Last Games Before Break Take Yale to Princeton, Quinnipiac

Tara Tomimoto. (photo by Sam Rubin '95, Yale Sports Publicity)

Bulldogs' Last Games for a Month

NEW HAVEN, Conn. – The Yale women's ice hockey team will not have a chance to change the ECAC Hockey standings for more than a month after this Saturday, because following the game at Quinnipiac that day Yale will not play another league game until Jan. 7. That adds a sense of urgency to this weekend's games, which also include a visit to Princeton Friday afternoon.

Yale (3-7-2, 2-3-1 ECAC Hockey) currently has the eighth-best winning percentage in the conference. With only eight playoff spots to go around, every point matters for the Bulldogs in their quest to return to the postseason for the first time since 2008. Princeton (3-9-1, 3-5-1 ECAC Hockey) is right behind Yale with the ninth-best winning percentage in the conference. Quinnipiac (11-6-1, 4-5-0 ECAC Hockey) is right ahead of the Bulldogs with the seventh-best winning percentage in the conference.

The Bulldogs' roster is heavy with freshmen and sophomores (15 of the 22 active players), and just 12 games into Joakim Flygh's tenure as head coach the team has made many positive strides. This past weekend in the Nutmeg Classic Yale knocked off UConn, which had won the three previous Classics, 5-2 in the first round of the tournament. But the Bulldogs could not carry that momentum over into Saturday, falling to Quinnipiac 2-1 in the championship game.

Senior goaltender Jackee Snikeris (Downingtown, Pa.), who had missed seven games due to injury, returned this past weekend. She wasted no time in adding to her already impressive resume, making 69 saves in two games to claim the Laurie Belliveau Award as the top goaltender at the Nutmeg Classic. She was also named ECAC Hockey Goalie of the Week for her efforts.

Snikeris' return comes as the Yale offense is starting to gel as well. The Bulldogs have put 30 or more shots on goal in four of their last five games; they did that just once in the first seven games. They have scored 14 goals in that five-game span (including four from senior forward Bray Ketchum (Greenwich, Conn.) and three from freshman forward Jackie Raines (London, Ont.)) after scoring just eight in their first seven games. Ketchum is +7 in that span, and sophomore defenseman Tara Tomimoto (Calgary, Alta.) is +5.

Princeton is winless (0-5-1) in its last six games, but four of those games were against ranked teams. The Tigers are coming off a 2-1 loss to No. 5 BU this past Saturday. Goalie Rachel Weber made 29 saves in that one. She has started the last six games, after Cassie Seguin started the first seven. Weber has a .904 save percentage and a 2.81 goals-against average, while Seguin is at .917 and 2.59.

Three forwards are tied for Princeton's team lead in goals with three: Sally Butler, Denna Laing and Corey Stearns. Forward Olivia Mucha and defenseman Sasha Sherry are tied for the team lead with five assists each.

Quinnipiac, which hosts Brown Friday, has won six of nine following a four-game winless streak. Forward Kelly Babstock broke the school record for assists and points in a season last weekend. She leads the country in points (33), is second in the country in assists (18) and is tied for third in the country in goals (15). Babstock was named ECAC Hockey Rookie of the Week after scoring two goals and adding four assists for a school-record six points in the Bobcats' win over Sacred Heart in the opening round of the Nutmeg Classic. Forward Kate Wheeler, who had the game-winner against the Bulldogs in the Nutmeg Classic championship game, was named ECAC Hockey Player of the Week.

Quinnipiac goalie Victoria Vigilanti made 22 saves to beat the Bulldogs last Saturday. For the season, she has a .928 save percentage and a 1.87 goals-against average.

After Saturday's game, Yale is off until Jan. 3, when the Bulldogs host No. 6 BC at Ingalls Rink. Yale's next ECAC Hockey game is Jan. 7 against No. 1 Cornell.

Friday, 4 p.m. at Princeton:

Saturday, 4 p.m. at Quinnipiac:

 

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

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