In what may prove to be a preview of the ECAC Hockey Quarterfinals, the St. Lawrence University women's hockey team battled Quinnipiac University in a fast-paced, intense contest at Appleton Arena on Friday night. Though the Bobcats struck first, senior captain Kelly Sabatine's goal in the second period helped the Saints earn their second consecutive 1-1 tie.
St. Lawrence moves to 16-11-4 and to 11-5-3 in conference play, while the Bobcats are now 17-9-4 (11-5-3). The two teams remain deadlocked in the race for the final home playoff spot, though St. Lawrence pulled the goaltender in overtime to try for the two full points as the tiebreaker is owned by Quinnipiac.
"That was a good effort by both teams," said St. Lawrence head coach Chris Wells. "They are a very hard-working, clean, honest hockey team and it made for great entertainment tonight."
Victoria Vigilanti, one of the league's premier goaltenders, was outstanding in goal for the visitors, turning in a 32-save performance. Carmen MacDonald was also impressive for the home team, making 25 saves including 10 in the third and four more in the extra session.
Though St. Lawrence owned an 11-7 advantage in shots on goal in the first, it was Quinnipiac that scored the only goal in the stanza. Amanda Colin's first of the year came on the power play at 6:05, as she took a pass from behind the net from Nicole Connery and lifted a shot past MacDonald for the go-ahead goal. Cydney Roesler also assisted on Quinnipiac's lone goal.
Sophomore Jackie Wand had the Saints' top chance of the first period, skating in on a clear breakaway with Vigilanti. However, the goaltender held her ground and stopped the bid, one of her 11 first period saves.
St. Lawrence would respond with a fantastic second period, outplaying the Bobcats to a 12-4 edge in shots on goal. The Saints finally cashed in when Sabatine gained the zone and snapped a wrist shot over Vigilanti for her 14th goal of the campaign. Rookie Dominique Korakianitis had the lone assist on the tying tally which came at 15:57 of the second period.
The remaining 25:00 minutes was as entertaining as it gets, with both teams having quality chances in a back-and-forth affair. Vigilianti came through with some tough saves through traffic, and MacDonald managed to swipe the puck clear of the crease with Nicole Kosta waiting on the doorstep.
Both teams had a power play in overtime, but came away empty, leading to Coach Wells opting to pull MacDonald for the extra skater. Though the Saints had the majority of the possession, Quinnipiac star forward Kelly Babstock appeared to have a chance to beat the buzzer from center ice. However, her shot was knocked out of the air by senior Brooke Fernandez, saving a goal and earning the Saints one point in the conference standings.
The Saints closed with a 33-25 advantage in shots on goal. Quinnipiac was 1-for-4 on the power play while the Saints were 0-for-4.
St. Lawrence will host Princeton University tomorrow, Saturday, February 16 on "Senior Day," as the five members of the Class of 2013, Sabatine, Fernandez, Michelle Ng, Jamie Goldsmith and Kayla Sullivan, play their final home game at Appleton Arena. The puck will drop on the Saints and Tigers at 4:00pm.