Unbeaten Streak Faces Test at Colgate, No. 2 Cornell

Heather Grant. (photo by Sam Rubin '95, Yale Sports Publicity)
Heather Grant. (photo by Sam Rubin '95, Yale Sports Publicity)

Bulldogs Coming Off Five-Point Week

NEW HAVEN, Conn. – A string of five games in nine days brings the 2010-11 regular season to a rapid-fire close for the Yale women's ice hockey team. The stretch begins Friday night at Colgate, where the Bulldogs put a three-game unbeaten streak on the line. Yale then visits No. 2 Cornell Saturday afternoon.

Yale (7-14-3, 6-9-2 ECAC Hockey, t-9th) is coming off a five-point week that included shutout wins at Brown and Union, plus a third-period rally for a 2-2 tie at RPI. The Bulldogs have totaled 13 goals in their last four games, their most productive four-game stretch since Nov. 27-Dec. 5 of 2009. Freshman forward Jenna Ciotti (Manotick, Ont.) has played a big part in that, and her six-point, five-goal week earned her ECAC Hockey's MLX Skates Player and Rookie of the Week Awards on Tuesday. Ciotti, who had the first hat trick by a Yale player in four years Friday against Union, has scored 11 points in her last 12 games.

Freshman forward Jackie Raines (London, Ont.) also had a six-point week, with two goals and four assists. She and Ciotti are now tied for the team lead in goals with eight, and Raines is tied with senior forward Bray Ketchum (Greenwich, Conn.) for the team lead in points with 17.

All told, Yale's freshmen have scored 20 goals, tying for the third-most among freshmen classes in the conference. The Bulldogs have also been relying heavily on sophomores as well. Sophomore forward Alyssa Zupon (Basking Ridge, N.J.) has four assists in the last four games, and with seven helpers on the season she trails only Ketchum (10) and Raines (nine) in that category. Zupon has also won 69 of 103 face-offs over the last five games.

Scoring from the defense has also helped Yale lately, as junior blue liner Heather Grant (Toronto, Ont.) has a pair of goals and an assist during the Bulldogs' three-game unbeaten streak. Sophomore defensemen Emily DesMeules (North Pomfret, Vt.) and Jamie Gray (Calgary, Alta.), along with senior defenseman Samantha MacLean (Mississauga, Ont.), have also picked up points during the streak.

Senior goalie Jackee Snikeris (Downingtown, Pa.), who is seventh in the country with a .939 save percentage that puts her on pace to break the school single-season record in that category, made 33 saves the last time the Bulldogs faced Colgate, a 3-1 Yale win. An early goal by the Raiders' Rachel Walsh was negated less than 30 seconds later by a goal from junior forward Aleca Hughes (Westwood, Mass.). Goals by Ciotti and Ketchum in the second period provided the winning margin.

Yale currently sits tied for ninth in the standings, two points behind eighth-place St. Lawrence for the final ECAC Hockey playoff spot.

Colgate (9-17-3, 6-10-2 ECAC Hockey, t-9th) recently emerged from a 2-7-2 skid to post a pair of wins and a tie in its last four games. The Raiders have a pair of sophomore forwards tied for the team lead in goals with 12, Jenna Klynstra and Brittany Phillips. Goalie Kimberly Sass has a .903 save percentage and a 2.76 goals-against average.

Cornell (23-1-1, 17-0-1 ECAC Hockey, 1st) has already clinched the ECAC Hockey regular season title, as the Big Red has a nine-point lead over second-place Harvard with four games to go. Since a 4-3 overtime loss at No. 5 Mercyhurst on Nov. 2, Cornell has gone 19-0-1, with an 18-game winning streak that was snapped by a 3-3 overtime tie at Clarkson last Friday.

The Big Red leads the nation in scoring defense, allowing 0.80 goals per game. Cornell is also third in the country in scoring offense, averaging 4.48 goals per game.

Friday, 7 p.m. at Colgate:

Saturday, 4 p.m. at No. 2 Cornell:


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