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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

Dynamic goaltending fuels Quinnipiac’s fourth-straight Nutmeg Classic title

Quinnipiac+womens+ice+hockey+claimed+its+11th+Nutmeg+Classic+tournament+title+with+wins+over+UConn+and+Yale+on+Nov.+24+and+25.
Cat Murphy
Quinnipiac women’s ice hockey claimed its 11th Nutmeg Classic tournament title with wins over UConn and Yale on Nov. 24 and 25.

NEW HAVEN — It all ended with a hug. 

Quinnipiac sophomore goaltender Tatum Blacker was the first Bobcat off the bench as the game clock hit double zeros and the final buzzer sounded in Ingalls Rink in New Haven Saturday night. 

Her first stop: Logan Angers. 

Blacker barreled toward the graduate student goaltender, who skated to meet her halfway between the bench and the net — a net Angers hadn’t let a puck see the back of all night. 

With their arms straight up in the air in celebration and awe, the two stopped for just a split-second to take it all in. The moment. The game. The shutout. The tournament. 

The two then collided into a mesh of goalie pads, embracing for a few seconds before 20 other Bobcats formed a pile of players around the 6-foot, sixth-year goaltender. 

The massive old-fashioned scoreboard above their heads explained it all: Quinnipiac: 3, Yale: 0. 

“Normally, she’s the one running to get the puck,” Angers said of Blacker. “But today, she was so excited that she got to come down and hug me first, so that was pretty awesome. We have a great relationship.” 

The goalie hug marked the culmination of the 2023 Nutmeg Classic Tournament — and just like in each of the three tournaments before it, Quinnipiac women’s ice hockey ended the series with a shiny silver trophy to show for it. 

Quinnipiac women’s ice hockey goaltenders Tatum Blacker (left) and Logan Angers hug after the Bobcats’ 3-0 shutout over Yale on Nov. 25. (Cat Murphy)

It didn’t come easily. It took a come-from-behind win over UConn in the semifinal game and a hard-fought victory over Yale in the championship. But in the end, the Bobcats battled hard enough to take the trophy home to Hamden once again. 

It may not be the NCAA Tournament, but the Nutmeg Classic Tournament holds a special place in Quinnipiac women’s ice hockey’s heart. 

“We take a lot of pride in the Nutmeg,” head coach Cass Turner said after her team’s fourth-consecutive tournament victory. “It’s a lot of fun and nice to see our group win it again.” 

The team’s immense pride in the annual tournament became immediately clear when the trophy arrived rink-side. Graduate student captains Sadie Peart and Kate Reilly tossed their gloves and sticks to the ice, hoisting the cup above their heads before being swallowed whole by a rowdy mess of navy and gold. 

It was a Battle of Whitney Avenue-style Nutmeg Classic final — just like in 2019, the year Quinnipiac’s win streak started. 

But the team that took the ice on Friday and Saturday was far from the same team that took the ice back then. Only four current Bobcats were even there to witness the 2019 tournament win: Angers, Peart, Reilly and graduate student forward Alexa Hoskin. 

And while Angers may not have played in that Nutmeg Classic, she certainly made her mark in this one. 

The netminder — whose 68 total saves and unmatched goalie gymnastics carried the Bobcats through the weekend — was the tournament’s MVP for the second straight year. 

“I’m just taking it one puck at a time,” Angers said. “I usually try to stay pretty stress-free, but we all really wanted to win this Nutmeg.” 

For Angers, though, this victory is likely bittersweet. The season is far from over, yes. But this Nutmeg Classic was the Winnipeg, Manitoba, native’s last.

Despite donning a Quinnipiac jersey for the past six seasons, Angers earned her first tournament start just two years ago, also against Yale.

But Angers wasn’t the only Bobcat to make a name for herself on Nutmeg weekend.

Steigauf’s goal against Yale was her second of the tournament. Graduate student forward Julia Nearis and senior defender Kendall Cooper also notched two goals on the weekend, with Reilly and Cooper recording four points apiece.

Although Quinnipiac kicked off its season as one of the cleanest teams in the ECAC, the team has struggled immensely with penalties since late October.

Case in point, seven different Bobcats saw the sin bin over the weekend. And yet, Quinnipiac’s penalty-kill squad — tied for eighth in the nation — never once allowed UConn or Yale to benefit from the 5-on-4 advantage.

And though Yale hosted the tournament, Quinnipiac fans turned out in droves to support the team.

The Bobcats faithful lined New Haven’s Ingalls Rink on both Friday and Saturday, their goal celebrations and “Let’s go Bobcats!” chants filling the 3,500-seat arena.

After Steigauf’s empty-netter, for example, a man jumped up and screamed, “That’s my sister-in-law!”

Quinnipiac President Judy Olian also attended the championship game, even joining the Bobcats for the on-ice celebration once the team initiated a “Judy! Judy! Judy!” chant.

It was quite the cat-and-dog fight for Quinnipiac — literally. But neither the Huskies nor the Bulldogs could manage to end the Bobcats’ reign.

For Turner, going home after watching her team snatching the trophy again was nothing less than “outstanding,” she said.

It was the 11th time in the tournament’s 20-year history — and the sixth time in Turner’s nine-year coaching career at Quinnipiac — that the Bobcats earned a spot on the trophy’s silver nameplate.

“(The Nutmeg Classic) is exactly the practice that we want and need,” Turner said. “For us, it’s about taking pride in the process that is going to get us the actual results, winning games and continuing to get better.” 

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Alexandra Martinakova, News Editor
Cat Murphy, News Editor

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