Yale Goalie Sets Career High in Saves
NEW HAVEN, Conn. – Facing a No. 6 BC team that featured a pair of Olympians, Yale senior goalie Jackee Snikeris very nearly stole the show Monday night at Ingalls Rink. She made a career high 49 saves, and kept her team in the game until an empty-netter with a minute to play sealed a 3-1 victory for the Eagles.
Snikeris' previous career high in saves was 46, and she tied that with just under six minutes to play in the game. She then set the mark by gloving a slap shot by forward Ashley Motherwell on a power play with 3:52 left. The Eagles finished with 52 shots on goal, the most Yale has allowed in a game in nearly three years.
"This was by far the best game I've seen her play," said Yale head coach Joakim Flygh, who in addition to coaching Snikeris this season coached against her for the previous three years when he was an assistant at Harvard. "She gave us an opportunity to be in a game where we were, in many ways, outplayed. We were fortunate to have her."
The Eagles' two Olympians included forward Kelly Stack -- who factored into both the empty-net goal and BC's first goal -- and goalie Molly Schaus, who made 17 saves.
The Eagles had a pair of near-misses in the first two minutes. On one, Snikeris got a piece of a shot but it deflected off her and fell on the ice behind her. She was able to quickly turn around and cover it up before it crossed the goal line. On the face-off after that a BC shot hit the post.
The Eagles broke through at the 3:09 mark on a faceoff that Stack won back to defenseman Blake Bolden, whose shot from the left point eluded a screened Snikeris. After that she settled in nicely, and finished with 17 saves for the period.
The Bulldogs got a power play shortly after the BC goal, and got their first shot on goal when junior forward Aleca Hughes tried backhanding in a shot by junior defenseman Heather Grant that had been blocked. Schaus stopped that one, and later in the period denied a slap shot by Hughes during an odd-man rush. The Bulldogs finished the first period with just five shots on goal.
BC (12-3-4, 6-1-2 Hockey East) got another goal early in the second period, as forward Danielle Welch banged in the rebound of a shot by forward Mary Restuccia during a 2-on-1. The Bulldogs got their second power play of the game two and half minutes later, but forward Taylor Wasylk -- one of five BC players just back from USA Hockey's Women's Holiday Camp -- turned in a dominant shift that left Yale scrambling to avoid a short-handed goal. After being denied on a rush, Wasylk backhanded a shot just over the cross bar. She then set up Restuccia with a perfect pass, and Snikeris had to range far out of the crease to cover up that shot and keep the Bulldogs within two.
The end of the second featured a pair of scary moments for the Bulldogs, as the final minute saw two players leave the ice with injuries after separate collisions. The first was junior forward Lauren Davis, and she would wind up missing the remainder of the game. That dealt a blow to her line (with freshman forward Ashley Dunbar and sophomore forward Danielle Moncion) on a night where that trio was at their best. In addition to constantly disrupting BC's attack, they combined for five shots on goal.
"Lauren Davis played a great game, probably the best game I've seen her play in a Yale uniform," Flygh said. "I thought our third line was awesome today. They did all the things we ask them to do, and if they keep doing that they will really help us be successful."
Right after Davis left, the Bulldogs temporarily lost an offensive sparkplug when freshman forward Jenna Ciotti had to be helped off after a hard hit at center ice. But Ciotti was back for the start of the third period, when the Bulldogs made the game interesting. Three minutes in she set up senior forward Bray Ketchum -- who had hit the post a minute before -- for a shot that Schaus stopped. But freshman forward Jackie Raines knocked in the rebound to pull the Bulldogs within one.
A penalty on Yale (4-9-2, 3-4-1 ECAC Hockey) with 15:26 to play really put Snikeris to the test, as she had to stop five Eagle power-play shots. Schaus answered 10 minutes later with one of her best saves, quickly sticking aside a backhander by Dunbar from the slot. That wound up being Yale's last, best chance to tie the game. After the faceoff when Snikeris gloved her 49th save with 1:09 to play, the Bulldogs sent the puck into the BC zone and pulled her for an extra attacker. But before Yale could set up on offense the Eagles came right back down the ice, and Stack fed Wasylk for the empty-netter that made the final 3-1.
Coming off a span of no games for a month, one thing the Bulldogs can take away from Monday is that they showed they are capable of playing with one of the best teams in the country. With no more non-league games on the schedule, they face a major ECAC Hockey challenge Friday night when Cornell, ranked No. 1 in the most recent USA Today/USA Hockey Magazine poll, comes to Ingalls Rink. Putting a team like BC on the schedule is designed to make sure the Bulldogs are ready for whatever conference play has in store for them.
"It helps us," Flygh said. "BC is definitely the quickest team we've played so far. We had to knock the rust off really quickly and figure out a way to compete. Now we've got to turn around and play an equally talented team in Cornell."
Report by Sam Rubin '95 (firstname.lastname@example.org), Yale Sports Publicity