January 2, 2010

Pluses All Around as DesMeules, Ladiges Help Yale Top Vermont 3-1

Different On-Ice Combos for All Three Bulldog Goals

NEW HAVEN, Conn. - The Yale women's hockey team spread the wealth efficiently Saturday afternoon in a 3-1 win over Vermont at Ingalls Rink. The Bulldogs got goals from three different players -- including the first career goal from freshman defenseman Emily DesMeules -- and also got assists from four different players. There were completely different player combinations on the ice for all three tallies, so all told 15 different skaters were out there for a goal and 11 players finished with a +1 rating. The one constant on the ice all game was sophomore goalie Genny Ladiges, who made 19 saves for the win.

"That was very encouraging," Yale head coach Hilary Witt said of the depth of the contributions Friday. "It was nice that everybody stepped up and contributed something positive."

Vermont (5-12-1, 1-7-1-0 Hockey East) got on the scoreboard first, taking advantage of a loose puck in the Yale crease. Ladiges could not control a pass in front, and after she dove to the ice to try to cover the puck the Catamounts kept it alive as a pile of players poured in around the fallen Yale goalie. Forward Chelsea Furlani was able to eventually push the puck in at 7:32.

Yale (4-9-2, 2-7-1 ECAC Hockey) got its first power play of the game with 6:04 left in the period but was unable to capitalize, and Ladiges had to make a nice save on a backhanded attempt by forward Kailey Nash right as the Catamount penalty ended.

As time wound down in the first the Bulldogs were finally able to get the equalizer thanks to some excellent forechecking. Sophomore forward Becky Mantell forced Vermont to turn the puck over along the boards, and she fed freshman forward Danielle Moncion coming out of the corner. Moncion sent the puck up top to DesMeules, who had the time and space to tee up a shot that beat Vermont goalie Caitlin Whitlock high, ricocheting off the crossbar and in with just 32 seconds left before intermission.

That was the first career score for DesMeules, who happens to be a native of Vermont (North Pomfret).

"Emily has been working very hard," Witt said. "I think everybody on our bench could see that spot open up, and she hit it with that shot. You could tell by the reaction that everyone was very happy for her."

 The second period was largely uneventful, without even a single penalty call, but the Bulldogs took advantage of their best opportunity to break the 1-1 tie. The sequence started with junior forward Bray Ketchum winning a faceoff in the Catamount zone, which enabled sophomore forward Aleca Hughes to set up junior defenseman Samantha MacLean for a blast from the blue line. Whitlock stopped that one, but Hughes went into the corner and retrieved the rebound. She sent it back up top to MacLean, who instead of shooting this time slid the puck across the ice to senior defenseman Alyssa Clarke for a shot on net. With her back to the net, freshman forward Alyssa Zupon deflected the shot low in the right circle and it went right to Hughes all alone on the far post with Whitlock out of position. Hughes buried it for a 2-1 Yale lead at 12:35. It was her sixth goal of the season, tying Ketchum for the team lead.

"That was a nice play by Clarkie to get a low, hard shot on the net, and a good job by Zupon to deflect it," Witt said. "Aleca was in the perfect spot to finish it off."

The Bulldogs then got an insurance goal early in the third period thanks to some nice hustle. Freshman forward Jen Matichuk's clearing pass out of the Yale zone sailed just out of the reach of freshman forward Natalie Wedell at the Bulldog blue line. But Wedell chased after it, and as she and two Catamount defenders converged in the Vermont end Whitlock came out of the net to play the puck. With Wedell bearing down on her, though, all Whitlock could do was quickly attempt to send the puck to the side boards to her left. Senior defenseman Berit Johnson was following the play and that pass wound up going right to her for a wrister into the upper right corner of the net at 3:18.

Vermont had its best chance to get back in the game when the Bulldogs were hit with a five-minute major for hitting from behind with 11:50 remaining. Right after that penalty began the officials signaled another Yale penalty, and the Catamounts instinctively tried to avoid playing the puck in order for Yale to touch it up and maximize the 5-on-3 time -- even though there were still more than four minutes left in the first Bulldog penalty anyway. Compounding that minor error -- which enabled Yale to run a few more seconds off the penalty before touching the puck -- after the whistle blew a Vermont player shoved Zupon from behind and got a hitting after the whistle penalty that negated the 5-on-3.

Yale still had to kill off the remaining minutes of the 5-on-4, however. But penalty killing has turned into a Bulldog strength in the last few games, and by the end of the last penalty in Saturday's game Yale had killed off 14 straight. In addition to the work of veteran penalty killers like Clarke, Hughes, Ketchum and MacLean, the killing of the five-minute major also included extensive work from a unit that featured three freshmen -- Moncion, defenseman Jamie Gray and defenseman Tara Tomimoto -- and a sophomore (Mantell).

"The important thing was when we got that penalty the bench didn't panic," Witt said. "Once we got through the first couple minutes we gained even more confidence."

That PK also included a pair of saves by Ladiges, who then capped her impressive day by denying a breakaway chance for Nash with two minutes to play. Ladiges is now 2-1 in the games she has started in place of junior Jackee Snikeris this season.

"Genny was solid, and she has taken advantage of her opportunities to play," Witt said.

Snikeris, who made 22 saves against No. 9 Northeastern Friday night, will be back in action on Sunday at TD Bank Sports Center in Hamden. She and Ketchum are part of the ECAC Hockey All-Star Team that is taking on the U.S. Women's Olympic Team as part of the Qwest Tour in preparation for the upcoming Winter Games.

Yale returns to action Friday at BU.

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

Video: Emily DesMeules' First Career Goal

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