Bulldogs Face UConn in First Round
NEW HAVEN, Conn. – Hockey-starved fans can get their fill after Thanksgiving with four games at Ingalls Rink as Yale hosts the ninth annual Nutmeg Classic Friday and Saturday. The tournament features three women's ice hockey teams from Connecticut ("the Nutmeg State") -- Quinnipiac, UConn and Yale. This year, No. 5/6 BC is the fourth team.
Yale (1-9-0, 1-5-0 ECAC Hockey) has made six appearances in the Nutmeg Classic championship game in the previous eight years, winning the title in 2006. Last year a 1-0 loss to Robert Morris in the first round left the Bulldogs out of the championship game for the first time in six years. They fell to UConn 3-1 in the consolation game, with the lone goal coming from Aleca Hughes '12.
Sophomore goaltender Jaimie Leonoff (Montreal, Que.) made 28 saves in that game, and she is off to an even better start this season. She has made 31 or more saves in nine of Yale's 10 games, including a season high of 44 against Harvard. She has 362 saves for the season, trailing only Danielle Butters of Minnesota State (418) and Nicole Paniccia of Penn State (407) for the NCAA lead. Her .916 save percentage is an improvement of more than 50 percentage points over last year (.865).
Freshman forward Janelle Ferrara (Winthrop, Mass.) leads Yale in scoring (4-2-6). Two other freshmen, forward Jamie Haddad (Wilbraham, Mass.) and defenseman Kate Martini (King City, Ont.) are right behind her with five points.
Yale faces UConn (2-10-2, 1-5-0 Hockey East) in the first round Friday night at 7 p.m., and the Huskies are a familiar opponent. The Bulldogs faced UConn in the championship game three straight years from 2007 through 2009, and those same two teams also played for the inaugural championship in 2004. UConn won each of those matchups, and the meeting in the consolation round last year, but the Bulldogs did knock off the Huskies 5-2 in the first round of the 2010-11 tournament. All told, Yale is 2-6-0 vs. UConn in the Nutmeg Classic. The Huskies have won four tournament titles, the most of any school.
Two forwards, Michela Cava (5-5-10) and Kelly Horan (3-7-10), lead UConn in scoring. Elaine Chuli and Sarah Moses have split time in goal. Moses has a .911 save percentage, while Chuli has an .894 save percentage.
The other first-round matchup on Friday pits BC (6-3-2, 5-2-1 Hockey East) against Quinnipiac (7-5-2, 4-3-1 ECAC Hockey). The Eagles, playing in the Nutmeg Classic for the first time, bring in a seven-game unbeaten streak (5-2-0) in which they have scored 34 goals. Alex Carpenter (10-9-19) leads the team in scoring. She has four power play goals and three game-winning goals, and she has yet to be called for a penalty this season. Corinne Boyles (.885 save percentage) and Megan Miller (.890) have both seen time in goal.
Quinnipiac has won three Nutmeg Classic titles, including the last two. The Bobcats are 4-2-1 in their last seven games, and play at New Hampshire Tuesday night. Forward Kelly Babstock (14-15-29) leads the team in scoring. Victoria Vigilanti has seen the majority of time in goal, posting an .894 save percentage and a 2.58 goals-against average.
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Report by Sam Rubin '95 (firstname.lastname@example.org), Yale Sports Publicity