Women’s ice hockey team falls to Clarkson in NCAA Tournament

Ariana Stover and James Anderson

Photo: Quinnipiac Athletics
Photo: Quinnipiac Athletics

The Quinnipiac women’s ice hockey team faced Clarkson Saturday in a rematch of last weekend’s ECAC final.

While the scoreboard displayed the same result of 1-0, it was Clarkson that emerged victorious in the first round of the NCAA Tournament.

The Bobcats (30-3-5, 16-2-4 ECAC) added another program first to an already extensive list this season.

Hosting an NCAA Tournament game for the first time in program history and only in Quinnipiac’s second tournament appearance is something first-year head coach Cassandra Turner would like to hang her hat on.

However, the Bobcats faced a Golden Knights (30-4-5, 14-3-5 ECAC) team that has fond memories at High Point Solutions Arena.

In 2014, Clarkson won the national championship when Quinnipiac hosted the Frozen Four. With more experience playing deep into March, Clarkson proved to be tougher than they were in the prior three matchups between the two schools.

Clarkson senior defender Renata Fast collected the puck off the faceoff, chipped it into the zone and fired a shot past Sydney Rossman.

Just ten seconds into the game Clarkson held the lead, the fastest goal in NCAA Tournament history scored by an aptly named player.

Clarkson maintained the lead all the way to the final buzzer.

Stunned by the quick goal, Quinnipiac played out of sorts until half way through the second period when Taylar Cianfarano, Emma Woods and Melissa Samoskevich began to find space in the offensive zone to produce chances.

Samoskevich performed well for the Bobcats finishing the game with five shots on goal.

When it came to finding momentum, the Bobcats had difficulty creating chances from one shift to the next.

Turner discussed the difficulty to create offense.

“I thought we had a tough time putting one shift and the next together. Just to continue to keep our feet moving and find ways to put the puck on the net,” Turner said. “A lot of that was how quickly (Clarkson) was on us and how little space they were giving us to allow us to get opportunities to create shots.”

The Bobcats best chances to tie the game came in the final minutes of the third period.

With just under three minutes to play, Clarkson’s Loren Gabel went to the box for hitting from behind giving Quinnipiac a power play.

Exactly halfway through the power play, Turner called a timeout and elected to leave Rossman in net when play resumed.

The Bobcats had two close rebound chances in front of the crease but Clarkson’s sophomore goaltender Shea Tiley kept the door closed.

Rossman couldn’t get to the bench until there were only 15 seconds remaining and the Bobcats were pinned to the boards in the corner.

Their opportunity to tie the game late was squandered.

Turner discussed the decision to leave Rossman in the net.

“To leave her in in that situation is a conversation we’ve had as a coaching staff a number of times,” Turner said. “Given how rarely we see that situation and how confident we are in our power play and how great it’s been all year, we felt that was the best way for us to get chances and we did.”

The Quinnipiac women’s ice hockey team has continued to build as a program over recent years. Last year, they made the NCAA Tournament for the first time. This year they hosted the conference championship as the top-seeded team, finishing out the regular season.

However, Quinnipiac is losing six seniors this year. One of those exiting seniors thinks the program will continue to grow.

“Today in the locker room after the game (the freshmen) said to us ‘You guys have set the bar and done all this stuff,’” Quinnipiac senior captain Cydney Roesler said. “We may not realize it now but they certainly realize it. That’s a huge thing to hear from them, to know that we’ve helped them… They’re taking what we’ve done and they’re going to just roll with it.”