Leonoff Returns to Make 39 Saves
NEW HAVEN, Conn. – The Yale women's ice hockey team was facing one of the top power plays in the country Saturday afternoon as No. 6 Clarkson came to Ingalls Rink. But while the Bulldogs managed to kill off all six penalties against the Golden Knights, it wound up being a short-handed goal that decided the game in Clarkson's favor. Forward Jamie Lee Rattray's tally at 16:46 of the first on a breakaway after a turnover during a Yale power play proved decisive as the Golden Knights came away with a 1-0 win. Sophomore goaltender Jaimie Leonoff, back in her familiar starting role after missing Friday's game due to injury, made 39 saves.
Clarkson (17-5-0, 9-1-0 ECAC Hockey) came in third in the country on the power play, converting 26.4 percent of its chances. But the Yale penalty killing unit was up to the task all game long -- with help from Leonoff, who made 14 of her saves with Yale down a man.
Yale killed off a pair of penalties in the first six minutes successfully, but special teams still factored in Clarkson's first goal. The Bulldogs' second power play turned disastrous when an ill-fated Yale pass at the Clarkson blue line resulted in a turnover. The puck wound up on the stick of one of Clarkson's most dangerous scorers in Rattray. She skated in on a breakaway and deposited her 16th goal of the season to put Clarkson up 1-0 at the 16:46 mark.
Clarkson goalie Erica Howe made one of her best saves of the night when freshman forward Janelle Ferrara, Yale's leading goal scorer, gathered in a long pass and tried to stuff one in from low in the left circle only to be denied by the quick reaction of Howe. The Golden Knights maintained a 1-0 lead into the first intermission.
Lightning nearly struck twice for the Golden Knights on Yale's third power play of the game two minutes into the second. The Bulldogs once again turned the puck over at the Clarkson blue line, and once again it led to a Rattray breakaway. But this time Leonoff got her blocker on the initial shot, then made an equally impressive save when Rattray gathered in the loose puck and fed a wide-open forward Shelby Nisbet in front.
Clarkson had two Grade-A scoring chances in the final five minutes of the second. One was a deflection in the slot by forward Danielle Skirrow that Leonoff stopped under her pads, leaving her checking behind her just to make sure the puck had not squirted through. The next came on a shot by forward Carly Mercer that hit the pipe and deflected away. The Golden Knights wound up outshooting Yale 19-5 in the second but could not extend their lead.
The Bulldogs killed off two more penalties early in the third but struggled to generate any more good offensive chances. With less than seven minutes to play junior forward Patricia McGauley put a shot on net that Howe stopped with her blocker; it then bounced right into her glove to end any threat.
With 90 seconds left the Bulldogs pulled Leonoff for an extra skater, but junior forward Paige Decker could not put in a wraparound attempt and Howe denied a shot by Ferrara in front. With 41 seconds left a body checking penalty on the Golden Knights gave Yale another extra skater. The Bulldogs won the faceoff but Howe stopped a shot by senior forward Danielle Moncion, and a blocked shot then enabled the Golden Knights to take the puck deep into Yale's zone and kill off most of the remaining time. By the time Yale regained possession there was not enough time to set up on offense, and the Bulldogs were left with another close loss -- their third one-goal loss in the last four games. This was also Yale's fourth one-goal loss in conference play.
Howe finished with 21 saves.
Yale (2-14-1, 1-7-1 ECAC Hockey) hosts Brown Thursday night at 7:00 p.m.
Report by Sam Rubin '95 (firstname.lastname@example.org), Yale Sports Publicity
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