Bulldogs Four Points Away from Home Ice Spot in Playoffs
NEW HAVEN, Conn. – With a win and a tie in a home-and-home series vs. Brown last weekend, the Yale women's ice hockey team has extended its unbeaten streak to five games -- the team's longest unbeaten streak in seven years. The Bulldogs also gained three points in the ECAC Hockey standings and moved into a tie for sixth place. That puts them four points away from fourth place -- and one of the four home ice spots for the conference quarterfinal playoff series -- with four weekends of regular season games left. This weekend Yale visits No. 6 Cornell and Colgate.
Yale (7-10-5, 5-5-4 ECAC Hockey) has already won more games this season (seven) than it did in the two previous seasons combined. The Bulldogs are averaging 2.38 goals per game, their highest average since the 2006-07 team averaged 3.10 goals per game.
The Bulldogs have been winning with a relatively young lineup. Five of Yale's top six scorers are freshmen and sophomores, led by freshman forward Phoebe Staenz (Zürich, Switzerland) (9-14-23). Staenz was named ECAC Hockey Rookie of the Week on Tuesday after scoring a goal and adding two assists in the Bulldogs' weekend series vs. Brown. Staenz, a member of the Swiss Olympic Team, is eighth in the nation in assists per game and 10th in points per game; she leads the nation in points per game among rookies.
Besides Staenz, five other Bulldogs (three sophomores, another freshman and a junior) have already reached double digits in points: sophomore forward Janelle Ferrara (Winthrop, Mass.) (4-12-16), sophomore forward Jamie Haddad (Wilbraham, Mass.) (7-7-14), sophomore forward Hanna Åström (Örnsköldsvik, Sweden) (4-8-12), junior forward Stephanie Mock (Cape Coral, Fla.) (3-7-10) and freshman forward Krista Yip-Chuck (Whitby, Ont.). This is the first time since 2010-11 that Yale has had at least six players reach double digits in scoring. Haddad has four goals in the last six games.
Senior defenseman Aurora Kennedy (Mississauga, Ont.) leads Yale in +/- at +9. If she maintains that number, she will finish with the best +/- by a Yale player since Bray Ketchum finished at +9 in 2008-09. Kennedy is part of a group of four skaters for the Bulldogs -- along with Åström, Ferrara and Yip-Chuck -- who have appeared in all 21 games and incurred three or fewer penalties.
Junior goaltender Jaimie Leonoff (Montréal, Québec) stopped 52 of 55 shots last weekend, improving her season save percentage to .927. That would place her sixth in Yale's single-season list -- 14 points away from the school single-season record (.941, Jackee Snikeris '11 in 2010-11).
Cornell (14-3-4, 9-2-3 ECAC Hockey), which is winless (0-2-1) in its last three games after starting the season 14-1-3, is third in the ECAC Hockey standings -- four points behind first-place Harvard. The Big Red is second in the conference in scoring offense (3.57 goals per game, trailing only Clarkson). But on Friday Cornell will be playing without forward Jessica Campbell, the team's No. 3 scorer, as she has been suspended for one game by ECAC Hockey. The league action was taken after review of an incident that occurred at the 19:55 mark of the third period in Cornell's game vs. Clarkson last Saturday; Campbell was assessed a major penalty for hitting from behind and a game misconduct penalty.
Cornell still has plenty of firepower from forwards Jillian Saulnier (15-15-30) and Emily Fulton (12-17-29). Saulnier, who is tied for third in the conference in goals, has played for Canada's Under-22 team. Fulton has played for Canada's Under-18 team. The Big Red also features goalie Lauren Slebodnick, a third team All-ECAC Hockey selection last season who has a .914 save percentage and a 2.17 goals-against average this year.
Colgate (5-19-2, 2-12-0 ECAC Hockey), which hosts Brown Friday, has lost six games in a row and given up three or more goals in four straight. The Raiders hung close with the Bulldogs when the two teams met earlier this year in New Haven, scoring with 34 seconds to play to pull within 5-4, but Yip-Chuck capped the game with an empty-netter just before time expired for a 6-4 final in favor of Yale.
Forward Miriam Drubel (7-8-15) leads Colgate in scoring. Brittney Brooks (.907 save percentage, 2.59 goals-against average, 672 minutes), Ashlynne Rando (.884, 3.55, 490 minutes) and Susan Allen (.916, 2.40, 399 minutes) have all seen time in goal.
On Friday night the Bulldogs will be a part of the Cornell's "Do it for Daron" night, in memory of Daron Richardson -- the sister of Cornell defenseman Morgan Richardson. The Do it for Daron organization raises funds and awareness for youth mental health issues; Daron Richardson committed suicide in 2010. The two teams will wear purple stickers and laces, and fans are asked to show their support by wearing purple to the game.
Report by Sam Rubin '95 (firstname.lastname@example.org), Yale Sports Publicity