Bulldogs Visit Union, RPI
NEW HAVEN, Conn. – The last games before a month-long break for the Yale women's ice hockey team take place this weekend, as the Bulldogs travel to ECAC Hockey rivals Union (Friday, 7:00 p.m.) and RPI (Saturday, 4:00 p.m.). Yale is currently part of a four-way tie for ninth in the conference, and the Bulldogs could move into position for one of the league's eight playoff spots this weekend.
Yale (2-10-0, 1-5-0 ECAC Hockey) had last weekend off. The Bulldogs last played on Nov. 24, when they lost to No. 5/6 Boston College in the Nutmeg Classic championship game. It was the seventh time in the tournament's nine-year history that Yale had played for the title; the Bulldogs made it to the title game by beating UConn 4-3 in overtime on a goal by freshman defenseman Kate Martini (King City, Ont.). She now leads the team in points (3-5-8).
The win over UConn also saw junior forward Paige Decker (New Preston, Conn.) score her first career goal, making her the sixth player this year to score her first career goal (joining Martini, freshman forward Janelle Ferrara (Winthrop, Mass.), senior defenseman Jamie Gray (Calgary, Alta.), freshman forward Jamie Haddad (Wilbraham, Mass.) and freshman forward Hanna Åström (Örnsköldsvik, Sweden).
Sophomore goaltender Jaimie Leonoff (Montreal, Que.) made a season-high 50 saves in the Nutmeg Classic championship game, and her 441 saves for the season place her third in the country behind Danielle Butters of Minnesota State (555) and Nicole Paniccia of Penn State (500). Leonoff has helped Yale lower its goals allowed per game down to 3.50 this season, an improvement of more than a goal per game over last season (5.24 per game). Leonoff has a .915 save percentage and a 3.41 goals-against average.
Union (3-8-2, 0-4-2 ECAC Hockey) is also part of that four-way tie for ninth in the conference, as the Dutchwomen have earned points by tying Princeton and Quinnipiac. Union and Yale split the season series last year, with the Bulldogs winning 3-2 in overtime at Ingalls Rink on a goal by junior forward Jackie Raines (London, Ont.). Union responded with a 2-0 shutout at Messa Rink behind 34 saves from Kate Gallagher. Shenae Lundberg has now taken over as Union's goalie and has a .910 save percentage and a 2.83 goals-against average. Forward Christine Valente leads the team in goals and is tied for the team lead in points (4-3-7). All of her goals, and 10 of Union's 19 goals for the year, have come on the power play. Valente has already tied the school record for power play goals in a season.
RPI (3-11-2, 1-5-0 ECAC Hockey), which hosts Brown Friday night, is also in that four-way tie for ninth. The Engineers picked up two conference points by beating Princeton 4-3 last Saturday. RPI had been winless (0-6-1) in seven straight games prior to that. Forward Alex Gruschow leads the team in goals and points (8-5-13). Kelly O'Brien has a .889 save percentage and a 2.87 goals-against average.
Report by Sam Rubin '95 (firstname.lastname@example.org), Yale Sports Publicity