HAMDEN, Conn. — Quinnipiac celebrated senior day in style with a 5-1 win over RPI on Saturday afternoon.
Kelly Babstock picked up her first hat trick of the season in the win and overall, the Bobcats scored eleven goals, including six on the power play, over the course of the weekend.
“I think we accomplished what we needed to accomplish,” Quinnipiac coach Rick Seeley said. “We needed to come out of this weekend feeling good about how we were playing and I thought today was one of our best efforts this season.”
With the loss, RPI is eliminated from a chance in the postseason.
Quinnipiac will travel to Clarkson next weekend for the first round of the ECAC tournament.
“This weekend was a big confidence booster,” QU senior alternate captain Bethany Dymarczyk said. “Going into this weekend we were kind of rough, we were kind of down, and we were looking for something to grab on to.”
Minutes into the second period, RPI nearly took the game’s first lead, but Quinnipiac goalie Victoria Vigilanti came up big to keep the game tied. The Engineers broke into the zone with Jill Vandegrift on the right side. Vandegrift ripped a shot that Vigilanti stopped, but the rebound came free. Vandegrift got her own rebound and fired another shot that Vigilanti kicked away.
In total, Vigilanti made 18 saves for the win.
The Bobcats took the 1-0 lead 7:09 into the second period on a power-play goal from Breann Frykas. Regan Boulton ripped a shot from the left point that RPI goalie Brianna Piper stopped. Piper couldn’t control the rebound as Frykas wristed the puck five-hole.
Quinnipiac added to their lead with 7:08 left in the second period. After Taylor Horton went to the box for a high sticking penalty, the Bobcats went on their third power play of the period. In similar fashion to Quinnipiac’s first goal, Piper made the first save on a Frykas shot. The rebound couldn’t be cleared away as Babstock tapped the puck past Piper for her third power-play goal of the weekend.
“I thought both of our power plays did an awesome job maintaining possession while changing in their zone,” Seeley said.
Just 3:04 later, Babstock made it 3-0 on her 16th goal of the season and her fifth of the weekend. Babstock intercepted a clearing attempt at the left circle and stepped into the slot. Babstock forced Piper to make the first move and then skated to the far post where she wristed the puck into the back of the net.
“That’s her bread and butter around the net,” Seeley said of Babstock. “Her hands are just so quick and to pick up pucks and create that space, to make those plays look easy, that’s what she’s really good at.”
After the Bobcats’ third goal, RPI coach John Burke called a timeout and had a simple message for his team.
“[I told them to] just keep competing,” said Burke. “It’s something we pride ourselves in, to keep competing [and to] just to give ourselves a chance because you never know what’s going to happen with 24 minutes left in the game.”
Early in the third period, the Bobcats could have made it 4-0 on another power play if not for a tremendous stop by Piper. From behind the RPI net, Babstock centered the puck for Frykas in the slot. Frykas one-timed the puck, but Piper stepped up to cut off the angle to make the stop.
RPI elected to pull Piper with nearly six minutes left in the third period. RPI was able to cut the lead down to 3-1 with the extra attacker when Eleeza Cox took the puck in the near corner and shuffled it to Toni Sanders just below the right circle. Sanders redirected the puck off her backhand and past Vigilanti.
The Bobcats proved to be too much in the final minutes as Babstock and Dymarczyk added empty-netters to seal the win.