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No. 4 Lakers at the Whale for a Pair of Weekend Games

Jamie Gray. (photo by Sam Rubin '95, Yale Sports Publicity)
Jamie Gray. (photo by Sam Rubin '95, Yale Sports Publicity)

Bulldogs Play Another Nationally Ranked Opponent

NEW HAVEN, Conn. – Yale takes on one of the nation's women's ice hockey powerhouses this weekend as No. 4 Mercyhurst comes to Ingalls Rink. The Lakers, who advanced to the NCAA Quarterfinals last year and have made eight NCAA Tournament appearances overall, have gone 344-93-30 since their debut season (1999-2000). The Lakers will be the fourth team ranked in the current top six nationally that Yale has played this year, including a near-upset at No. 2 Cornell Oct. 27 in which the Bulldogs fell 3-2 on a third-period goal.

Yale (1-7-0, 1-5-0 ECAC Hockey) is coming off a trip to the North Country that saw the Bulldogs drop a pair of games. Senior defenseman Jamie Gray (Calgary, Alta.) scored her first career goal Friday in the 4-1 loss at No. 3 Clarkson. She is the fifth player on the Yale roster to score her first career goal this year, joining four freshmen: forward Hanna Åström (Örnsköldsvik, Sweden), forward Janelle Ferrara (Winthrop, Mass.), forward Jamie Haddad (Wilbraham, Mass.) and defenseman Kate Martini (King City, Ont.). Eight of Yale's 11 goals this season have come from the Class of 2016.

The Bulldogs and the Lakers have met 13 times, with Mercyhurst winning all but one: a 1-1 overtime tie Jan. 4, 2004 in which Sarah Love '06 made 39 saves and Nina Resor '07 scored Yale's goal.

Last year Yale traveled to Mercyhurst and dropped a pair of games despite stellar efforts from sophomore goaltender Jaimie Leonoff (Montreal, Que.). She came on in relief in the first game and made 52 saves, then followed that up with a 63-save effort the next day. All told she had a .920 save percentage for the weekend.

Leonoff has been similarly busy so far this season. She is currently third in the country in saves with 300, trailing only Danielle Butters of Minnesota State (348) and Nicole Paniccia of Penn State (347). Leonoff is 19th in the country in save percentage (.920) and has made 31 or more saves in every game, including a season-high 44 against Harvard on Nov. 3.

Mercyhurst (10-1-1) enters the weekend with a five-game winning streak, tied for the fourth-longest unbeaten streak in the country behind Minnesota (12 games) and Northeastern and St. Lawrence (six games). The Lakers have the third-best winning percentage in the country, trailing only Harvard (4-0-0) and Minnesota (12-0-0). They are also seventh in the country on the power play (18-70, .257). Forward Christine Bestland leads the nation in assists per game and is third in the country in points per game (9-22-31 in 12 games, 2.58). Mercyhurst is second in the country in scoring offense (4.92 goals per game).

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Report by Sam Rubin '95 (, Yale Sports Publicity

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