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Women's Hockey — Early deficit too much for Wildcats, fall 4-1 to Quinnipiac

By Greg Laudani, Staff  Writer
Quinnipiac jumped out to an early 3-0 lead in the second period, and the Bobcats held on to defeat the UNH 4-1 on Friday, Oct. 24, at the Whittemore Center. The victory improves Quinnipiac to an undefeated 5-0-1 record, while UNH falls to 2-6-1.
Bobcats’ forward Taylar Cianfarano’s goal at 07:43 of the second put the game out of reach. The freshman gathered a cross pass from Morgan Fritz-Ward and buried a shot from the right circle, giving Quinnipiac a 3-0 advantage.
The Wildcats’ best opportunity to get back in the game came soon after Cianfarano’s goal. In her season debut, junior Brittney Redlick drove hard to the net and lifted a shot past QU goaltender Chelsea Laden to pull UNH within two, trailing 3-1 (11:49 of second). Redlick’s goal was the first Laden has allowed in five starts this season.
That was as close as the Wildcats would come though, as they were outshot 38-16 and struggled to generate scoring chances throughout most of the contest.
“I think there were times in the game that we did a lot of really good things and we’re starting to understand,” UNH head coach Hilary Witt said. “But I think the overall 60-minute effort is something that we’re really struggling to put together.”
Quinnipiac’s Danielle Marmer sealed the victory with an impressive individual effort, skating through the middle of the UNH defense and lifting a wrister by UNH goaltender Vilma Vaattovaara.

Vaattovaara, who has started in each of UNH’s nine games this season, stood strong in net for the ‘Cats, recording 34 saves against undefeated Quinnipiac.
After the game, Vaattovaara said she felt her team could have played more aggressively.
“We were just watching too much,” Vaattovaara said. “I don’t think we forechecked. We weren’t picking up sticks. I feel like we need to get out of that habit and just go get the puck.”
Vaattovaara also took responsibility for the loss, saying she “did not play as well as she could have”.
UNH head coach Hilary Witt spoke about her team’s identity following the game.
“Our identity should be that we are difficult to play against because we work so hard up and down the ice,” Witt said. “And I think that we do that sometimes but not all of the time. I think it is something that will evolve and we’re getting there. We are getting better every day.”
Witt explained the importance of effective passing out of UNH’s own zone to create more offensive rushes.
“I think we just have to keep committing to making sure we get the puck past the first player (opposing defender),” Witt said. “And that’s something we’ve talked about a lot. It’s not the defense’s job to get it all the way to the net, necessarily. It’s to get the puck past that first defender. And that’s something we just have to keep getting better at.”
Raising their aggressiveness is something Vaattovaara said has a lot to do with developing the Wildcats’ mindset that no matter what the situation, they always have a chance to win.
“For me and for the team we just have to realize that there is no panic,” Vaattovaara said. “We can do it. We just have to go and do it. And I think we just need everyone to step up and know that their work ethic matters.”
UNH next plays against Hockey East rival Northeastern on Thursday, Oct. 30, at 7:00 p.m. at the Whittemore Center.

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