Graham, Leonoff, Moncion, Tomimoto and Zupon Honored with Team Awards

2013-14 captain Tara Tomimoto and 2012-13 captain Alyssa Zupon.
2013-14 captain Tara Tomimoto and 2012-13 captain Alyssa Zupon.

Team Banquet Wraps Up 2012-13 Season

NEW HAVEN, Conn. - The 2012-13 Yale women's ice hockey team gathered at The Course at Yale on Wednesday Apr. 17 for the annual team banquet. The Bulldogs announced the winners of the six team awards, honoring freshman goaltender Rachelle Graham (Sault Ste. Marie, Ont.), sophomore goaltender Jaimie Leonoff (Montreal, Que.), senior forward Danielle Moncion (Round Lake Center, Ont.), junior defenseman Tara Tomimoto (Calgary, Alta.) and senior forward Alyssa Zupon (Basking Ridge, N.J.). The Bulldogs also introduced Tomimoto as the 2013-14 team captain.

The Wendy Blanning Award, given to the most improved player on the team, went to Graham. She did not see any ice time this season but developed in a backup role.

A member of Jonathan Edwards College, Graham attended Korah Collegiate and Vocational and played for the Sault Ste. Marie Wildcats before coming to Yale.

The MVP award went to Leonoff, a second team All-Ivy League selection who posted the fourth-best single season save total and sixth-best single season save percentage in school history this past year. She was a major reason why the Bulldogs made dramatic improvements as compared to their 2011-12 season. She raised her save percentage from .865 to .925 while lowering her goals-against average from 6.55 to 2.83. Her save percentage ranked 15th in the country, and it was 16 percentage points away from the Yale record (.941 by Jackee Snikeris '11 in 2010-11).

Leonoff was also fourth in the country in saves (944). That total placed her fourth on Yale's single-season record list, trailing only three totals posted by Laurie Belliveau '98 (including the school record, 1,321 saves in 1996-97).

Leonoff was particularly proficient at home, averaging 36.2 saves per game at Ingalls Rink (33.5 on the road). She also got better as the season wore on, posting a .933 save percentage and a 2.37 goals-against average from the start of December through the end of the year.

In addition to her own stats, Leonoff also helped backstop a Yale penalty kill unit that ended the season killing off 39 of the last 40 penalties.

A member of Jonathan Edwards College, Leonoff attended Pomfret and played for Detroit Belle Tire before coming to Yale. She was just invited to take part in Hockey Canada's Under-22/Development Team Conditioning Camp.

Moncion earned a pair of awards: the Coaches' Award, given by the staff based on work ethic, attitude and commitment to the core values of the Yale women's ice hockey program; and the Mandi Schwartz Award, given for courage, grit and determination. That award is named after Mandi Schwartz '10 (1988-2011), the Bulldog center whose battle with cancer has inspired countless people.

Moncion did not miss a game for her career, playing in all 116 games. She totaled 10 goals and 20 assists. As a freshman she scored one of the most significant goals in Yale history -- the game-winner in the Bulldogs' 1-0 win over St. Lawrence that gave them their first win ever vs. the Saints (they had been 0-35-1).

A member of Morse College, Moncion played at Deerfield Academy before coming to Yale. She is an environmental studies major.

In addition to being introduced as captain Tomimoto also won Yale's Richard H. Brodhead '68 Award, given to the player "who has contributed significantly to the success of the team while excelling academically." An economics major, Tomimoto has a 3.78 grade-point average.

Tomimoto, a member of Calhoun College, attended West Island College and played for the Calgary Bruins before coming to Yale.

Zupon, Yale's 2012-13 captain, won the team's Bingham Award for leadership because of her contributions on and off the ice. One of the team's best defensive forwards, she battled through injury to appear in all 116 games of her career. She totaled 38 career points on 15 goals and 23 assists.

Zupon has been honored many times over this year for her community service work, which included co-founding a charity for earthquake and tsunami relief in Japan (Hope For Tomorrow). She also helped start the "Yale Bulldog PAWS (Pediatric Alliance With Student-athletes)" program, which pairs Yale varsity teams with pediatric patients at Yale-New Haven Hospital to serve as a support group. The Yale team adoptee, Giana, served as the master of ceremonies at the banquet.

A member of Morse College, Zupon attended Pingry and played for the New Jersey Rockets before coming to Yale. She is molecular, cellular and developmental biology major.

Report by Sam Rubin '95 (, Yale Sports Publicity