Visit to Princeton, Quinnipiac Could Help Solidify Playoff Spot

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Patricia McGauley. (photo by Sam Rubin '95, Yale Sports Publicity)

Bulldogs Tied for Eighth in ECAC Hockey Standings

NEW HAVEN, Conn. – With a 2-0 win over Colgate last Saturday in the annual "White Out for Mandi", the Yale women's ice hockey team lifted itself into the last available spot for the ECAC Hockey playoffs. With four weekends to go, though, the Bulldogs still have plenty of work to do. In addition to being tied for eighth with Colgate (Yale holds the tiebreaker on the Raiders), the Bulldogs' lead over the two teams tied for 10th (Brown and Princeton) is just one point. And six points separate them from seventh-place RPI. That all adds to the intensity as Yale hits the road for four conference games over the next two weekends, starting with visits to Princeton (Friday, 7:00 p.m.) and Quinnipiac (Saturday, 4:00 p.m.) this weekend.

Yale (4-16-1, 3-10-1 ECAC Hockey) has shown gradual improvement throughout the season. After going 1-5-0 in their first six ECAC Hockey games, the Bulldogs have picked up a pair of wins and a tie in their last eight conference games -- and three of their five losses in that span have been by just one goal.

The penalty killing unit in particular has been heating up. Yale has killed off 18 of 19 penalties in the last five games, and the Bulldogs have not allowed a power play goal in their last three.

Sophomore goaltender Jaimie Leonoff (Montreal, Que.) continues to be the backbone of Yale's defensive efforts. She is second in the nation in saves with 697, and while her numbers for the season are good (.922 save percentage, 2.93 goals-against average), her numbers since the start of December are even better (.934 save percentage, 2.22 goals-against average). Six of the 18 goals scored against her in that time frame have come on the power play.

Yale had a season high 31 shots on goal in Saturday's win, including a team-high six from freshman defenseman Kate Martini (King City, Ont.). Her line mate, senior defenseman Tara Tomimoto (Calgary, Alta.) wound up registering her eighth assist of the season to tie Martini for the team lead in that category. This is the first time since 2008-09 (Helen Resor '09 14, Alyssa Clarke '10 eight) that Yale has had two defensemen with at least eight assists.

Freshman forward Jamie Haddad (Wilbraham, Mass.) scored on a power play to help beat the Raiders, giving her a team-best seven goals overall and five goals on the power play this year. All of her scoring has come in conference games. Her line mate, freshman forward Janelle Ferrara (Winthrop, Mass.), leads the team in scoring (6-6-12).

Senior forward Alyssa Zupon (Basking Ridge, N.J.) also scored Saturday, moving into third place on the team in goals behind Haddad and Ferrara with four. Zupon, who is a nominee for the BNY Mellon Wealth Management Hockey Humanitarian Award and was a semi-finalist for the Coach Wooden Citizenship Cup, has more career goals (14) than any other player on the team right now.

Princeton (6-12-2, 2-10-2 ECAC Hockey) is finishing up a break for exams; the Tigers' game at Penn State Tuesday night will be their first since Jan. 12. Princeton skidded into the break with losses in five of its last six games, allowing four or more goals in four of them. Two senior forwards, Corey Stearns (4-17-21) and Kelly Cooke (11-5-16) lead the Tigers in scoring. The 5-foot-1 Cooke, winner of the team's most improved player award last year, has incurred only one penalty all season. Goalie Kimberly Newell, who won gold with Team Canada at the recent Under-18 championship, has a .908 save percentage and a 3.26 goals-against average.

Quinnipiac (14-9-2, 8-5-1 ECAC Hockey), which hosts Brown Friday night, had this past weekend off but was one of the hottest teams in the country entering that break. The Bobcats have gone 7-2-0 since Nov. 24, allowing more than two goals in a game just twice in that span. Forward Kelly Babstock is eighth in the country in goals per game and 11th in the country in points per game (21-22-43 in 25 games). She is Quinnipiac's all-time leader in goals, assists and points and was a second team All-ECAC Hockey pick and New England Hockey Writers' All-Star honoree last year.

Nicole Kosta, one of four Bobcats who have played for the Canadian Under-18 team, is 11th in the country in assists per game and second on her team in points (10-23-33 in 25 games). The Bobcats' primary power play scoring actually comes from three other players, as forward Brittany Lyons, defenseman Regan Boulton and forward Erica Uden Johansson have combined for 17 of the team's 25 power play goals. Boulton was a third team All-ECAC Hockey selection last year, and Johansson has played for the Swedish National Team. Goalie Victoria Vigilanti has a .895 save percentage and a 2.37 goals-against average.

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

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