NEW HAVEN, CT- The Quinnipiac Bobcats Women’s Ice Hockey team picked up their fifth straight win and their third straight Nutmeg Classic title Saturday night shutting out the Yale Bulldogs 3-0.
QU goaltender Sydney Rossman continued her shut out streak to 263:47 having not surrendered a goal since November 14th. She is less than 4 minutes off of the record set by her predecessor in the starting job, the Connecticut Whale’s Chelsea Laden.
Rossman wasn’t challenged much but saved all 15 of the shots she faced. Yale didn’t get that many fantastic chances and few breaks but they still sent a mix of attempts from close by and from afar. On the lone QU penalty, Yale teed up a shot through the screen but the keeper snagged it all the same exemplifying the night she was having.
After a back and forth first period where neither team notched anything on the score sheet, the second period went largely the same way. Quinnipiac was getting shots to no avail, and Yale, while not putting too many shots on net, was maneuvering in the zone quite a bit trying to set things up. T.T. Cianfarano, one of the nation’s leading scorers finally got the Bobcats on the board nearly 17 minutes into the frame with excellent skating followed by a shot launched over Hanna Mandl’s save attempt. The assists went to Melissa Samoskevich (her 11th) and Lindsey West on what is Cianfarano’s goal is her 15th on the season. Samoskevich and Cianfarano had been on the same line much of the year but were recently split, nonetheless the circumstances of game play gave them a chance to connect yet again that they did.
Yale came out swinging in the third period, trying to get the score even with their own determined efforts, but at 12:14 the puck was right in front of the net, chaos ensued, and Nicole Connery got it past Mandl to make it 2-0. Assists went to Emma Woods and Cianfarano as that line continues to be the most dangerous for the blue and gold.
The score would sit at 2-0 until late when Mandl was pulled with 3 minutes left for the extra skater. Cianfarano however blocked a shot then got the puck to a streaking Samoskevich who outpaced the defenders and carefully deposited the puck in the empty net for a 3-0 lead at 17:34.
Yale Coach Joakim Flygh considered his options and after play continued with Mandl back in net, he pulled her again for another 6 on 5 opportunity. While the chances of winning the game were remote, Rossman’s shutout streak was endangered. The Bulldogs to their credit didn’t quit and came up with some viable chances in and around the net but Rossman stood firm to preserve the shutout.
Coach Flygh had noted the day before that his team had taken too many penalties. This game was notable for the lack of all but one each. Yale’s lone infraction came as they tried to stop Cianfarano from another attack run. On the bright side for the Bulldogs, Mandl, who made 25 saves, and the defensive effort overall gave up fewer goals to the Bobcats than in either of their previous two meetings, which the team’s split. Neither goal given up would seem to be too shameful given Cianfarano has beaten almost every goaltender she’s faced, and a mess in front of the net is liable to produce a puck sliding through.
Quinnipiac is now 11-1-3 (5-1-2 in the ECAC) and Yale is 2-7-1. (1-2-1 ECAC). The Bobcats get Dartmouth and Harvard at home next weekend. Yale goes on the road to Rensselaer and Union.
Quinnipiac Coach Cassandra Turner had a lot of good things to say about the team’s result in her post game presser.
She noted the season is broken up into three “periods” and the team is currently in the second. This lead the team to set some goals including getting shutouts in exchange for reducing skating. Aside from the team’s motivations she noted Rossman is always looking for ways to keep the puck out of the net.
Coach Turner also mentioned on the power play the team is still working on it, and trying to get easier goals, rather than flashier ones.
Offensively among the leaders in attempts, Cianfarano put up 6 shots, Samoskevich 4 and Miranda Lantz each had 4, Nicole Kosta and West each had 3. For Yale, Phoebe Staenz had 4, Eden Murray 3, and Janelle Ferrara had 2 on net.
In the all important blocked shots area of defense, both sides put up some solid numbers. Quinnipiac blocked more shots than Rossman saved on the day with 16. West had 3, Samoskevich, Taryn Baumgardt, and Emma Greco had 2. Also, Shannon Cherpak, Alicia Barry, Randi Marcon, Meghan Turner, Kristen Tamberg, Nicole Brown, and Cianfarano had 1.
Yale for their part had 11 with Kate Martini blocking 3, Murray 2, and Kara Drexler, Ferrara, Jordan Chancellor, Taylor Marchin, Hanna Astrom, and Jamie Haddad adding 1 each.
Regarding the offensive efforts that didn’t produce points, numerous QU players got in on the action. Connery had had some looks early on, Samoskevich came up with a wrap around that ultimately didn’t succeed and Kosta and Brown broke in quickly though were unable to score. Cianfarano’s goal was just one of her many serious attempts. In one of these cases Tamberg took the rebound for a shot chance as well.
Lantz came up with the puck on the side and shot it though it was saved and West had several chances. Brown later fought her way past the defenders for a credible backhand though Mandl stopped it. Late in the game, Greco whacked a shot out of nowhere but Mandl got to it.
Turnovers & Defense:
Defensively, QU had numerous stops and positive turnovers on the day. These included when Turner intercepted a Yale centering pass and brought it out. She would do the same deeper into the game and start a QU scoring opportunity. As Yale moved around the net at one point, West broke up a shot and she would disrupt a centering pass later on.
Samoskevich ended a Yale possession and skated the puck out and Alicia Barry pushed a Bulldog break to the right and neutralized it. Cianfarano snatched the puck and brought it out despite being messed with by Yale’s Julia Yetman. Kosta intercepted a pass herself and it eventually lead to a QU scoring chance. Also, Lantz got in the way of a Yale pass and dispatched the puck out of the zone.
On the lone penalty of the game, Kosta as is her custom took the puck and rushed into the opposing zone keeping the defenders occupied and her team from having to fight the power play. Eventually the Bulldogs recovered for an offensive effort, though West cleared it, and after that she blocked a shot and cleared it again.
Yale being shutout was not due to a lack of trying. Staenz moved in on the net numerous times as well as launched a long range effort. Yetman had a couple long shots and Mallory Souliotis tried to set up her own rebound after one try. Later she came from the side but was stopped all the same.
Ferrara entered the zone despite Woods hounding her for a chance. Marchin sent a well placed shot through the screen though Rossman saw it, and Monaghan got in very close but the goaltender slid to deal with the threat.
Turnovers & Defense:
The Bulldogs did a lot to get in the way of the powerful Quinnipiac offense. Early on Drexler broke up a QU breakaway and would later stop an opponent’s entry. While in deep a pass interception on her part stopped another Quinnipiac setup too. Souliotis cleared the puck from the goalmouth during a QU drive, and she would repeat such a move later on. Marchin flummoxed a QU entry into the zone and set up a Yale return plus Yetman also ended a drive before it began by intercepting a pass. Pensavalle also grabbed an errant QU pass in her zone to shut down the Bobcat plan.
Ferrara also intercepted a puck to get it out and dump it in. She would much later steal it from Cianfarano preventing another QU opportunity. At a different point Quinnipiac had been moving the puck around in the Yale zone a lot before Staenz recovered it and got it out. During another Quinnipiac swarm, Murray whacked it out of the goalmouth temporarily. Also and critically, with the puck sliding around the front of the net, Mandl was drawn to one side, but Ariana DePinto filled the void in the rest of the net and hit it away.
Yale’s penalty kill was especially effective during their one PK. Yetman cleared it, then Ferrara intercepted and cleared it as well. The Bulldogs kept QU out of the zone for awhile, and after Mandl made a save on Cianfarano, Haddad skated the puck out for a short handed try which lead to a faceoff back in the Bobcat area. After Yale won it, Yetman launched a shot.