAC is Fairfield at .310. Junior guard Sajada Bonner (8 of 16), senior guard Amani Free (8 of 16), junior forward Cur’Tiera Haywood (9 of 19) and senior guard Rose Caverly (13 of 30) have led the shooting barrage.

Those numbers are so good it’s tempting to believe they’re not sustainable, but why shouldn’t they be? Chalk it up to some soft out-of-conference competition if you like, but this team’s offense was always going to be built on the 3-ball. It’s a fantastic sign to see the team working to its strengths this early in the season.

A record of 4-3 may be uninspiring to some. But this team is what it was supposed to be: well-rounded, deep and disciplined. Head coach Tricia Fabbri will want results soon, so an A grade is just out of reach, but the wins will come. — Riley Millette, sports editor

Men’s basketball: C

The Bobcats are an enigma. With a core that is primed for a tournament run, Quinnipiac is a team on paper that can run the table in the MAAC. 

Well, kind of. The Bobcats played competitively against a Maryland team that was No. 21 in the nation and then rattled off a three-game win streak, emphasized with a 50-point win over Western New England. The Bobcats proceeded to pull off a three-game stretch where they were outscored 225-189 by opponents and fell back down to under .500. 

The team’s 3-point shooting has been abysmal. Quinnipiac shot 27% against the Brown Bears on Nov. 28, and then followed that up by shooting less than 20% from beyond the arc against Saint Peter’s in the MAAC opener. 

There are some highlights from this squad, one being redshirt junior guard Matt Balanc. The Maryland native dropped 31 points against Manhattan last Sunday and now leads the team in points per game (16.3), en route to being the favorite for the MAAC’s Sixth Man of the Year Award. 

I expect the Bobcats to right the ship and find a way to be a top seed in the MAAC come playoff time. But for the time being, they just need to focus on the games ahead. — Ethan Hurwitz, associate sports editor

Men’s ice hockey: A+

During the first media day of the preseason, the theme mentioned most was to contend for a national championship.

Talk is cheap unless you go out and deliver. This Quinnipiac hockey team continues to roll, all the way up to the No. 2 ranking in this week’s USCHO poll. Now 16 games into the season with a record of 12-1-3 (5-0-1 ECAC), Quinnipiac’s only loss came against then-No. 6 North Dakota in a weekend where both teams split.

Quinnipiac’s main focus this year is defense, allowing the fewest goals (19) as well as the least goals per game (1.19). It helps that the Bobcats only give up 17 shots on goal against, which also leads the nation. This lockdown defense makes the goaltenders’ jobs easier.

On offense, the goals have come in spurts, but when your defense is this good, scoring three goals a game is enough to secure a win.

Quinnipiac’s focus has not and will not change. Winning the conference championship means nothing without a Frozen Four appearance. The Bobcats will rightfully fight for both and have the strength and ability to do so. — Peter Piekarski, sports editor