November 30, 2011

Women's Journal: Babstock, Kosta powering Quinnipiac

By Scott Sudikoff

Resilient and goofy. Those are the words that Quinnipiac’s Kelly Babstock and Nicole Kosta use to describe each other. 

Quinnipiac freshman Nicole Kosta (photo: Quinnipiac Athletics)

Quinnipiac freshman Nicole Kosta (photo: Quinnipiac Athletics)

“Even though she always has some sort of injury, she never wants to get off the ice and just wants to keep going,” Babstock said of Kosta. “She is a hard-working player and can get through any obstacle she wants to.”

Kosta focused more on Babstock’s personality: “’Babs’ can make anyone laugh at any given time.”

The natives of Mississauga, Ont., were not friends or teammates growing up, but have now become a dynamic duo.

“I didn't know Babs personally, but I had always known of her because she was one of the best players in Ontario,” said Kosta, a freshman. “She played for Toronto (Junior Aeros), our team's biggest rival, and because she was the best player on their team and often scored on us, I obviously wasn't her biggest fan.”

Kosta was a member of the Mississauga Junior Chiefs, and Babstock explains a similar relationship that has blossomed into a pair that has accounted for 36 percent of Quinnipiac’s scoring this season.

“I never really knew Nicole as a person before her arrival at Quinnipiac, but I had always heard of her being a great hockey player,” Babstock said. “We have become good friends with her arrival and it is great to talk to someone that is not older than me for once, and to share some experiences.”

“She's one of my best friends on the team and I think that helps with our chemistry on the ice because we communicate well together,” Kosta added.

Babstock is the reigning ECAC Player of the Year and, so far this season, is following it up with another stellar performance. She leads the Bobcats with 10 goals and 12 assists. As just a sophomore, Babstock is already Quinnipiac’s all-time leader in points.

As for Kosta, she is putting together a fine first season in Hamden, Conn., compiling three goals and 12 assists.

Last Tuesday, the Bobcats earned a huge overtime victory on the road over Boston College after Babstock and Kosta combined for the game-tying goal with just 10 seconds left.

This past weekend, the Bobcats earned their second consecutive Nutmeg Classic championship with a 3-2 victory over Robert Morris, in which the two players were involved in all three goals. Kosta assisted on a Babstock power-play tally in the first, and in the third they both earned assists on the game-winning goal.

With a four-point weekend, Babstock earned the tournament’s MVP, something that Kosta admires.

“It was a nice trophy and I wanted it,” said Kosta. “But on a serious note, it inspires me to work hard so that I can achieve my goals and become a better player.”

When asked to describe his two leading scorers using one word each, fourth-year head coach Rick Seeley uses “competitive” and “devoted.”

“They both constantly have been close to our expectations, but they both continue to show immense potential for further growth,” explained Seeley. “They are both driven to get better and based on who they are; I fully expect that to happen.”

The Bobcats are currently in the thick of things in the ECAC, sitting in second place at 5-2-1 (9-7-1 overall). They will skate this weekend against Brown and Yale.

Game of the Week

Boston College at Maine, Friday and Saturday

The fourth-ranked Eagles are two points ahead of the Black Bears for first place in the Hockey East standings; so needless to say, this is a huge weekend series at home for Maine.

Maine has only lost once, going 3-1-4, since beating Boston College in Chestnut Hill on Oct. 30, and is looking to win the season series from the Eagles for the first time since 2003-04.

This is not only a matchup of two squads that rank in the top three in scoring offense in Hockey East, but also rank in the top four in scoring defense.

Around the region

Brown (3-3-5, 1-2-3 ECAC) earned the 17th Annual Mayor’s Cup with a victory over Providence last Friday as head coach Amy Bourbeau (Coventry, R.I.) returned to her alma mater … Connecticut (3-12-2, 2-5-0 WHEA) earned third place at the Nutmeg Classic over the weekend and will try to climb up the standings with a pair of games at Vermont … Maine (9-5-4, 4-3-1 WHEA) took home two wins last week, 5-2 over Vermont and 3-0 against New Hampshire, to set up big home weekend vs. BC … UNH (6-9-2, 0-5-1 WHEA) snapped a five-game losing streak with a win over Princeton on Saturday and followed it on Tuesday with an overtime triumph against Union … Providence (7-8-3, 5-3-1 WHEA) has a chance to put some distance between themselves and the middle of the pack with a home-and-home against BU this weekend … Sacred Heart (0-8, independent) will battle Division 3 Williams College at home on Saturday as the Pioneers continue the transition to Division 1. … Vermont (3-10-4, 2-6-0 WHEA) stopped its six-game slide with a 3-0 win against Colgate, and will try to build on it against UConn at home … Yale (1-12-0, 1-5-0 ECAC) will hold “White Out For Mandi” this Friday, utilizing the game against Princeton as a fundraiser for the Mandi Schwartz Foundation.

New England power ratings

1. Boston College (10-4-1, 5-2-1 WHEA) ... The Eagles hold the top spot in New England after a 2-1 week of non-league action. They dropped an overtime decision to an emerging Quinnipiac team before taking care of Princeton and Brown, 6-1 and 3-1, respectively.

2. Northeastern (10-4-0, 5-2-0 WHEA) ... It was a light week for the 10th-ranked Huskies as they only traveled north to take on, and lose, to Dartmouth. Before they battle struggling New Hampshire this weekend, they deal with BU on Wednesday evening.

3. Boston University (9-6-1, 4-1-0 WHEA) ... The seventh-ranked Terriers were over-matched on the road against No. 3 Cornell, losing two games by a combined score of 10-2. Hard to penalize them for playing a tough schedule, but they need to re-focus Wednesday against Northeastern.

4. Dartmouth (9-7-1, 5-2-1 ECAC) … After not scoring a goal for 10 periods, the Big Green tallied three in the final 30 minutes at Harvard and then carried momentum into an OT victory over Northeastern.

5. Harvard (5-4-0, 5-2-0 ECAC) ... Rough week for the Crimson, losing three straight at home and dropping out of the Top 10. They lost a one-goal lead to Dartmouth mid-week before hanging tough with No. 2 Minnesota in a 2-1 loss Saturday. The Gophers exploded for seven goals though in Sunday’s finale.

Scott Sudikoff can be reached at feedback@hockeyjournal.com.