Yale Falls in Finale at No. 8 Harvard

Aleca Hughes. (photo by Sam Rubin '95, Yale Sports Publicity)
Aleca Hughes. (photo by Sam Rubin '95, Yale Sports Publicity)

Bulldogs Wrap Up 2011-12

NEW HAVEN, Conn. – The 2011-12 season came to an end for the Yale women's ice hockey team at Harvard's Bright Hockey Center Saturday afternoon, and fittingly a senior was at the center of a valiant effort. Goalie Genny Ladiges made 43 saves in the final game at Yale for her and her fellow seniors -- forward Lauren Davis, defenseman Heather Grant and forward Aleca Hughes. It was the 10th time this season Ladiges, who finished second in ECAC Hockey in saves with 849 for the season, made 40 or more saves in a game. Harvard forward Lyndsey Fry had four goals to make the difference in the game, a 4-0 Harvard victory.

A penalty on the Bulldogs enabled Harvard to take the lead at 8:01 of the first, as Fry was camped out in front of the net and deflected in a shot by defenseman Josephine Pucci.

Just 20 seconds later Harvard forward Kalley Armstrong missed a chance at an open net when the puck got past Ladiges, and right after that a Crimson penalty gave Yale its first power play. But Harvard goalie Laura Bellamy made the save on a shot by Grant. Two minutes after the Harvard penalty expired Bellamy made another nice save, denying Hughes after Hughes chased down a loose puck in the right circle and got off a wrister.

The Bulldogs fell behind 2-0 when forward Samantha Reber got tied up while trying a shot; the puck wound up sliding to a wide-open Fry at the left post.

Yale then had to kill off its first penalty of the game right after that goal. Forward Jillian Dempsey hit the post with a shot from the left circle, and Ladiges gloved the rebound out of the air. Another Crimson shot hit the post 40 seconds later, and Ladiges followed up with a pair of saves.

The Crimson offense turned up the pressure as the period wore on, but Ladiges continued to keep her team in the game. She came up with one of her best saves when a wide-open Reber got the puck just outside the slot with 30 seconds left. Reber tried spinning around and backhanding one in, but Ladiges denied her. The Yale netminder tacked on one more save before the period ended to finish with an even 20.

The second period was more evenly played, but the Bulldogs were hurt by their inability to score on any of their five power play chances in that frame -- and the fact that they gave up a short-handed goal on one of them, as Fry finished her hat trick with a tally at 7:59.

Ladiges continued making spectacular saves, including one where she was down on the ice but somehow denied Armstrong after Armstrong walked in all alone on net.

Right after Fry's short-handed goal, Yale had more than a minute of 5-on-3. Hughes sent one shot wide and had another one blocked. Dempsey then had a short-handed breakaway but hit the post. Bellamy gloved a shot by junior defenseman Jamie Gray, and junior defenseman Natalie Wedell had a shot blocked. A pass attempt by freshman forward Stephanie Mock was then broken up and the puck was cleared, ending the two-man advantage for the Bulldogs.

The Bulldogs had to kill off a penalty of their own 11 minutes into the period. Junior forward Danielle Moncion's forechecking helped keep the puck in the Harvard zone for much of the kill. Ladiges swallowed up a wrister from Reber, then slid over to deny a one-timer by Dempsey to finish off the Harvard power play.

Another penalty on the Crimson with less than six minutes to play in the period helped Yale remain on the attack. Wedell skated in from the left side and sent a backhander just wide of the net. Bellamy then made a kick save on a shot by Mock to finish off another successful Harvard penalty kill.

Another Yale power play went for naught in the final four minutes of the second, and the Bulldogs went into the third still trailing 3-0.

Ladiges made some more great saves right out of the gate in the third, including one on a 2-on-1 for Armstrong and forward Kaitlin Spurling. Junior defenseman Emily DesMeules helped out by getting to the rebound at the post before Harvard could stuff it in.

Fry added another one with a tricky backhander that banged in off the post with 11:43 to play.

Ladiges tacked on one more for the highlight reel when the Crimson had another 2-on-1 during a Yale power play. She slid over to deny defenseman Marissa Gedman, who was all alone in front after taking a feed from Fry. Ladiges followed that up with a save on Dempsey as well. Bellamy knocked aside a shot from Hughes in the waning seconds to finish off the shutout.

After the game the Bulldogs headed to a CWHL game between the Boston Blades and the Burlington Barracudas at Burbank Arena in Reading, Mass.  The game is a fundraiser for the Mandi Schwartz Foundation, the charity started by Hughes in memory of former Yale center Mandi Schwartz '10 (1988-2011) and her courageous battle with cancer. Former Bulldog Bray Ketchum '11 and Yale assistant coach Jessica Koizumi both play for the Blades.

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