HAMDEN, Conn. — Morgan Fritz-Ward scored the game-winning goal with just over two minutes remaining in the third period to complete the comeback as No. 7/9 Quinnipiac defeated New Hampshire 2-1 at the High Point Solutions Arena on Saturday afternoon.
On the winning tally, Olivia Brackett stole the puck at center ice and tapped the pass to Fritz-Ward, who skated in on the left side before wristing a low shot on the blocker side of New Hampshire goaltender Ashley Wilkes.
“Morgan made a great individual effort, getting the puck with speed in the neutral zone and she got a quick release and I don’t think the goalie was ready for it,” Quinnipiac coach Rick Seeley said.
Fritz-Ward’s goal came as the Bobcats pressured the Wildcats’ defense, outshooting them 12-0 in the third period.
“Late in the third, we were probably hanging on a bit, but I think we were waiting because we knew they were going to press,” New Hampshire coach Brian McCloskey said. “We were waiting for something to bounce so we could get an opportunity going the other way.”
Quinnipiac (10-1-3, 3-1-2 ECAC) scored two unanswered goals late in both the second and third periods to overcome New Hampshire (6-6-2, 2-2-2 WHEA).
“I don’t think we really showed up with the same focus and intensity as yesterday, but I thought we showed resiliency fighting through that,” Seeley said. “When you don’t show up ready, it’s really a battle to get it back and I thought our kids battled.”
New Hampshire took a 1-0 lead with 4:01 left in the first period on a goal scored by Arielle O’Neill when she received a pass from Jess Ryan across the point and wristed the puck on goal where it went five-hole on Quinnipiac goaltender Chelsea Laden.
“That’s the first bad goal Chelsea’s given up all year, but it starts with flipping the puck over the glass,” Seeley said. “We didn’t have a good breakout and we end up with the faceoff in our zone, d-to-d pass, we don’t block a shot and it ends up in the net, but there’s lots of opportunity before a bad goal to stop it.”
After the first period, Quinnipiac’s defense took over, allowing just two shots for the remainder of the game.
Kelly Babstock tied the game at 1-1 with just 2:21 remaining in the second period when she lifted the puck over a sprawled out Ashley Wilkes after her initial shot was saved by Wilkes’ pad.
“I was upset with that goal in the second,” McCloskey said. “I had a great look at it and I know the player that was carrying it and you’re not getting the puck away from her unless you take her down. It was a non-call that probably shouldn’t have happened, but unfortunately, it did.”
Wilkes had 27 saves on 29 shots for New Hampshire, while Laden had just seven saves on eight shots for Quinnipiac.
“Defensively, I thought we played an outstanding game,” said McCloskey. “I thought the girls were feeling confident that they could defend, we had couple of times where it was a two-on-one, [and] we just didn’t handle the puck cleanly a few times, but overall, our team played really well this weekend.”