February 5, 2010

Dartmouth Tops Yale 6-3 to Tighten Up Playoff Race

Zupon Scores Two for Bulldogs

HANOVER, N.H. -  Facing the top-scoring offense in ECAC Hockey, the Yale women's hockey team hung within striking distance for nearly 55 minutes Friday night at Thompson Arena. But a pair of Dartmouth goals late in the third eventually proved too much, as the Big Green finished off with a 6-3 win. Yale had three power-play goals, including two from freshman forward Alyssa Zupon, but ultimately several missed opportunities -- including a goal that was waved off early in the third -- came back to haunt the Bulldogs.

The Big Green took an early 1-0 lead when forward Sarah Toupal snuck one past junior goaltender Jackee Snikeris at 3:42. Just 45 seconds later the Big Green had a great chance to extend that lead, as forward Sally Komarek walked the puck in for a shot from right in front, but Snikeris made a kick save to deny her.

Dartmouth goalie Mariel Lacina made her first big save of the night when freshman forward Danielle Moncion beat the Dartmouth defense off the left boards and skated through the slot for a backhander that Lacina gloved. The Big Green had a 2-on-1 developing the other way right after that, but junior defenseman Samantha MacLean deflected away Toupal's attempt to pass the puck to freshman forward Camille Dumais.

Senior forward Caroline Murphy drew an interference call on the Big Green at 9:19, and Yale took immediate advantage of the power play opportunity. Freshman defenseman Tara Tomimoto set up junior forward Bray Ketchum for a slap shot from the right point. Lacina made the save but left the rebound sitting to her right, where Zupon had two shots to knock it over the goal line. Her goal tied the score 1-1 at 9:45.

The Bulldogs had to kill off one penalty in the first. After a block by sophomore Aleca Hughes the Big Green kept the puck in the Yale zone, but a dangerous pass from behind the net sailed through the slot and onto the stick of sophomore forward Becky Mantell, who cleared it to the other end of the ice. Yale was eventually able to get a faceoff in the Dartmouth zone that Moncion won, enabling Hughes to take some valuable time off the clock by tying up the puck behind the Dartmouth goal. Moncion cleared away Dartmouth's first attempt to get the puck back in the Yale zone, and a clear by MacLean brought the penalty kill to a successful end.

Lacina and Snikeris both made some point-blank saves near the end of the first, Lacina turning aside a shot by Ketchum and her attempt at the rebound while Snikeris denied forward Jenna Cunningham, who pushed her way past a Yale defender to come out from behind the net for a shot from the doorstep. The period ended with the score tied 1-1.

Dartmouth (9-12-2, 6-10-1 ECAC Hockey) scored twice in the first 3:19 of the second, with goals by Toupal and Dumais giving the Big Green a 3-1 lead. The Bulldogs then had to kill off two penalties in a span of four minutes, with the second one leading to a short-handed breakaway for Ketchum that Lacina stopped. Snikeris came up with a big save midway through the period when a turnover gave forward Amanda Trunzo the chance to get off a shot from the slot even with sophomore forward Lauren Davis tying up her stick.

A penalty on the Big Green gave Yale the chance to creep closer, as once again Lacina left the rebound of a slap shot by Ketchum loose. This time senior defenseman Alyssa Clarke poked it in to make the score 3-2 Dartmouth at the 12:26 mark.

Yale (9-12-3, 7-9-1 ECAC Hockey) was about to have 1:11 of 5-on-3 late in the second, but a penalty on the Bulldogs brought that to an early end after a series of Bulldog shots were denied. Yale had another great opportunity to tie the game when Hughes was taken down from behind on a breakaway, resulting in penalty shot with 40.2 seconds left. Hughes beat Lacina on her glove side but her shot hit the crossbar and bounced harmlessly high into the air. The score remained 3-2 Dartmouth heading into the third.

Big Green forward Jenna Cunningham was able to jam in a loose puck with Snikeris down trying to cover it 2:11 into the third to give Dartmouth a two-goal cushion. That goal became even more important just 18 seconds later, when Zupon appeared to have knocked in a loose puck amidst a scrum in front of the net to get Yale right back within one. The officials immediately waved the goal off, ruling that the puck had been kicked.

Snikeris had to come up with a big save on forward Sarah Parsons to avoid a short-handed goal with 14:23 left, and 30 seconds later the Bulldogs once again scored on the power play. Tomimoto set up Ketchum for a shot and Zupon was there for the rebound at 6:06.

Snikeris got her pads down to deny forward Amanda Trunzo with 11 minutes to play, but shortly after that the Bulldogs were whistled for a penalty. Snikeris made a key kick save, then stopped the rebound attempt, and Clarke was able to clear the puck. A Dartmouth penalty right after that evened things up, but when Yale went on the power play two Bulldogs collided right outside the Yale zone and Snikeris had to stop defenseman Sasha Nanji's attempt at a short-handed goal.

Yale's last chance to tie came when Clarke sent a slap shot from the right point wide but the puck bounced off the boards behind the net right to Hughes at the far post. She had an open net, but the bouncing puck eluded her, and Dartmouth's lead remained intact. A minute later Parsons skated in and used the Yale defense as a screen to sneak a wrist shot past Snikeris for a 5-3 lead at 14:07.

Snikeris also had little chance of stopping Dartmouth's next shot, as Dumais skated in on a breakaway. The only other player near her as she deposited the back-breaking goal was her teammate Toupal.

Snikeris made one more great stop, closing up the pads on Trunzo's attempt to stuff in a pass from Parsons, and finished the game with 39 saves. Lacina made 29.

With the win, tenth-place Dartmouth moved to within two points of Yale for the eighth and final ECAC Hockey playoff spot. Ninth-place Colgate also won Friday night, 4-3 vs. Princeton, so the Raiders are one point behind the Bulldogs. Yale trails Princeton and Quinnipiac, who are tied for sixth place, by five points.

Yale plays at Harvard Saturday at 4 p.m.

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

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