Leonoff Stops 48, but Bobcats Blank Bulldogs 4-0

Jaimie Leonoff. (photo by Sam Rubin '95, Yale Sports Publicity)
Jaimie Leonoff. (photo by Sam Rubin '95, Yale Sports Publicity)

Yale Eliminated from Playoff Contention; Penalty Killing Streak Ends at 31

NEW HAVEN, Conn. – The Yale women's ice hockey team saw its chance for an ECAC Hockey playoff spot come to an end Friday night, as a 4-0 loss to Quinnipiac at Ingalls Rink combined with Princeton's 2-1 win at Brown eliminated the Bulldogs from playoff contention. The Bulldogs also had their streak of 31 straight successful penalty kills brought to an end. Sophomore goalie Jaimie Leonoff did all she could to keep her team in the game, finishing with 48 saves, but a 52-12 shot advantage for the Bobcats proved to be too much to overcome. Four different players scored for Quinnipiac.

The first period was Yale's best of the night, but started and ended in frustrating fashion. Four minutes into the game, Quinnipiac goalie Victoria Vigilanti made a great save to deny a backhanded shot from the slot by senior forward Alyssa Zupon after Zupon grabbed a loose puck in the slot. Three minutes later Vigilanti turned aside a quick shot from freshman forward Jamie Haddad low in the left circle, and five minutes after that she denied a hard shot from senior forward Natalie Wedell.

Leonoff made 15 saves for the period, but a Yale power play wound up costing the Bulldogs at the end. Forward Kelly Babstock stole the puck in the Bulldog zone and set up forward Erica Uden Johansson. Johansson skated in all alone on Leonoff, deked and backhanded the puck in just 54 seconds before intermission.

The second period was one-sided in Quinnipiac's favor, as the Bobcats peppered Leonoff with 22 shots. She stopped them all, including four saves on a penalty kill, but Yale only wound up with just one shot for the period. That was a dump in from the neutral zone by junior defenseman Tara Tomimoto that was stopped by Vigilanti.

Babstock, who entered the day 10th in the country in points per game, got to the Bulldogs again early in the second by setting up another goal. She skated off the boards into the left circle before sliding the puck across to forward Nicole Brown wide-open in the slot. Brown one-timed it in at the 3:42 mark to put the Bobcats up 2-0.

A great save by Leonoff on forward Nicole Kosta six minutes into the third kept Yale in the game. Three minutes later she made another pair of spectacular stops and wound up sprawled out on her back; Tomimoto swooped in to grab the dangerous loose puck and clear it out of the crease.

Yale (4-20-3, 3-14-3 ECAC Hockey) killed off another penalty later in the third, allowing Quinnipiac (18-10-4, 12-6-3 ECAC Hockey) only one shot. That extended Yale's streak of successful penalty kills to 31, but the streak was snapped later in the period. Leonoff slid across the crease to deny forward Nicole Connery with 7:45 to play, but 30 seconds later a power play goal by defenseman Regan Boulton extended QU's lead to 3-0.

Forward Brittany Lyons tacked on a goal with 1:24 to play for the 4-0 final.

Friday's game will be broadcast via tape delay on CPTV Sports; visit http://www.cptvsports.org for details.

Yale hosts Princeton Saturday afternoon for Senior Day.

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

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