Quinnipiac Women’s Ice Hockey Takes Nutmeg Classic Win


Photos: Liz Flynn

David Rooney

The Quinnipiac women’s ice hockey team made a strong statement Friday afternoon as it defeated no. 10 Minnesota Duluth in the first game of the Nutmeg Classic by a final score of 4-2.

The Bobcats got off to a strong start in this game and never looked back, as sophomore forward Lexie Adzija scored on a power play less than ten minutes into the game. Although Minnesota Duluth tied the game shortly after that with a goal by Jalyn Elmes, the Bobcats would never have to play from behind in this contest.

“I think for us, when we score first we’re in a good spot, but we’ve been pushing our team to win that race to three goals, and the stats of the team that gets to three first, how often that team wins, they’re pretty great,” Quinnipiac head coach Cassandra Turner said.

The game would remain tied for the remainder of the first period, as both teams traded shots but neither could find the back of the net. However, the Bobcats broke the game open early in the second period.

Junior forward Renee Saltness scored, and then senior forward Sarah-Eve Coutu-Godbout added another goal less than 20 seconds later. These back-to-back goals gave the Bobcats a commanding 3-1 advantage, and the Bobcats would never relinquish that lead. Turner described that span as a decisive moment within the game.

“It’s a huge momentum shift, it’s a big piece for gaining confidence, and it’s certainly tough if you’re on the other side of that,” she said.

Adzija added, “I think once you get one, the goalie’s a little bit off, so the more shots you can get her way the better.”

In the third period, Adzija scored her second goal of the afternoon to put the Bobcats up 4-1. Later in the final period, Ashton Bell scored her fifth goal of the season to bring Minnesota Duluth within two goals, but that was as close as it would get. Quinnipiac played strong defense down the stretch and held on to secure the victory.

Quinnipiac senior goalie Abbie Ives had a brilliant performance, and she was assisted by excellent defense from the rest of the team. Minnesota Duluth had almost twice as many shots as Quinnipiac, and more than doubled the Bobcats in terms of shots on goal, taking 44 shots on goal compared to Quinnipiac’s 21. However, Quinnipiac played stifling defense.

The Bobcats led in the blocked shots category, and Ives posted 42 saves, compared to the Bulldogs’ Olympic goalie Maddie Rooney, who finished the evening with 17 saves.

“I thought Abbie saw the puck well through traffic, she’s so deliberate in how she sees pucks and tracks it, and you can see it in how she follows it into her body, she knows exactly where that puck is going,” Turner said.

“I think we just rise to our opponents, I think we like the challenge, and if we can bring that every game, that would be an end to a great season for us,” Adzija said.

The Bobcats will be back in action on Saturday against a yet-to-be-determined opponent as the Nutmeg Classic continues.