Clarkson comes out victorious over Quinnipiac women’s hockey in third-period shootout

Cameron Levasseur, Associate Sports Editor

The Bobcats fall to 15-3-3 on the season after 3-2 loss to Clarkson. (Alex Bayer)

Kicking off the new year with a competitive but winless series against No. 1 Wisconsin left Quinnipiac women’s ice hockey seeking victory heading into Saturday’s contest with No. 9 Clarkson. But as the horn sounded to signal the end of 60 minutes, the Bobcats found themselves on the wrong side of a 3-2 loss. 

The two ECAC Hockey powerhouses came into the game separated by half a point in the conference standings. However, in the wake of today’s loss, Quinnipiac now sits decidedly in second with a game in hand. 

From the opening puck drop, the contest looked like the typical low scoring affair that has defined Quinnipiac and Clarkson matchups in the past. Neither side was aggressive offensively in the game’s opening minutes, looking to get a feel for their opponent in the teams’ first meeting since January of last year.

The game started to open up near the midway point of the opening frame, but Quinnipiac couldn’t convert on numerous second-chance opportunities to put a goal on the board. The biggest of these came in the period’s dying minutes. First-year winger Ann-Frédérik Naud put a shot on net from the left side that ricocheted off the pad of sophomore goaltender Michelle Pasiechnyk and then the skate of a Clarkson defenseman before bouncing back in front. The trailing Bobcats tried to slam it home, but the Golden Knights were quicker and thus the game remained even.

It remained scoreless until halfway through the second period when a blue-line turnover sprung a two-on-one for Clarkson graduate student centerman Caitrin Lonergan and junior winger Gabrielle David, the two most dangerous players in the ECAC. 

Lonergan, the conference’s leading point scorer, beat the outstretched stick of the Quinnipiac defenseman to feed David, the league’s top goalscorer, who out-deked graduate student goaltender Corinne Schroeder and tucked the puck into an open net. 

The assist for Lonergan allowed her to reach 200 collegiate points in her sixth year at the Division I level, spending the first three under head coach Katie King-Crowley at Boston College. 

While both sides created chances following David’s opening goal, including a shot by Lonergan that rang off the iron, the game remained 1-0 Clarkson heading into the final 20.

The score would not stay stagnant for much longer however, as the opening seven minutes of the third period can only be described as pure mayhem. 

Just 90 seconds into the period, a neutral zone turnover by the Bobcats allowed freshman winger Laurence Frenette to put a booming slapshot on Schroeder, who coughed up a massive rebound onto the waiting stick of sophomore Florence Lessard in the high slot. Lessard beat the Manitoba native on the second-chance shot, earning her first career NCAA goal in 40 appearances. 

Less than a minute later, another costly turnover brought Clarkson’s lead back to one. Lonergan, trying to make a breakout pass, delivered a meatball right on the stick of Quinnipiac sophomore winger Nina Steigauf, who drilled the puck past Pasiechnyk as a sign of thanks. 

Shortly thereafter the Golden Knights grabbed their lead right back, as sophomore defenseman Nicole Gosling gathered the puck above the left circle following a faceoff win and rifled a shot top cheddar. 

Both teams generated great opportunities in the opening possessions after Gosling’s goal, but they were met with better goaltending. Schroeder and Pasiechnyk both rank tops in the NCAA in goals against average — third for Schroeder, fifth for Pasiechnyk — and save percentage — second and 11th — this season. 

The scoring wasn’t over yet though, as the Bobcats once again cut into the two-goal lead. First-year winger Maya Labad found senior centerman Lexie Adzija uncovered in the low slot, resulting in the first liner’s fifth goal of the 2021-22 campaign. 

It’s a popular saying that a two-goal lead is the most dangerous in hockey. Quinnipiac threatened to prove that statement once again Saturday afternoon, but fell just short. The Bobcats went on the power play with the goalie pulled and 30 seconds left on the clock to make some magic, but an errant shot from the right dot missed the Clarkson net and rimmed out of the zone, allowing time to expire of this thriller of a game. 

With the loss, the Bobcats fall to 15-3-3 on the season ahead of a road trip to New York to face RPI and Union next weekend. They face the Golden Knights a second time in Potsdam on Feb. 4.