No. 4 Quinnipiac tames Huskies, brings home tenth Nutmeg Classic title


Cameron Levasseur

The Bobcats raise the Nutmeg Classic trophy for the tenth time in program history.

Cameron Levasseur, Sports Editor

HAMDEN, Conn – If there’s one thing Quinnipiac athletics has proved it can do this fall, it’s bringing home championships. 

The No. 4 Bobcats’ women’s ice hockey team (14-1-0) earned a gritty 1-0 victory over No. 15 UConn (11-7-2) to bring home the Nutmeg Classic title for the third consecutive tournament and tenth time in program history. 

“We’re incredibly proud of our team today,” Quinnipiac head coach Cass Turner said. “For us we want to win championships, and this is the first one. It’s nice to see our girls have that opportunity and take it home.”

It was deja vu for the Huskies, who also fell to the Bobcats in the 2021 title game, a 3-2 bout on their home ice in Storrs. 

“Congrats to Quinnipiac,” UConn head coach Chris Mackenzie said. “They retain the Nutmeg (for what) feels like 100 years in a row … hard fought game, I’m proud of our team, I thought we competed really well.”

Neither team wanted to play 5-on-5 hockey in the opening period, as the two sides combined for eight minutes in the sin bin, six of which belonged to the Bobcats. 

Ironically, the best scoring chance for either team in the frame came shorthanded. Quinnipiac junior forward Olivia Mobley caught a pass behind the Huskies defense and cut wide before threading the needle to graduate student forward Shay Maloney in front for a shot denied by UConn sophomore goaltender Tia Chan. 

The Hamilton, Ontario, native was solid in net for UConn all night, finishing the game with 20 saves. 

“She’s been a rock all year,” Mackenzie said. “She was outstanding … gives us a chance every night, we’re happy to have her.”

The second period brought fewer penalties, though the physical play that accompanies a championship atmosphere continued. 

UConn did a good job breaking into the Bobcats’ zone throughout the period, but struggled to get the puck past the host’s stout defensive play in the slot. Graduate student goaltender Logan Angers gave up several quality rebounds in the period, but Quinnipiac’s defense did well to clear the puck and prevent any second-chance opportunities. 

“I think that was the part of our game I was so proud of,” Turner said. “Our girls, they were just ready to get stick-on-stick, block shots when they needed to and to make those plays. We went into the third period saying ‘That’s what championship hockey is all about.’”

On one of those clearances, Angers shut the door on Huskies’ freshman forward Christina Walker before the puck found sophomore forward Maya Labad heading south. Labad turned defense into offense, cutting to the UConn net and putting the defenseman on her back as she fired the puck past Chan. 

It was Labad’s third goal of the weekend, as she scored the opening two in Quinnipiac’s tournament semifinal win over Bemidji State Friday.

That mark would prove to be game winner, as 20 minutes of hard fought, scoreless play in the third period sealed the shutout victory for the Bobcats. 

The shutout was the fourth of the season for Angers, who is putting together another stellar season after a 2021-22 campaign that saw her among the best in the nation statistically. 

“She’s calm,” Turner said. “She’s the type of goalie (that) when you play against them you have a lot of moments where you’re like ‘oh, ok. We have to do more.’”

Angers, alongside Maloney, senior forward Sadie Peart and junior defenseman Maddy Samoskevich, was named to the all-tournament team. 

Labad earned the tournament’s Most Outstanding Player award for her heroics, scoring three goals in two games, including both game winners.

Quinnipiac will hit the road next weekend for two ECAC Hockey matchups with Union and RPI in upstate New York. Both teams sit in the bottom four of the conference standings.