Yale Hosts 6th Annual Nutmeg Classic Tournament

Yale Hosts 6th Annual Nutmeg Classic Tournament

Bulldogs Have Played in Championship Game Four Times

NEW HAVEN, Conn. - Yale hosts the sixth annual Nutmeg Classic tournament at newly renovated Ingalls Rink this weekend, bringing together the four women's Division I hockey teams in Connecticut (the Nutmeg State). The Bulldogs play Sacred Heart at 4 p.m. Friday, followed by UConn playing Quinnipiac at 7 p.m. The consolation game is 4 p.m. Saturday and the championship is 7 p.m. Both Yale games can be seen live on Yale All-Access, and audio will be available on wybc.com. Ron Vaccaro '04 will handle the play-by-play. Live stats will also be available on yalebulldogs.com.

Yale (1-7-1, 1-7-0 ECAC Hockey) has played in the Nutmeg Classic championship game four times in the five previous years, including winning the championship the last time the Classic was played at Ingalls Rink (December of 2006, when the Bulldogs beat UConn 3-0 in the first game and then beat Quinnipiac 7-3 for the title). In each of the past two seasons, Yale has lost to UConn by one goal in the championship game. All told, the Huskies have won the title three times while Quinnipiac and Yale have won it once each.

With four goals in the last three games, the Bulldogs are gradually coming out of a slump that saw them score just two goals in the five games right before that. Senior forward Caroline Murphy (Pomfret, Conn.) has the team lead in scoring with three goals and one assist. Murphy, Yale's captain, scored both goals in the Bulldogs' last win, a 2-1 victory at Union Nov. 14. Her line mates, sophomore forward Becky Mantell (Princeton, N.J.) and freshman forward Danielle Moncion (Round Lake Center, Ont.), have each registered their first career point in the last four games: Mantell with an assist at Union, Moncion with a goal at RPI. That coincides with the three being put together on the same line.

Junior forward Bray Ketchum (Greenwich, Conn.) and sophomore forward Aleca Hughes (Westwood, Mass.) each have a pair of goals. Those two along with Moncion and Murphy have accounted for all eight of Yale's goals this season.

Sophomore Genny Ladiges (Almonte, Ont.) has gotten the start in goal in two of the last three games, including a win over Union and a 31-save effort vs. Dartmouth. Junior goalie Jackee Snikeris (Downingtown, Pa.) has started the other six games. Snikeris won the Laurie Belliveau Award at last year's Nutmeg Classic, posting a .927 save percentage as the Bulldogs beat Quinnipiac 2-0 but fell to UConn 3-2. The award is named after former Yale All-American Laurie Belliveau '98.

Sacred Heart (1-7-0) has been scoring goals with regularity, including 11 in the last three games - but the Pioneers have lost two of those three games because they have also given up 13 in that span. Forward Lauren Fontaine leads the team in scoring with four goals and three assists. In goal, Emily Siira has started five games and has a .868 save percentage and a 4.83 goals against average. Raelene Sydor (.822, 6.56) has made three starts.

UConn (5-5-3, 1-3-3 Hockey East) was shut out in back-to-back games against Boston College the last time it played, so the Huskies have not scored a goal since a 7-2 win at Maine Nov. 8. But the Huskies did put 75 shots on net in those two shutouts -- and they are outshooting their opponents by an average of five shots per game -- so odds are they will be able to find the back of the net sooner rather than later. Elisabeth Stathopoulos and Cristin Allen are tied for the team lead in scoring with nine points each. Michelle Binning leads the team in goals with five. Goalie Alexandra Garcia has a .903 save percentage and a 2.15 goals-against average.

Quinnipiac (6-4-4, 4-1-3 ECAC Hockey) has gone 4-1-3 in its last eight games, allowing its opponent more than one goal in a game just twice during that span. That included a 2-1 win at Yale in which goalie Victoria Vigilanti made 23 saves. She has a .939 save percentage (fifth in the country) and a 1.62 goals-against average (sixth in the country). Heather Hughes leads the team in scoring (7-4-11).

The winners of Friday's games play Saturday at 7 p.m., while the consolation game is at 4 p.m. Saturday.

 Report by Sam Rubin '95 (sam.rubin@yale.edu), Yale Sports Publicity