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New Year Starts with Visits to Ingalls from Hockey East Duo

Alyssa Zupon. (photo by Sam Rubin '95, Yale Sports Publicity)
Alyssa Zupon. (photo by Sam Rubin '95, Yale Sports Publicity)

No. 9 Northeastern, Vermont at The Whale This Weekend

NEW HAVEN, Conn. - The Yale women's hockey team will get the New Year started quickly, taking the ice just 15 hours into 2010. The Bulldogs host No. 9 Northeastern Friday at 3 p.m., then host Vermont Saturday at 3 p.m.  Both games can be seen live via Yale All-Access on Chelsea Janes '12 will handle the play-by-play.

The games are part of a stretch of four games against Hockey East opponents before Yale (3-8-2, 2-7-1 ECAC Hockey) finishes out the regular season with 12 games against ECAC Hockey teams. The Bulldogs will travel to Boston to play at BU and at BC next weekend. Yale has already played two Hockey East teams, tying Providence 2-2 in the season opener and falling to Connecticut 6-1 in the Nutmeg Classic championship game at the end of November.

The Bulldogs had two of their best performances of the season right before break, tying then-No. 6/7 Cornell 2-2 and beating Colgate 3-0 on the road. The shutout against the Raiders was the 10th career whitewashing for junior goalie Jackee Snikeris (Downingtown, Pa.), who made 81 saves for the weekend. If the past is any indication there is much more in store from her this season, since this is normally the time of the year when she does her best work. For her career, she has a better save percentage (.941 to .908), goals-against average (1.58 to 2.60) and winning percentage (.618 to .420) in the second half of the season as compared to the first half. Seven of her 10 career shutouts have come in the second half of the season.

Yale's success in the second half of the season also rests heavily on the contributions from the freshmen class, which -- at eight members -- is the largest on the team. That group showed signs of getting over the learning curve in the first half, as they combined for 13 points in the last eight games after totaling just one point (an assist by defenseman Tara Tomimoto (Calgary, Alta.)) in the first five games. Forward Alyssa Zupon (Basking Ridge, N.J.) has taken over the team lead in assists by getting five in the last four games. Forward Danielle Moncion (Round Lake Center, Ont.) has four points -- a goal and three assists -- and a team-best +3 rating in the last eight games.

Sophomore forward Aleca Hughes (Westwood, Mass.) had the game-winning goal for Yale in last season's 2-0 win over Northeastern at Matthews Arena. With seven points for the season (5-2-7), Hughes is third behind junior forward Bray Ketchum (Greenwich, Conn.) (6-3-9) and senior forward Caroline Murphy (Woodstock, Conn.) (5-3-8) on the team's scoring leaders.

Northeastern (10-4-2, 6-3-2-1 Hockey East) last played Dec. 4, falling to BC 3-2 in overtime. Goalie Florence Schelling, a member of the Swiss National Team who played in the 2006 Olympics, had 29 saves in that game and has a .960 save percentage (second in the country) and a 1.12 goals-against average (third in the country) for the season. The Huskies lead the nation in scoring defense, averaging only 1.19 goals against per game. Northeastern has surrendered one goal or less in 11 of 16 games this season. Forward Alyssa Wohlfeiler leads the team in scoring (8-5-13).

Northeastern has lost four straight to Yale, including back-to-back shutouts by Snikeris, and the Huskies have not scored on the Bulldogs in 129:03. Yale head coach Hilary Witt is a 2001 Northeastern grad and holds the school records for career goals (113) and points (208).

Vermont (5-11-1, 1-7-1-0 Hockey East), which lost to Dartmouth 4-2 Wednesday night, is winless in its last seven games (0-6-1). The Catamounts have been shut out three times in that span, and seven times for the season. That included three straight shutout losses at one point, with two to Schelling and Northeastern. Forward Kailey Nash leads the team in scoring (8-4-12), followed by forward Chelsea Furlani (5-6-11). Kristen Olychuk has played every minute in goal. She has a .895 save percentage and a 2.53 goals-against average.

After Saturday's game against the Catamounts, the weekend isn't over for two of Yale's players. Ketchum and Snikeris will play for the ECAC Hockey All-Stars on Sunday at TD Bank Sports Center in Hamden, Conn., as the U.S. Women's Olympic Team is in town for an exhibition game.

Report by Sam Rubin '95 (, Yale Sports Publicity