HAMDEN, Conn/ — The offense came alive for Quinnipiac in its home opener against Penn State Nittany as the Bobcats took a 5-1 win on Friday night.
Quinnipiac (2-0-1) was led offensively by Shiann Darkangelo, who scored her first two goals as a Bobcat, while Meghan Turner scored her first career goal and had two assists.
“I thought overall, we played pretty well [and] any time you get 50 shots, clearly you’re forechecking well and creating good opportunities,” Quinnipiac coach Rick Seeley said. “I thought our back pressure was great, we got a lot of turnovers in between their blue line and center ice and back in deep.”
Penn State (1-1-1) was led by goaltender Nicole Paniccia, who recorded 48 saves. Despite the five goals allowed, she kept the Nittany Lions in the game as it was 3-1 until there was just five minutes left in the game.
“She gave us a chance and she always does,” PSU coach Josh Brandwene said. “Again, you look back at the end of the second period – an opportunity to get a puck deep and we didn’t. That’s something we’ve got to learn from.”
The Bobcats were successful on the power play, going 2-for-4 with power-play goals from Kelly Babstock and Darkangelo on the first two opportunities. Penn State was 0-for-1 with its lone power-play coming near the midway point of the third period.
“It was nice to see [because] we worked on the power play a lot this week,” Seeley said. “I mean, there’s a lot of new people in new places, so we were a little disorganized last week forcing it a little bit, but I thought we moved the puck well and got good chances out of it.”
Quinnipiac’s netminder, Chelsea Laden, had her third straight dominant game, allowing just one second-period goal to the Nittany Lions. Laden finished the game with 24 saves in the win, her second of the season.
“She’s been very solid obviously,” said Seeley. “Two goals in three games and the two goals against her, we left her out to dry. We need a little more help from the forwards on situations like that, but Chelsea’s been awesome.”
Babstock broke the scoreless game in the first period on a power-play goal with 4:31 left to make it 1-0. Nicole Brown fired a shot on net from the right faceoff dot, but the rebound came off the pad of Paniccia where Babstock was at the top of the crease to put home the rebound for her first goal of the season.
Darkangelo kept the Bobcats perfect on the power play with her first goal early in the second period with a one-timer inside the left faceoff circle that went glove side on Paniccia. Morgan Fritz-Ward slid a pass across the ice to Turner, whose slap shot came off slow as her stick hit the ice first, but Darkangelo was there to tip home the puck to make it 2-0.
Penn State got its first goal of the game 8:43 into the second period when Shannon Yoxheimer scored on Laden to make it 2-1. Sarah Nielson sent a pass from behind the goal that found Yoxheimer in the slot, who roofed it over Laden’s glove.
“When we established some pressure and kept our feet moving and drove to the net, ultimately, good things are happening and we have to start doing more of that,” Brandwene said.
With just 1:15 left in the second period, Fritz-Ward scored her first goal of the season to give Quinnipiac a 3-1 lead. Cydney Roesler stole the puck and wristed a shot from the right side of the blue line as Fritz-Ward positioned herself in front of Paniccia to tip home the shot that extended the Bobcats’ lead.
Quinnipiac added two insurance goals in the third period as Darkangelo scored her second goal of the game to give Quinnipiac the 4-1 advantage. Anna Borgfeldt found an open Darkangelo skating over the blue line and wristed the shot over Paniccia’s blocker.
The second goal of the period came when Turner scored her first goal as a Bobcat to make it 5-1 Quinnipiac. Fritz-Ward passed the puck through the slot to Turner at the top of the left faceoff circle, who sent the snap shot over the blocker once again.
Both teams return to action with the rematch on Saturday with puck drop scheduled for 4 p.m.