Labad scores twice as No. 4 Bobcats bulldoze Bemidji State


Cameron Levasseur

Quinnipiac women’s ice hockey has won 13 of its first 14 games this season.

Cameron Levasseur, Sports Editor

HAMDEN, Conn — Quinnipiac women’s ice hockey (13-1-0) earned a berth into Saturday’s Nutmeg Classic championship game with a dominant 5-0 victory over Bemidji State (3-13-1) in the tournament opener Friday afternoon. 

The Bobcats steamrolled the WCHA bottom feeders for 60 minutes, peppering Beavers’ junior goaltender Hannah Hogenson with 39 shots en route to the win.

Sophomore forward Maya Labad got the party started early. The Montreal, Quebec, native put home a rebound from senior forward Sadie Peart 17 seconds into the game and set the tone for the rest of the afternoon.

Bemidji State was simply outmatched in every facet against the tournament host, as the Bobcats’ skill, strength and speed completely overwhelmed the visitors. The Beavers lost the majority of puck races and were outmuscled in nearly every battle along the boards. 

When it did manage to gain possession, Bemidji State struggled to generate any offense north-to-south, being stood up in the neutral zone or skating into Bobcats’ bodies as they crossed the far blue line. Few of the Beavers’ eight first period shots were of any trouble to Quinnipiac junior netminder Catie Boudiette. 

Bemidji’s State’s turnover trouble would be highlighted early in the second period. Labad picked the pocket of Beavers’ junior forward Calli Forsberg before lobbing a puck on net that avoided the eyesight of Hogenson and found the back of the net. The tally was Labad’s second of the game and eighth of the season. 

“She just keeps getting better and better,” Quinnipiac head coach Cass Turner said. “Her speed is such an asset and I think her overall conditioning has gotten so much better from last year, so she can sustain that (play) at such a great level.”

The Bobcats would extend their lead to three just minutes later. Junior defenseman Maddy Samoskevich fed Peart from the opposite half wall, who tucked it short side as she flew into the end boards. 

Bemidji State had its best chance of the day in the middle frame, when freshman forward Raeley Carney found the puck unimpeded in the low slot after a Quinnipiac turnover. But the Alaskan fired the puck right into the bread basket of Boudiette and the Bobcats’ lead stood pat. 

Much like the first two periods, Quinnipiac got on the board early to start the third. Graduate student defenseman and co-captain Zoe Boyd cleaned up a loose puck off a net-front scramble for her second of the year and the Bobcats’ fourth of the game. 

Samoskevich added a goal of her own as the game wound down, catching a pass from Labad in the slot before firing a snapshot past the glove of Hogenson to close out the day’s scoring. 

“I’ve been working on my shot a lot this year, (especially) my shot from the slot area so I’m happy that I finally buried one,” Samoskevich said. 

The Beavers ramped up the physicality in the final ten minutes of the game, but it failed to translate on the scoreboard, as Bemidji State was shut out for the eighth time in 17 games this season. 

Boudiette earned her third shutout of the season for Quinnipiac in the win. She now holds an astounding .40 goals against average and .977 save percentage on the season, having only allowed two goals in five games played. 

“I feel really confident,” Boudiette said. “I think the team in front of me gives me a lot of confidence, I trust them, especially in our defensive zone.”

The Bobcats advance to face No. 15 UConn in the Nutmeg Classic title game at 6 p.m. tomorrow. If victorious, it will be Quinnipiac’s third consecutive and tenth championship in the tournament all-time.