No. 7 Quinnipiac maintains early season momentum, shuts out New Hampshire 2-0

Milton Woolfenden, Staff Writer

HAMDEN, Conn – On Sunday afternoon the Quinnipiac women’s ice hockey team remained undefeated in this early season, shutting out the University of New Hampshire 2-0.

The Wildcats are one of the few non-ECAC teams Quinnipiac struggles against, having a 4-10-1 all-time record, with its last win coming back in 2018.

The game got off to a fast start, as fans weren’t even in their seats before Bobcats sophomore forward Maya Labad had a breakaway after blocking a Wildcats shot.

However, as Labad let the shot go, Wildcats graduate student captain goaltender Ava Boutilier flashed the leather, ending the scoring threat.

Early in the period, the Bobcats’ defense was on point, not giving UNH any offensive opportunities. The Wildcats’ first shot on goal wouldn’t come until six minutes into the period.

With just over six minutes left in the period Wildcats sophomore forward Kira Juodikis was assessed a minor penalty for elbowing, handing the Bobcats a power play opportunity.

Even though Quinnipiac has struggled on the power play so far this season, it only took 24 seconds for graduate student captain forward Lexie Adzija to deflect a pass from junior forward Olivia Mobley right through the five-hole of Boutilier, giving the Bobcats the early 1-0 lead.

“She (Mobley) is one of our hardest workers,” Bobcats head coach Cass Turner said. “She wants to have fun … having fun to her is making plays and creating offense”.

At the first intermission, it was clear that momentum was on the Bobcats’ side, leading 1-0 on the scoreboard and 15-2 for shots on goal.

Just over two minutes into the second period, freshman phenom Madison Chantler found herself at the face-off dot open for a pass.

Off a dish from Mobley, Chantler wristed home her team-leading fourth goal of the season, widening the lead to two.

“She’s further ahead than most, in terms of her understanding of how to win pucks back as well as decision-making when she has the puck,” Turner said.

While they say a two-goal lead is the most dangerous in hockey after Chantler’s goal, the Wildcats were just trying to do damage control as the Bobcats continued to dominate possession.

On the rare occasion that UNH was able to gain possession, they were mainly relying on dump and chase hockey.

Even as she continued to be assaulted with shots, Boutilier turned into a wall following Chantler’s goal, stopping the next 24 Bobcat shots.

One of Boutilier’s more memorable saves came in the dying seconds of the period on a wrap-around shot by Mobley that required her to stretch out, barely getting enough of the puck.

As the third period started, physicality from both sides ramped up, with neither being able to keep sustained offensive zone pressure.

“We battled it out in the third,” Turner said. “UNH definitely came out and was ready to challenge us and we pushed back”.

The Wildcats’ best scoring chance of the entire game came with 12 minutes remaining on the clock.

After a strong lead pass that caught the Bobcats’ defense sleeping, it was Juodikis trying to make up for her earlier penalty.

With open ice in front of her, Joudikis fired a shot toward the top right corner of the net, but Bobcats sophomore goaltender Catie Boudiette flashed the leather, keeping the Wildcats off the board.

“I just stayed focused on the puck and was able to get my glove up to make the save,” Boudiette said.

After Boudiette’s save you could see that the Wildcats were running out of gas. Players delivered inconsistent passes, and from their body language, you could tell they were frustrated with how the game was going.

Trying to avoid a shutout, the Wildcats’ coaching staff pulled Boutilier with two minutes left in the game. As soon as the Wildcats got the extra skater on the ice the Bobcats struggled for possession for the first time all night.

However, after two minutes of having the Bobcats on their heels, the horn sounded and the Bobcats moved to 4-0 on the season while Boudiette earned her second shutout of the campaign.

Next for the Bobcats is a home and home series with St. Anselm that sees the team on the road on Friday, Oct. 7, then back home on Saturday, Oct. 8.