Yale Looks to End on Winning Note
NEW HAVEN, Conn. – The Yale women's ice hockey team knocked off one of its biggest rivals, Princeton, in the home finale last Saturday. The Bulldogs will look to repeat that feat against another rival this Tuesday (7:00 p.m.), as they travel to No. 7 Harvard for the final game of the season. The game was originally scheduled for Feb. 8 but was postponed due to winter storm Nemo.
Yale (5-20-3, 4-14-3 ECAC Hockey) was eliminated from ECAC Hockey playoff contention last Friday night, but the Bulldogs bounced back on Saturday and helped keep Princeton out of the playoffs by knocking off the Tigers 4-2. After falling behind 2-0, Yale got goals from senior forwards Alyssa Zupon (Basking Ridge, N.J.) and Natalie Wedell (Arden Hills, Minn.) (the first of her career) to tie the score. Sophomore forward Lynn Kennedy (Markham, Ont.) scored the game-winner midway through the third period, and junior defenseman Tara Tomimoto (Calgary, Alta.) got an empty-netter to seal the victory. Senior goalie Erin Callahan (Kenilworth, Ill.) made 34 saves for her first career win.
Zupon and senior forward Danielle Moncion (Round Lake Center, Ont.) are coming up on a milestone; when they take the ice Tuesday night it will mean they played in all 116 games of their careers. Along with Callahan, Moncion, Wedell and Zupon, the rest of the senior class all started the game last Saturday -- defenseman Jamie Gray (Calgary, Alta.) and forward Jen Matichuk (St. Albert, Alta.). Defenseman Emily DesMeules (North Pomfret, Vt.) suited up but remained sidelined by injury.
Tomimoto's goal was Yale's 40th of the season, nine more than the Bulldogs scored last year. With freshman defenseman Kate Martini (King City, Ont.) leading the team in points (6-10-16) and Tomimoto second (2-12-14), the Bulldogs currently have two defensemen at the top of the scoring list. Yale has never had two blueliners finish as its top two scorers. The only pure defenseman to lead the team in points was Lukey MacMullen '84 in 1983-84 (10-12-22).
The penalty killing unit continues to excel for Yale. The Bulldogs have killed off 36 of their last 37 penalties. They have also scored 14 power play goals, the most since 2009-10. Twelve of those have come in ECAC Hockey play, the most power play goals Yale has scored in conference play since 2007-08. Freshman forward Jamie Haddad (Wilbraham, Mass.) leads the team with five power play tallies.
Sophomore goalie Jaimie Leonoff (Montreal, Que.) is in the midst of a hot streak of her own. Since the start of December, she has stopped 468 of 502 shots that she has faced (a .932 save percentage). That has raised her save percentage for the season to .924, which would be the sixth-best single season save percentage in Yale history. The school record, .941, was set in 2010-11 by Jackee Snikeris '11.
There are only four sophomores or freshmen currently ranked in the top 12 nationally in save percentage, and two of them could meet Tuesday night. Harvard freshman Emerance Maschmeyer, who has played for Canada's Under-22 team, is sixth in the NCAA with a .931 save percentage (Leonoff is 12th). Maschmeyer has started the last three games for Harvard, but the Crimson also has senior Laura Bellamy. Bellamy leads the nation in goals-against average (0.92), while Maschmeyer is fifth (1.45). Bellamy's .950 save percentage trails only Minnesota's Noora Räty (.953) nationally.
While ranking No. 2 in the country in scoring defense (1.18 goals per game), Harvard is eighth in the country in scoring offense (3.46 goals per game). Forward Jillian Dempsey, a U.S. National Team member who was a Patty Kazmaier Award nominee and finalist for ECAC Hockey Player of the Year in 2011-12, is ninth in the country in goals per game and 13th in the country in points per game (23-19-42 in 28 games).
Since a 13-game unbeaten streak (12-0-1) that ran from Nov. 23 through Jan. 19, Harvard (17-3-2, 14-1-1 ECAC Hockey) is 4-4-2. The Crimson had been unbeaten at home until this past weekend, but is now 10-1-1 at the Bright Center. Harvard had its chance at the ECAC Hockey regular season title slip away over that two-game span, when the Crimson tied St. Lawrence 2-2 in overtime Friday and then fell to Clarkson 3-1 Saturday. That leaves Harvard as the No. 3 seed heading into the weekend's ECAC Hockey quarterfinals, regardless of the outcome of Tuesday night's game. Cornell, ranked No. 2 in the latest national poll, has clinched the conference title.
Harvard does have a shot at the Ivy League title; a win over the Bulldogs Tuesday would give the Crimson a share of the league championship with Cornell.
Watch Yale beat Princeton on Yale All-Access on YouTube:
Report by Sam Rubin '95 (firstname.lastname@example.org), Yale Sports Publicity