By Kevin Noonan, QBSN Staff Writer
Senior goaltender Victoria Vigilanti (Woodbridge, Ontario) picked up her first shutout of the season as Quinnipiac defeated Princeton 4-0 Saturday evening in ECAC women’s hockey action to extend their winning streak to five games.
“She’s getting more solid in terms of her positioning and she’s not scrambling as much,” head coach Rick Seeley said. “She’s staying on her feet unless it’s necessary to go down … I think when she’s more under control, the team’s more under control.”
The reigning ECAC Goaltender of the week, Vigilanti made several huge saves in the victory. In the second period, Vigilanti made a glove save from her stomach to save a power-play goal.
“My focus was on today. I wasn’t in and out of focus and that’s what I gotta work on going in to break, just staying focused,” Vigilanti said.
Vigilanti credits the shutout performance to the communication between herself and the defense, something that had been better than in previous games.
“We’ve been talking about it practice, just talking with each other and knowing that we got each others back,” Vigilanti said. “I remember one play, [Regan Boulton] made a great block and then the puck went back to the girl, I’m like ‘I got this for her because she made a great play for me so its only fair that we back each other up.’”
Four different Bobcats scored goals in the victory, spreading out the wealth on the offensive end on the puck. Junior Kelly Babstock (Mississauga, Ontario) picked up her team-leading 20th goal and 20th assist on the season to reach the 40 point mark.
“It takes pressure off the Babstock line and I think when that’s off she flies a little better,” Seeley said. “We really like the three lines we have playing right now, they all potentially could score.”
Quinnipiac (12-7-2, 8-3-1 ECAC) soundly controlled the game play over Princeton (5-9-2, 2-8-2 ECAC) from the initial puck drop to pick up the shutout victory. The Bobcats outshot the Tigers 48-21.
Freshman Nicole Brown (Oshawa, Ontario) got the scoring started for the Bobcats early in the second period to give Quinnipiac a 1-0 lead. Junior Kelly Babstock (Mississauga, Ontario) won the face-off and skated towards the crease, finding a wide open Brown on the left side. Brown tucked it home for her fifth goal of the season.
Quinnipiac extended its lead to 2-0 with 1:37 remaining in the second period with junior Erica Uden Johansson’s (Sundsvall, Sweden) wristed power-play goal from inside the face-off circle. Senior Regan Boulton (Brandon, Manitoba) and junior Nicole Kosta (Mississauga, Ontario) worked the puck around the point, where Kosta found Uden Johansson and roofed the shot over the glove of Kimberly Newell.
Babstock picked a goal of her own with just 17.8 seconds remaining in the period for her 20th of the season. Princeton coughed up the puck in front of its own net, and Babstock was there to slap it in the back of the net to give the Bobcats a 3-0 lead.
Senior Brittany Lyons (Canton, Mass.) concluded the scoring for the Bobcats with just 26.4 seconds left in the game to secure the 4-0 victory. Initially, a Princeton defender got her stick stuck in Lyons jersey. Lyons came free and received a pass from freshman Nicole Connery (Newmarket, Ontario) in the slot and roofed the shot over Newell’s shoulder.
Vigilanti finished the game with 21 saves for Quinnipiac while Newell finished with 44 for the Tigers. But it’s the Bobcats offense that has propelled them through this streak and into the break.
“Most of the games we’ve gotten over 45 shots, which I think is key in this league, is getting the puck to the net and then playing full 60 minute hockey. We haven’t played that since the beginning of the year and now we’re getting back into it,” Brown said.