By Rick Menning
HAMDEN, CT -- Bolstered by a 6-0-2 record that includes two hard-fought ties against Providence this past weekend, the Quinnipiac University women's ice hockey team now turns its attention to the next phase of its 2021-22 season.
With their East Coast Athletic Conference (ECAC) opponents waiting in the wings, the Bobcats have this upcoming weekend off before ascending into that part of their schedule where results are even more meaningful.
"(The Providence series) was our first true big test against a nationally ranked opponent," said graduate student Taylor House, who together with Courtney Vorster came through with goals both Friday and Saturday that were pivotal in Quinnipiac remaining unbeaten.
Scoring early in the third period on Friday's trip to Rhode Island to make it 1-1 before Vorster's equalizer just 21 seconds after Providence had gone back ahead 2-1, House again stood tall on Saturday with the all-important tying goal in the second period of that showdown.
The 2-2 and 1-1 outcomes involved coming from behind not once, not twice, but three times as the No. 8-ranked Bobcats battled with conviction and purpose against the No. 9/10-ranked Friars.
"This group just shows a lot of resiliency," said House of the team's ability to fight back all weekend. "We're a lot more mentally tough than I think we've ever been in my five years here."
The Quinnipiac squad's quest to succeed never wavered throughout the weekend series.
"We don't get down when we get scored on," House continued. "We just think about those next three shifts and bounce back as quickly as possible."
Head Coach Cassandra Turner welcomed the challenges that the Bobcats faced in the weekend match-up versus such a strong opponent.
"I'm glad we got to play two very close games," she said. 'To feel that intensity and that speed, and needing to make decisions ... you only get the confidence to make plays in those (types of) games by having the experience and I think that's going to help us down the line."
Big save at outset
Just 24 seconds into Saturday's game, Bobcats' goaltender Corinne Schroeder found herself in one of those defining moments.
With a penalty shot having been called against Quinnipiac, Providence's Lily Hendrikson raced in from the red line toward Schroeder with an eye on giving the Friars the early lead.
However, with total and unwavering concentration and poise, Schroeder squared up and smashed the puck off to the right side as both her teammates and the crowd inside the Frank Perrotti Jr. Arena cheered the effort.
"The (penalty shot) save was a nice way to start the game. She was solid," coach Turner said. "You could see she felt comfortable out there gobbling up pucks ... and as she got into more challenging situations (as the game went on) she managed it really, really well."
Schroeder finished with 32 saves on Saturday, while Logan Angers had the netminding duties in the Friday road deadlock and turned aside 21 shots.
Renee Saltness and Vorster served up the assists on House's equalizer in the Saturday matinee showdown, while Kate Reilly and Nina Steigauf set up House for her goal that initially knotted the score on Friday.
Vorster had her bigtime goal on Friday assisted by Zoe Boyd and Lexie Adzija, who joined Alexa Hoskin ( 6 goals, three assists) with nine points through the first eight games. Adzija now has six assists to go along with her three goals.
On the road again
Following the off weekend, the Bobcats head back over to Providence on Friday, Oct. 29 for a match-up with Brown University at 6 p.m. The Hamden, Connecticut road warriors then make the short trip down Whitney Avenue to New Haven on Saturday, Oct. 30 to take on their neighborhood rival Yale Bulldogs in a 3 p.m. Saturday matinee.
Very special guests
A few hours prior to the Quinnipiac-Providence game on Saturday, the Shoreline Sharks 10-Under Black squad displayed its talents on the same ice that the Bobcats call home inside the People's United Center.
Lacing up their skates with great excitement and anticipation for a game with the Darien Ice Cats, the Sharks glided to a 6-3 victory. Chloe Coretti led the way with a pair of goals, while Zoe Bonanno, Sasha Fichtenholtz, Quinn Burke and Mackenzie Krauss contributed one goal apiece.
"Getting to see our girls play in a college rink the quality of People's United Center is something special for the coaches and parents to see," Sharks Assistant Coach Chris Courtney said. "For our girls to get to stay and watch the college team play as role models is something these girls won't forget anytime soon. They were super excited."
After showcasing their skills on the ice, the Sharks players were then super thrilled to watch the Bobcats battle into overtime against the Friars.
The Sharks girls fist bumped and high fived the Quinnipiac players as they went through the tunnel every period.
"The day was about positive energy, team bonding and positive female role models for the Sharks," coach Courtney continued.
The families enjoyed lunch together tailgating in the parking lot, and the girls were even able to run up and down the mini hill at the back end of the parking lot and enjoy some great fun with their friends.