Assistant Coach Koizumi Wins Clarkson Cup as Boston Beats Montreal for CWHL Title

Yale assistant coach Jessica Koizumi and the Clarkson Cup.

Blades Win Championship Game 5-2

MARKHAM, Ont. – Yale assistant coach Jessica Koizumi helped the Boston Blades win the Canadian Women's Hockey League championship Saturday afternoon, earning the Clarkson Cup -- regarded as the Stanley Cup of women's ice hockey -- in the process. The Blades defeated the Montreal Stars, the team which had won the last two Clarkson Cups, 5-2 at Centennial Arena in Markham, Ont.

The CWHL, which was founded in 2007, features elite women's hockey players divided up into five teams (Alberta, Boston, Brampton, Montreal and Toronto) competing in a 24-game regular season schedule from October to March. The teams then compete for the Clarkson Cup in a playoff format that includes the top four teams from the regular season. The playoffs began on Wednesday, and with wins over Brampton and Toronto and an overtime loss to Montreal Boston earned a spot in the championship game with five points. Montreal went undefeated to earn a spot in the championship game with six points.

Saturday's game was tied 2-2 until Boston forward Kelley Steadman -- who played at Mercyhurst and won gold with the U.S. Women's National Team at the 2011 IIHF Women's World Championship -- scored on a power play at 11:09 of the second. Steadman then scored again on a power play at 17:06 of the third, and added an empty-netter for the 5-2 final.

The Blades, who played a game at Yale's Ingalls Rink earlier this season, finished with the CWHL's best record in the regular season (19 wins, four losses, one overtime loss). The team's roster included 10 2010 U.S. Olympic silver medalists. Koizumi appeared in 15 regular games, scoring two goals -- both of them game-winners -- and adding three assists while finishing +3. She also played in all four playoff games, earning third star honors in the 2-0 win over Brampton on Thursday.

Koizumi, a forward who earned a gold medal as a member of the U.S. Women's National Team at the 2008 IIHF World Women's Championship, joined the Yale staff as an assistant coach for the 2010-11 season. She played for the University of Minnesota-Duluth while Yale's head coach Joakim Flygh was an assistant there, and she captained UMD to the NCAA Frozen Four championship game in 2007.

In addition to her gold medal at the 2008 IIHF Women's World Championship in China, Koizumi also was part of the U.S. team's second-place finish at the 2007 Four Nations Cup. She was on the U.S. Women's Select Team in 2008-09 while getting her master's degree in education from Minnesota-Duluth. She also played for the U.S. Under-22 Select Team in the series with Canada in 2004 and 2006.

In addition to Caitlin Cahow and Kate Buesser (Harvard), the Boston roster also included one other former ECAC Hockey player in Whitney Naslund (RPI). The team's coach is former Brown coach, and Cornell player, Digit Murphy. Blades assistant coach Ryan Stone has coached with two ECAC Hockey teams, Brown and Colgate.

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

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