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Bobcats edge Saints 6-4 in thriller
By Kevin Noonan, QBSN Staff Writer
Junior Erica Uden Johansson (Sundsvall, Sweden) wristed the game-winning power-play goal over the blocker of St. Lawrence goaltender Carmen MacDonald as the Bobcats came with the high energy 6-4 victory.
Uden Johansson streaked through the neutral zone and picked up the puck off the skate of St. Lawrence defender. Skating into the left faceoff circle, she wristed a shot over the left blocker to record her second power-play goal in as many games.
Quinnipiac (7-5-2, 4-3-1 ECAC) and St. Lawrence (7-6-0, 5-1-0 ECAC) combined for five third-period goals, including a 3-2 Quinnipiac edge to pick up the conference win.
“We needed a win, we needed a conference win, and we match up well with St. Lawrence,” head coach Rick Seeley said. “Over the last three or four years, we’ve got an exceptional record against them so our team knows that they can do well against them. To respond the way they did in the third, that’s a great step for us.
Senior Breann Frykas (East St. Paul, Manitoba) tied the game in the third period when she received a pass from fellow senior Brittany Lyons (Canton, Mass.) behind the Saints’ goal. Frykas skated around the right side of the goal and backhanded a shot on goal. It was deflected off the pad of MacDonald and lit the lamp to tie the game at four.
A minute after Uden Johansson’s game winner, freshman Nicole Connery (Newmarket, Ontario) extended the Bobcats lead to 6-4 and solidified the victory with her second goal of the game. Lyons passed the puck to Connery in the neutral zone where they had a two on one. Inside the left faceoff circle, Connery skated in and wristed a shot over the left blocker of MacDonald for the goal.
The Bobcats had to overcome three separate one-goal blown leads to beat the Saints who came into the game with a seven game winning streak despite outshooting the Saints 34-28.
“I was really proud of how they responded after giving up that one goal lead, then giving up two and basically the first minute and a half of the third. And then they took control of the rest of the game, that was a great response to that,” Seeley said.
Junior Kelly Babstock (Mississauga, Ontario) got the scoring started in the first period as she leaked out on the right side of the ice, receiving a pass from sophomore Nicole Kosta (Mississauga, Ontario). Babstock skated into the faceoff circle where she wristed a shot over the glove of MacDonald to give Quinnipiac a 1-0 lead.
About seven minutes later, St. Lawrence tied the game with Jenna Marks’s third goal in two games. Kelly Sabatine ripped a shot off the mask of senior goaltender Victoria Vigilanti (Woodbridge, Ontario), where it rebounded out. Marks corralled the rebound and sent it home for the Saints.
Vigilanti finished the day with 24 saves on 28 shots while MacDonald finished with 28 saves on 34 shots for the Saints.
The Bobcats responded 24 seconds later when freshman Nicole Brown (Oshawa, Ontario) tipped home the shot from sophomore Morgan Fritz-Ward (Mason City, Iowa). Senior Kristen Eklund (Barrington, R.I.) passed it to Fritz-Ward, wristed a shot that was tipped into the back of the net by Brown to give Quinnipiac a 2-1 lead.
That lead didn’t last long for Quinnipiac as St. Lawrence answered back early in the second period to even the game at two. Kelly Sabatine picked up the third rebound on a trio of shots from the Saints before finally tucking one past the sliding Vigilanti.
Connery regained the lead for the Bobcats on a great hustle play by negating an icing call as the puck was sent down by Fritz-Ward. Connery controlled the puck next to the net and skated to the front before backhanding the puck five-hole of MacDonald to reclaim a 3-2 lead.
Each comeback was an important battle for the Bobcats in defeating one of the top ECAC teams.
“It showed that we just have a great mindset that no matter how the scoreboard tells us we’re still going to work the full 60 minutes,” Uden Johansson said.
The beginning of the third period sparked the fireworks for the rest of the game when Brooke Fernandez sniped a shot from the point just 21 seconds into the period. Vigilanti appeared to be screened on the play, as it sailed five-hole.
Over a minute later, St. Lawrence claimed their first lead of the game after Kayla Raniwsky put home the rebound for a 4-3 Saints lead. Ellie Williams ripped a shot from the right faceoff circle, where the rebound came loose on the opposite side of the net. Raniwsky was in perfect position to put home the puck in the wide open right side of the net.
Frykas tied the game 4-4, followed by Uden Johansson’s game-winner to put the Bobcats ahead for good.
The Bobcats showed resiliency by coming back from each goal that St. Lawrence scored, and it gives Quinnipiac the mindset that it is never out.
“It’s just building on that belief in ourselves that we can beat anyone, and when we play like we did in the first and the last 18 minutes of the third, I believe we can beat anyone,” Seeley said.