Stretch of 16 ECAC Hockey Games Begins
NEW HAVEN, Conn. – The Yale women's ice hockey team returns to the ice at Ingalls Rink Friday vs. Colgate (7:00 p.m.), a game that could help set the tone as the Bulldogs aim to solidify a spot in the ECAC Hockey playoffs over the course of the regular season's final 16 games. Yale also hosts No. 3 Cornell, Saturday at 4:00 p.m., as the second half of the season gets underway.
The last time Yale played conference games, Nov. 15-16, the Bulldogs swept a series at Rensselaer and Union. That leaves them in eighth place entering the second half of the season, holding down the final ECAC Hockey playoff spot. The top four teams in the final standings host teams five through eight in the best-of-three ECAC Hockey quarterfinal series Feb. 28 through Mar. 2.
Colgate (3-12-2, 1-7-0 ECAC Hockey) is one of four teams currently behind the Bulldogs, chasing them for a playoff spot. Just five points separate the seventh-place team (Rensselaer) from the 12th-place team (Brown) in the standings.
The Bulldogs are in eighth place in terms of points, but are seventh in terms of winning percentage. Rensselaer is 3-5-0, a point ahead of Yale in the standings. The Engineers are off this weekend, so Yale could pass them in the standings with two points.
Yale (4-8-1, 2-3-1 ECAC Hockey) will be without the services of its leading scorer, freshman forward Phoebe Staenz (Zürich, Switzerland), who is playing for Switzerland in the Nations Cup in Germany this weekend. With Staenz away, the top remaining point scorer is sophomore forward Janelle Ferrara (Winthrop, Mass.) (3-7-10) and the top remaining goal scorer is freshman forward Krista Yip-Chuck (Whitby, Ont.) (four goals).
Junior goaltender Jaimie Leonoff (Montreal, Que.) is off to a strong start this season with a .921 save percentage. Last season she improved as the season wore on, as her second-half numbers (.934 save percentage, 2.36 goals-against average) were better than her first-half numbers (.917, 3.27), so the best may be yet to come from her this year.
Colgate was 2-4-0 after the season's first six games, but has gone just 1-8-2 since. The Raiders have been shut out six times so far. Forward Miriam Drubel (6-5-11) leads the team in goals and points. Three different goalies have played at least 280 minutes each, with Brittney Brooks seeing the most time (392:31). She has a .923 save percentage and a 2.29 goals-against average.
Cornell (10-1-2, 6-0-2 ECAC Hockey) had an 11-game unbeaten streak to start the season snapped shortly before the break by No. 7 Boston College. Still, the Big Red are the only team that is unbeaten in ECAC Hockey conference games, and the team's .875 winning percentage in conference play leads the league. No. 5 Harvard, which has played one more conference game than Cornell, has a one-point lead on the Big Red in the standings.
Big Red forward Emily Fulton (8-16-24 in 13 games), a former Canadian Under-18 Team member, leads the NCAA in points per game and assists per game. Two other Big Red forwards are in the top seven in points per game (Jessica Campbell and Jillian Saulnier, both with 20 points in 13 games). Campbell, a former Canadian Under-18 Team member, scored the game-winning goal in last year's ECAC Hockey Tournament championship game. Saulnier, a former Canadian Under-22 Team member, leads the NCAA in goals per game (12 in 13 games). Defenseman Cassandra Poudrier, an ECAC Hockey All-Rookie Team selection last year who has also played for the Canadian National Team and Under-18 Team, is tied for the NCAA lead with five power play goals. Goalie Lauren Slebodnick has a .922 save percentage and a 1.96 goals-against average.
Adding to the festivities at Ingalls Rink this weekend is a scheduled visit on Friday night from the New Canaan youth hockey program; last January, the Bulldogs visited New Canaan to provide a special skills clinic at the program's outdoor rink. That rink, the New Canaan Winter Club, was started by members of the Resor family (relatives of former Yale women's ice hockey players Carry Resor '09, Helen Resor '09, Jane Resor '01 and Nina Resor '07).
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Report by Sam Rubin '95 (firstname.lastname@example.org), Yale Sports Publicity