In search of its first conference victory of the season, the women’s hockey team will travel this weekend to face-off against Princeton and Quinnipiac. Princeton (5-3-2, 2-1-1 ECACHL) is currently one of four ECACHL teams ranked in the top-10 nationally, residing at No. 6/7.
Quinnipiac, in its first season in the conference, is currently tied for fifth place with a record of 6-7-2 (2-4-1 ECACHL) and has already surpassed last season’s win total. The last, and only, time the Red and the Bobcats have squared off was back in the 2003-04 season when Quinnipiac took three out of a possible four points in the two-game series.
“Going into Christmas break, having a couple of ECAC games under our belt would be big,” said junior Halina Kristalyn. “Any ECAC game is very important because it will be a tight race down to the end of the season.”
The Red is coming off of a weekend home-and-home series against Colgate, which remains the only team in the conference that has yet to lose or tie a game. The Raiders took both games by a score of 3-1.
Last weekend saw Princeton split a tightly contested series against No. 7/6 Mercyhurst. The two games concluded a streak of eight consecutive games for the Tigers against nationally ranked opponents, in which the team went 4-3-1.
Quinnipiac, meanwhile, is riding a two-game winning streak and has won four out of its previous six games. Last weekend, the Bobcats blanked Vermont 1-0, en route to the team’s fourth consecutive victory this season against a Hockey East opponent, a single-season record for the program.
“Against Princeton, the coaches have been stressing using our defensemen more in their offensive zone,” Kristalyn said. “[Quinnipiac] is relatively unknown to us. Overall, this weekend we need to stay out of the penalty box. The outcomes last weekend would have been drastically different if we had.”
The Red has gotten a very balanced scoring attack this season as all but two players have registered at least one point. The team is paced by Kristalyn’s eight points on six goals and two assists. Senior co-captain Vicki Hodgkinson also has six goals on the season, while sophomore Brianne Schmidt has six assists.
Like the team’s scoring, the Red’s goaltending duties have been balanced between senior Flora Vineberg and junior Beth Baronick. Both players have been consistent between the pipes, with each holding a 1-3-0 record. Vineberg has a 3.30 goals against average with a .886 save percentage, while Baronick has registered a 3.59 GAA and a .885 save percentage.
The Tigers have won the last 10 meetings between the two clubs and hold an edge in the all-time series 35-19-2. The Red will have to contend with two key players in particular for the Tigers, junior forward Kim Pearce and senior goalie Roxanne Gaudiel. Pearce holds or shares the team lead in goals, assists and points this season (4 G, 9 A). Gaudiel has recorded a 1.67 GAA and a .934 save percentage, while logging over 600 minutes in 10 games.
Thirteen of Quinnipiac’s 26 roster spots are held by freshman, including starting goalie Connie Craig, who has one ECACHL Goaltender of the Week award already under her belt and currently ranks fifth nationally among freshman in save percentage and sixth in goals against average. The Bobcats are lead in scoring by junior Vicky Graham, who has 15 points (9 G, 6 A) this season and is just five points shy of becoming the team’s all-time scoring leader.
“This week in practice we have been working on some of the little things,” Kristalyn said. “We’ve had a hard week of practice and we are ready to go.”
Archived article by Jon Hausner
Sun Staff Writer