HAMDEN, CT. — On Friday night, Quinnipiac defeated Syracuse 3-0 behind Chelsea Laden’s first career shutout. Sophomore Erica Uden Johansson provided the offense for the Bobcats with a goal and two assists.
“The impressive thing is that a couple of weeks ago [Uden Johansson] really made a commitment to improve her forechecking game, and tonight I thought she was our best forechecker,” Quinnipiac coach Rick Seeley said. “If she keeps playing like that, we are going to be in good shape.”
In addition to Johansson’s three points, Laden stopped all 19 shots she faced.
“I honestly didn’t think I played my best,” Laden noted. “But with a defense in front of me playing so well I can still come out and get the shutout.”
Quinnipiac struck first at 9:05 of the first period on a Syracuse turnover in its own end. Quinnipiac’s Breann Frykas intercepted the puck on the left wing and immediately saw Uden Johansson streaking through the slot. Frykas connected with Uden Johansson, who beat Drinkwater high blocker side.
The Bobcats could have made it 2-0 on the next shift by way of a net front scramble. Drinkwater made the initial save on a blast from the point. The puck popped in the air just in front of the crease with two QU players there for the rebound. Frykas got knocked down and on one knee put the puck on her backhand and tried to inch it inside the left post. Drinkwater sprawled out on her stomach and denied the shot with the butt end of her stick.
Minutes into the second period, Kelly Babstock took control of the puck at the left circle and began to work the puck down low. As she moved to the net, Kate Wheeler stepped up in the slot and ripped a shot on the once vacant right side of the net. Drinkwater jumped from left to right to deny Wheeler just outside the crease.
With just over seven minutes left in the middle frame, it was Brittany Lyons with a chance of her own. A Bobcats offensive rush left Lyons on the left side of the slot with the puck. She ripped her wrister that Drinkwater kicked away. The rebound jumped to the right circle, where Wheeler wristed the puck behind Drinkwater, who stepped up to challenge Lyons. Unfortunately for Wheeler, the puck went just wide of the left post.
Despite giving up three goals, Drinkwater still stopped 35 shots.
“I thought she played well,” Syracuse coach Paul Flanagan said. “She covered pucks when she needed to, and I thought she was putting the pucks in the corners pretty well, and she was controlling her rebounds.”
The Bobcats took the 2-0 lead 5:14 into the third period on Nicole Kosta’s fourth goal of the season. Uden Johansson led the charge on the left wing with Kosta trailing and sent a backhanded pass from just below the left circle to Kosta in the slot, who fired a wrist shot that beat Drinkwater high-glove side.
Quinnipiac went up 3-0 four minutes later on a rebound rocket from Wheeler. Felicia Vieweg took the shot from the right circle that Drinkwater deflected directly in front of her net. Wheeler entered the slot untouched and one-timed the rebound top shelf.
“Everything clicked for me tonight,” Uden Johansson said. “I’m starting to learn where my linemates are all the time. Everything just worked tonight.”
The loss extends Syracuse’s winless streak to nine, but Flanagan still saw some positive play.
“In terms of coming back tomorrow, we need to bottle that energy and mindset we had in the second period. We had some sustained pressure with the forecheck and made some pretty good decisions from the blue line.”
Tomorrow marks the final nonconference match for both teams, as they finish up the weekend series with a 4 p.m. puck drop in Hamden.