January 19, 2011

Chance to Make Move In Standings Awaits Yale in North Country

Bulldogs Visit Clarkson, St. Lawrence

NEW HAVEN, Conn. – Yale makes its furthest trip of the season this weekend, and the two teams awaiting the Bulldogs happen to be quite close to them in terms of the ECAC Hockey standings. The Bulldogs are currently tied for eighth with Clarkson, and they play the Golden Knights Friday night. One point ahead of both the Bulldogs and the Golden Knights is St. Lawrence, and the Bulldogs visit the Saints on Saturday afternoon.

The last time Yale played these two teams was Nov. 19-20 at Ingalls Rink, when the Bulldogs lost to the Saints 3-1 but bounced back to beat the Golden Knights 3-2 on an overtime goal by junior forward Aleca Hughes (Westwood, Mass.). With just five weekends left in the regular season, points in the conference standings are getting even more crucial. Yale and Clarkson are part of a three-way tie for the eighth and final playoff spot (with Colgate). They are six points behind the two teams tied for the fourth and final home-ice playoff spot (Princeton and RPI).

After last Wednesday's Yale-Brown game was postponed due to inclement weather, the Bulldogs and Bears now find themselves with games in hand on every other team in the conference. Ranking the ECAC Hockey teams by winning percentage in conference games, Yale (.450) sits in eighth place -- just ahead of Clarkson (.409) and just behind St. Lawrence (.455).

Yale (5-10-2, 4-5-1 ECAC Hockey, t-8th) has won three of its last five conference games, including a 3-1 win over Colgate last time out. Senior forward Bray Ketchum (Greenwich, Conn.) had a goal and two assists in that game, bringing her team-leading point total to 14 (six goals, eight assists). Hughes and freshman forward Jenna Ciotti (Manotick, Ont.) also scored.

Senior goalie Jackee Snikeris (Downingtown, Pa.) had 33 saves in the win over Colgate, capping a span of three games in which she made 111 saves. Her .934 save percentage for the season places her eighth in the country and second among ECAC Hockey goalies.

Clarkson (7-13-3, 4-6-1 ECAC Hockey, t-8th) goalie Erica Howe is also among the nation's save percentage leaders (.931, 10th). The Golden Knights have not helped her (or her counterpart Lauren Dahm, who has been part of a Friday/Saturday split with Howe each of the past two weekends) offensively, though. They have scored just 38 goals in 23 games. Forward Melissa Waldie leads the team in points (9-6-15). Clarkson has dropped four of its last five games.

St. Lawrence (10-11-2, 5-6-0 ECAC Hockey, 7th) just snapped a four-game losing streak with a 4-2 win over Dartmouth. Prior to that the Saints had been on an 8-2-1 tear, including a pair of wins over nationally ranked teams (No. 7 BC and No. 4 Mercyhurst). Forward Kelly Sabatine, who had two goals in the win over Dartmouth and was named ECAC Hockey Player of the Week, leads the team in scoring (11-9-20). Goalie Maxie Weisz made a season-high 34 saves against the Big Green, and has a .916 save percentage and a 2.49 goals-against average.

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