There’s a reason why ECAC-rival Cornell is ranked second nationally, and Quinnipiac saw it on Friday night. The Bobcats opened conference play with a home loss against the Big Red, 5-1.
“There’s no question Cornell is the cream of the crop in our conference,” Quinnipiac head coach Rick Seeley said. “They force you to make mistakes with their skill level, so I thought it was good for our young kids to see how good our conference is.”
Cornell freshman Jessica Campbell scored twice and junior Chelsea Karpenko registered a goal and an assist for the Big Red.
The Bobcats scored the first goal of the game 16:08 into the first period when junior Kate Wheeler scored her sixth goal of the season from right outside the crease. Wheeler took the puck from freshmen Kelly Babstock and Shelby Wignall and shot it into the top left corner of the net behind Cornell goaltender Amanda Mazzotta.
“It was late in the period and I thought it was great,” Seeley said. “Our objective was to come out of the first period in a 0-0 tie; I thought they might be a little frustrated because they’ve struggled with us over the past few years.”
Then the Big Red took over.
Bethany Dymarczyk was called for a tripping penalty at 16:35 and then Babstock was also called for one shortly after, giving Cornell a five-on-three power play advantage.
Cornell capitalized quickly.
After sophomore goaltender Victoria Vigilanti stopped Karpenko’s shot, Rebecca Johnston sent the puck past Vigilanti just 12 seconds after Babstock’s penalty was enforced, 17:44 in the game.
Check out QU Athletics’ photos from the game
With the power play still intact, the Big Red scored again 68 seconds later when Laura Fortino took a pass from Lauriane Rougeau and shot it for her first goal of the season that gave Cornell a lead it would not relinquish.
“Well she (Babstock) is one of our penalty-killers but the second penalty I thought was a questionable call on Kelly,” Seeley said of Babstock’s tripping penalty. “But once it’s done, it’s done. Then you expect other penalty-killers to do their job too. I thought it was a huge swing in the game.”
Campbell scored the first of her two goals 6:09 into the second when her shot trickled over Vigilanti’s shoulder and into the net. Johnston and Brianne Jenner assisted on the play.
“For them to get another [goal] early in the second made it tough for us,” Seeley said.
Karpenko scored the fourth goal late in the second period off an Amanda Young pass. Campbell’s second goal came late in the third when Young and Karlee Overguard assisted.
Vigilanti stopped 39 saves for Quinnipiac (5-2-1, 0-1-0 ECAC), but the five goals she allowed were a career-high for the sophomore. Mazzotta saved 24 shots in the conference opener.
Cornell (3-0-0, 1-0-0 ECAC) outshot the Bobcats 44-25 in their winning effort.
“We had great spots where we worked really hard, and we had other spots when we broke down and Cornell capitalized,” Seeley said.
There is no time to recuperate for the Bobcats, as their next game is against conference-rival Colgate Saturday afternoon at 4 p.m.
“If we do what we did for the first period I think we’ll be fine,” Seeley said.