Snikeris Makes 37 Saves, Kennedy Scores First Goal
POTSDAM, N.Y. – Friday night's women's ice hockey game at Cheel Arena wound up turning into a battle between one of the best veteran goalies in ECAC Hockey and one of the best rookies. In the end, Clarkson freshman Erica Howe outdueled Yale senior Jackee Snikeris, as the Golden Knights got a goal from forward Melissa Waldie at 3:25 of overtime for a 2-1 win.
Friday's defensive struggle was not unexpected given that Snikeris entered the game eighth in the country in save percentage (.934) and Howe was 10th (.931). Earlier in the year, the Bulldogs had pulled out a 3-2 win in overtime on a goal by junior forward Aleca Hughes.
Snikeris' 37 saves kept Yale in Friday night's game despite a 39-24 shot edge for the Golden Knights, and when freshman defenseman Aurora Kennedy scored her first career goal with just under four minutes left in regulation it looked as if the Bulldogs could at least pull out a point in the standings from their visit to Cheel. But Waldie buried a shot just inside the upper right cross bar in overtime to give Clarkson the win.
Yale (5-11-2, 4-6-1 ECAC Hockey) found itself on the wrong end of a 5-on-3 just three minutes into the game, thanks to back-to-back penalties in a span of 13 seconds. Senior defenseman Samantha MacLean broke up a pass right in front of the Yale net and Hughes cleared it to end the first successful penalty killing shift. After Clarkson defenseman Hailey Wood sent a slap shot wide, senior forward Bray Ketchum was able to chase down an errant pass all the way at the other end of the ice, and that helped kill off the two-man advantage. Right after the Bulldogs got one skater back, Snikeris made a kick save on Clarkson forward Brittany Mulligan, then covered up the loose puck in the crease. When Ketchum chased down a loose puck after the face-off the Bulldogs finally got back to even strength.
Yale's first power play came at 6:38, but the Bulldogs' only shot was a high wrister by Ketchum. With eight minutes left in the period a turnover in front of the Yale net gave Clarkson forward Jamie Lee Rattray a golden chance, but she slid the puck wide. Ninety seconds later Waldie stole the puck in the slot and skated in for a backhander, but Snikeris closed up the five hole to deny her and keep the game scoreless.
Clarkson forward Daris Tendler broke up the duel between the two goalies by poking a shot past Snikeris with just 26 seconds left before the first intermission, and the Golden Knights went into the break with a 1-0 lead.
Clarkson (8-13-3, 5-6-1 ECAC Hockey) held a decisive edge in shots on goal in the second period, 12-6, but Snikeris stopped all 12 shots and the Bulldogs nearly made their limited chances count. Six minutes in, freshman forward Jenna Ciotti fed the puck in front, where junior forward Lauren Davis got a piece of it, but the deflected puck trickled just wide of the goal. Later in the period, a delayed penalty on the Knights gave freshman forward Jackie Raines a chance to flip a shot on goal that was saved, and Howe eventually covered the loose puck. During the ensuing power play Ketchum sent a wrister high, and the Bulldogs' best chance came when junior forward Alyssa Zupon spun around to put a backhander on net that wound up behind Howe. But Howe, unaware of where the puck was, inadvertently deflected it wide of the net with her skate. The Golden Knights maintained their 1-0 lead heading into the third period.
Snikeris started off the third by denying a series of shots by forward Juana Baribeau right at the doorstep, and the Bulldogs then started generating some offensive momentum while on their third power play of the game. After a shot by sophomore defenseman Jamie Gray was blocked and Ketchum had a shot deflected, Zupon got off a wrister while diving through the slot that went just wide. Howe then made saves on shots by Kennedy and Raines to kill off the penalty.
A face-off in the Yale zone gave Clarkson forward Gabrielle Kosziwka a wide-open Grade-A chance from point-blank range, but Snikeris denied the shot and covered up Kosziwka's attempt to poke in the rebound.
Kennedy's goal, assisted by Ciotti and Zupon, came shortly after that and gave the Bulldogs new life.
The final 30 seconds of regulation were not without a scare for Yale, as Baribeau came charging down the ice at Snikeris with only MacLean back, but MacLean stayed with her and forced her into a tough-angle shot that went wide.
Yale had its best chance of overtime when Hughes and Davis worked a give-and-go that enabled Hughes to get off a wrister from high in the slot that Howe was able to stop and cover with less than two minutes to play. Shortly after that Waldie got the game-winner.
The Bulldogs return to action Saturday afternoon at 4 p.m. at St. Lawrence.
Report by Sam Rubin '95 (firstname.lastname@example.org), Yale Sports Publicity