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For a game where both teams jumped out to an early start, it would take two overtimes to finish. Nicole Brown sealed the series for the Quinnipiac Bobcats with six and a half to play to defeat Rensselaer, 2-1.
“What a rush! I don’t even know what happened, how the play developed, I just remember everyone jumping on me,” Brown said. “I don’t know if there’s a better feeling than now.”
Rensselaer (10-17-7, 8-9-5 ECAC) jumped out 25 seconds into the game, coming out from the overtime loss on Friday.
The Engineers’ Jaimie Grigsby scored her second goal of the weekend, going through three Bobcats defenders at the hashmarks for enough open time and space to sail a wrist shot past Sydney Rossman in the slot.
Quinnipiac (28-2-5, 16-2-4 ECAC) responded on its first power play on the night, as Taylar Cianfarano scored her 28th goal of the year, tying a program record for most goals in a season seven minutes into the first.
In addition to the strong special teams battle, the Engineers faced 68 shots on goal and over 100 shot attempts, pushing 30 shots wide of the net through solid defensive work in the passing lanes, and blocking 27 shots.
“I thought we had trouble early on, pucks were kind of bouncing on our sticks early on that gave them a couple of opportunities in the slot, but that was one of the things we were trying to focus on,” Rensselaer coach John Burke said.
First-year goalie Lovisa Selander had a career night, stopping 66 shots on goal. In four games against the Bobcats this season, she made a combined 212 saves and allowed a mere nine goals.
“I think we wanted to take away the middle of the ice, and try to keep them to the outside,” Burke said. “Anything from the outside Lovisa was going to stop, and we just wanted to make sure we cleared rebounds to the side.”
The game went into the second overtime in the series after the scoring went cold after the first half of the first period.
“RPI battled so hard, they made it incredibly difficult to get to the net, get second shots,” Quinnipiac coach Cassie Turner said. “Their goalie was outstanding both days, so I’m really proud and impressed with our team and their composure and confidence.”
The win makes Cassie Turner the winningest first-year coach in NCAA women’s ice hockey history with 28 wins. Turner spent seven years as a Quinnipiac assistant coach before being promoted last spring.
“It’s been an outstanding year; as I said yesterday, I’m not one for thinking about the number of wins, only that we’re playing our best hockey,” Turner said. “We’re a really unique group of people. It’s clear that everyone cares about one another in our program.”
Even with the Engineers season coming to a close, Burke is still proud of his team taking the conference’s best team to back-to-back overtime games.
“I couldn’t be more proud of our group,” Burke said. “This is a group that’s really resilient, and as a coach you couldn’t be more proud of how hard they played the whole weekend and the whole year. The effort they put, with the tough loss last night, our staff again couldn’t be more proud of this group. I think that has to do with the senior leaders, and the leadership we had from all six seniors this year.”