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The Quinnipiac Chronicle

The Student News Site of Quinnipiac University

The Quinnipiac Chronicle

The Student News Site of Quinnipiac University

The Quinnipiac Chronicle

Quinnipiac women’s hockey to vie for fourth-straight Nutmeg Classic after beating UConn in semifinals

Freshman forward Kahlen Lamarche stick handles during a game against UConn on November 25, 2023.
Cat Murphy
Freshman forward Kahlen Lamarche stick handles during a game against UConn on November 25, 2023.

NEW HAVEN — A battle of wills. That’s how Quinnipiac women’s ice hockey managed to rally from a 2-1 deficit to top UConn 4-2 in Friday’s Nutmeg Classic semifinal game.

The Bobcats and Huskies may not be conference rivals, but there’s nothing quite like an in-state rivalry. Add in some championship zeal, and you’ve got yourself some high stakes hockey.

And with both teams ranked within the top 15 nationally, you couldn’t find a better matchup.

Both teams put over 30 shots on goal. Both teams won over 30 face-offs. Both teams played clean hockey — at least, mostly. And neither team dared give the other an inch.

“UConn’s a team that is very disciplined in how they play,” Bobcats head coach Cass Turner said. 

Quinnipiac graduate student winger Julia Nearis — filling in for junior forward Maya Labad on the second line — netted a goal midway through the back-and-forth first period to put the Bobcats up 1-0.

But Huskies graduate student defenders Claire Peterson and Camryn Wong potted two goals less than 60 seconds apart in the second frame to give UConn a 2-1 lead.

The small crowd in New Haven came alive.

And on any given day, a minute like that can be a morale-killer — but only if you let it.

Turner called a timeout. Her team gathered around her on the bench. 

What she said to them, we’ll never know. But 35 seconds later, Quinnipiac senior defender Kendall Cooper had her fourth goal of the season.

Once again, it was tied.

“It’s championship hockey,” Turner said.

And you could feel the electric energy in the arena.

But after giving Quinnipiac the lead in the first, Nearis was, fittingly, the one to put away the game in the third. 

Senior forward Nina Steigauf tipped in graduate student defender Kate Reilly’s shot a few minutes later to pad the lead.

UConn never scored again.

The No. 7/9 Bobcats will take on No. 13/12 Yale on Saturday in a Battle of Whitney Avenue-style championship showdown. Puck drops at 6 p.m. in New Haven.

“Having a great win today and coming back and playing a great team in Yale tomorrow, it’s exactly the practice that we want and need,” Turner said. “It’s the first championship we want to win (in) a string of championships this year, so it should be a pretty great day.”



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