Bulldogs Head to Upstate New York
NEW HAVEN, Conn. - The Yale women's hockey team has two more chances before break to pick up some points in the ECAC Hockey standings. The Bulldogs travel to No. 6/7 Cornell (Friday, 7 p.m.) and Colgate (Saturday, 4 p.m.) this weekend.
Yale (2-8-1, 1-7-0 ECAC Hockey) had its best offensive output in seven years last Friday in the first round of the Nutmeg Classic, beating Sacred Heart 10-1. The Bulldogs were unable to keep that momentum going the next night, falling to UConn 6-1 in the tournament championship game. Still, the last six games have seen some offensive progress. Senior forward Caroline Murphy (Woodstock, Conn.) had gone scoreless in the first five games of the year but has five goals and three assists since, taking over the team lead in points. That is also a career high in goals for Murphy. Her sophomore line mate Becky Mantell (Princeton, N.J.) has two goals and two assists in that span, the first points of her Yale career. The third member of that line, freshman Danielle Moncion (Round Lake Center, Ont.) has one goal and three assists in the last six games.
Besides that trio Yale's other top scorers are junior forward Bray Ketchum (Greenwich, Conn.) (4-2-6) and sophomore forward Aleca Hughes (Westwood, Mass.) (3-1-4).
In addition to their offensive prowess, Ketchum and Mantell have also been playing some disciplined hockey, with just one penalty each. Yale has dropped its penalty minutes per game down to 9.0, a significant decrease from a year ago (11.0) and 2007-08 (13.2). Only five teams in the country average fewer penalty minutes per game.
One of those teams is Cornell (7-4-1, 6-1-1 ECAC Hockey) (6.8 penalty minutes per game), which has also been one of the hottest teams in college hockey. After starting the season 0-2-0 and being outscored 8-2, the Big Red has gone 7-2-1 since and outscored its opponents 25-13. The team's four shutouts in that span included a 3-0 win over Dartmouth that was Cornell's first win over the Big Green since 1999 and its first shutout of Dartmouth since the 1996-97 season. Cornell leads the country in penalty killing (97.4 percent) and is third on the power play (21.3 percent).
The Big Red has illustrated how quickly a team can emerge as a national power in women's hockey. Just three years ago Cornell went 4-23-2, its sixth straight season with fewer than 10 wins. After improving to 12-17-1 in 2007-08 and 12-14-5 last year, the team is now in position to contend for a national title under fifth-year head coach Doug Derraugh.
Even more impressively, Cornell has progressed dramatically this season despite the fact that the team's leading scorer from a year ago -- forward Rebecca Johnston -- is away with Team Canada this year in preparation for the upcoming Olympics. In her place a pair of sophomore forwards, Catherine White (5-8-13) and Chelsea Karpenko (5-3-8), have emerged as the team's top scorers. Goalie Amanda Mazzotta is eighth in the country in goals-against average (1.67) and has a .917 save percentage.
White had the lone Big Red goal the last time these teams met, a 3-1 Yale win at Ingalls Rink in January. Sophomore defenseman Heather Grant (Toronto, Ont.) had a short-handed goal in the first period, and after a goal by Danielle Kozlowski '09 gave Yale a 2-1 lead in the third Ketchum put the game out of reach with an empty-netter. Sophomore goalie Genny Ladiges (Almonte, Ont.) made 25 saves for the win.
Colgate (3-11-3, 1-4-3 ECAC Hockey), which hosts Brown Friday night, is coming off a rough road trip to No. 1 Mercyhurst that saw the Raiders lose two games and give up 16 goals. They are now second-to-last in the country in scoring defense (allowing 3.94 goals per game) and penalty killing (74.4 percent). Forward Katie Stewart leads the team in scoring (9-8-17). Lisa Plenderleith (.874, 3.56) and Kimberly Sass (.857, 4.31) have split time in net.
The Raiders beat Yale twice last year en route to a school-record 19 wins.
Report by Sam Rubin '95 (firstname.lastname@example.org), Yale Sports Publicity