Bobcats struggle at home, lose to Vermont 3-1

By Jamie Palatini

(HAMDEN, Conn.) – This past weekend Quinnipiac’s men’s ice hockey team struggled mightily at home, failing to score a goal in three straight games. Friday night, the women’s team didn’t fare much better.

Kyleigh Palmer’s two goals and an assist led the way as the Vermont Catamounts defeated Quinnipiac 3-1 on Friday night at the TD Banknorth Sports Center. With the win, Vermont improves to 3-8-0 on the season. The loss drops the Bobcats to 2-10-1 overall.

Things were looking up for Quinnipiac as they headed into tonight’s game. Last weekend, the Bobcats came back from two-goal deficits in both of their games against Colgate and Cornell to earn a win and a tie. Tonight was a completely different story. Head coach Rick Seeley made it clear that despite last weekend’s success, his team has a lot to learn.

“We obviously weren’t prepared for this game,” Seeley said. “It’s a sign of a young team that doesn’t have the experience to understand what it takes to do it week in and week out. It’s another lesson to be learned.”

The Catamounts got on the board first at the 12:28 mark of the first period. Freshman forward Kyleigh Palmer made a pass up to defenseman Saleah Morrison inside the blue line of the Quinnipiac zone. Morrison moved in and took a wrist shot that fluttered over Quinnipiac sophomore goaltender Tia Wishart’s right shoulder to give Vermont the 1-0 lead.

Vermont took a two goal lead with just 20 seconds remaining in the first period. Quinnipiac’s Kallie Flor took a hooking penalty which nullified a Bobcats power play, and gave Vermont the faceoff in the Quinnipiac zone. Freshman forward Erin Barley-Maroney won the faceoff for the Catamounts back to Palmer, whose shot initially hit Wishart between her arm and her body, but trickled across the goal line to give the Catamounts a two-goal advantage.

Nearly halfway through the second period, Palmer added another goal for the Catamounts. Quinnipiac was unable to clear their own zone after multiple attempts, and they paid the price for it. Palmer picked up the loose puck along the far boards skated in, and took a shot that went through traffic and bounced between Wishart’s legs to make the score 3-0 in Vermont’s favor.

“I thought all three goals were kind of weak, whether it was the goaltending or the effort in front of her,” Seeley said. “Generally, when you play the way we played, you end up on the short end of the stick.”

Wishart was then pulled in favor of Nanna Holm-Glaas. Last weekend Wishart was masterful in net, guiding the Bobcats to a three-point weekend. In those two games combined, she allowed four goals on 72 shots. However, Wishart struggled against the Catamounts on Friday night, allowing three goals on only 11 shots.

The Bobcats finally broke through with 5:45 remaining in the third period. Junior forward Janine Duffy made a pass to freshman forward Chelsea Illchuk from center ice to the Catamounts’ blue line. Illchuk moved in all alone against Vermont goaltender Kristen Olychuck. Illchuk snuck a shot under Olychuck’s right arm that found the back of the net. It was Illchuk’s first career goal, and it made the score 3-1 Vermont.

The women’s ice hockey team will look to rebound tomorrow afternoon when they host Boston University, their second Hockey East opponent in as many days. The game can be heard live on the WQAQ sports stream with Aaron Tanguay and Michael Feldstein calling all the action. Game time is slated for 4 p.m.

Click here to view the box score from this game.

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