A 4-1 victory helps No. 9 Quinnipiac women’s hockey complete a regular-season sweep of rival No. 6 Yale

Milton Woolfenden, Staff Writer

Every team has games on its calendar it circles. Then there are games you circle, underline and highlight. The Bobcats’ Friday evening game vs. Yale who is currently ranked No. 6 in the nation was one of those games. When the horn sounded the Bobcats found themselves adding a tally in the win column by a final of 4-1. With this win, the Bobcats clinched home-ice advantage in the ECAC Hockey quarterfinals.

Yale got to work a mere 15 seconds into the period. Bulldogs junior forward Claire Dalton fired off a shot over Bobcats graduate student goaltender Corinne Schroeder’s left shoulder. Hockey players and fans alike will agree that the pipes can be a goalie’s worst enemy or their best friend. In this instance, it was a friend to the Bobcats as the shot deflected off the pipe and out of harm’s way.

The teams’ first shifts mainly consisted of play along the boards, with each side trying to feel each other out.

Just before the five-minute mark in the period sophomore forward Sophie Urban intercepted an errant Bulldogs pass. Urban passed the puck to fellow sophomore forward Olivia Mobley. Looking for an open teammate Mobley fed it to graduate student Renee Saltness in the slot. After securing the pass Saltness snapped a wrist shot past the left pad of Meloni.

“We’re playing our best hockey at the right time of year, so we’re excited as we move forward,” Bobcats head coach Cass Turner said.

Down one, the Bulldogs were out for blood. They ramped up their physicality and kept the Bobcats on their heels.

“They definitely have a solid forecheck,” Bobcats junior forward Jessica Schryver said. “But we did lots of drills in practice to prepare us to face that level of pressure.”

Three minutes after the goal from Saltness, Bulldogs freshman forward Anna Bargman fired a shot past the left shoulder pad of Schroeder, tying the game 1-1.

Off the ensuing faceoff, freshman defender Vita Ponitatovskia had a wrap-around shot that required Schroeder to stretch out to make a pad save.

Then, with just over four minutes left to play in the period, sophomore forward Nina Steigauf fired a slapshot toward the net. Sophomore defender Kendall Cooper deflected the shot which bounced under the glove of Meloni, putting the Bobcats back on top 2-1, an advantage they would take into the locker room.

It was a feeling of deja vu as once again the crossbar saw early action. Less than a minute into the second period senior forward Lexie Adzija had a slapshot ring off the top of the net.

Just under three minutes into the period, Konigson earned a penalty for cross-checking. Even though the Bobcats were on the penalty kill they dominated puck movement, keeping the Bulldogs on their heels.

“Yale has one of the best power plays in the country, so we had to stay disciplined,” Turner said. “We knew the more opportunities we gave them the odds of them scoring a goal increased.”

A little before the halfway mark in the period Bulldogs junior forward Rebecca Vanstone had a breakaway opportunity but Schroeder once again flashed the leather.

With two minutes left in the period, the Bobcats had a two-on-one as Steigauf passed to Schryver who rocketed it past Meloni’s glove, giving the Bobcats a 3-1 lead which they carried into the locker room.

“Honestly, I was shocked it went in,” Schryver said. “I just shot it hoping for the best and it went in.”

As the third period began it was evident in play style that the Bulldogs knew they were quickly running out of time. However, they weren’t helping themselves as eight minutes into the period junior defender Emma Seitz earned two minutes in the penalty box for tripping.

With just under five minutes to go the Bulldogs had their best scoring opportunities of the period as in the span of 21 seconds, they let off five shots, all blocked by Schroeder.

“Rebound control is one of the things I pride myself on,” Schroeder said.

The Bulldogs hoped for a late period miracle as with 2:51 remaining, they pulled Meloni. But it only took Bobcats sophomore forward Olivia Mobley 25 seconds to find the empty net, putting the Bobcats up 4-1.

The Bobcats close out the regular season on Saturday. Feb. 19, at home vs. Brown. The team then awaits for playoff seeds to be determined to see who its next opponent will be.