Playoffs Start Next Weekend at No. 5 Harvard
NEW HAVEN, Conn. – The Yale women's ice hockey team had already clinched a spot in the ECAC Hockey playoffs entering Saturday, but the Bulldogs were facing a Dartmouth team that still had to win to ensure itself a spot in the postseason. The Big Green poured 42 shots on net in an effort to clinch a playoff spot, and managed to come away with a 2-1 win over the Bulldogs at Ingalls Rink despite 40 saves from junior goaltender Jaimie Leonoff. Yale's goal came from junior forward Stephanie Mock.
Dartmouth (9-18-1, 8-13-1 ECAC Hockey) was in eighth place at the start of the day, but there were two teams right behind the Big Green (Colgate and Rensselaer) in pursuit of that final playoff spot. The sense of urgency for Dartmouth was palpable, and the Big Green outshot Yale 19-6 in the first.
Thanks to 18 saves from Leonoff the Big Green only scored once, though. After forward Kennedy Ottenbreit put Dartmouth ahead 1-0 at the 9:24 mark, she hit the post four minutes later. Other than that Leonoff turned aside every shot she faced.
Yale took advantage of one of its few scoring chances when junior forward Stephanie Mock won a faceoff just outside the Big Green zone. She charged through the Big Green defense and ripped off a shot from high in the left circle that eluded Big Green goalie Lindsay Holdcroft, tying the score with five minutes left in the period.
Leonoff made two tough saves in the final moments of the period, denying defenseman Eleni Tebano's slap shot and then stuffing a shot by forward Lindsey Allen on a 2-on-1 with less than a minute to play.
Yale (8-14-7, 6-9-7 ECAC Hockey) nearly took a 2-1 lead on a power play early in the second, but a shot by freshman forward Krista Yip-Chuck hit the post. Five minutes later the Big Green took the lead again when a slap shot by forward Devon Moir from the right circle slipped past Leonoff at the 7:05 mark of the second.
Leonoff made back-to-back saves on Tebano and forward Ali Winkel to kill off a penalty later in the second. She came up with her biggest save on a Yale power play in the final seconds, as Big Green forward Laura Stacey came in on a short-handed breakaway and tried to deke. Leonoff stayed with her all the way and gloved the shot to keep the Bulldogs within one heading into the final period.
Yale had a power play four minutes into the third, but the only shot the Bulldogs got was a slapper off the faceoff by freshman defenseman Taylor Marchin that Holdcroft smothered.
The Bulldogs had to kill off a penalty with six minutes left, and got a save from Leonoff along with a blocked shot by senior defenseman Tara Tomimoto. With 51.8 seconds left, Yale pulled Leonoff for an extra skater and called timeout. But after an icing call when Dartmouth tried a long-distance shot at the empty net, Marchin's slap shot was blocked by Allen and the Big Green held on for the win.
Dartmouth enters the playoffs as the No. 8 seed and will travel to Clarkson, which clinched the league's regular season championship with a 2-1 overtime win vs. Union Saturday.
This was the final home game for Yale's Class of 2014, and the Bulldogs honored the seniors -- Tomimoto, forward Paige Decker, forward Ashley Dunbar and forward Patricia McGauley -- after the game. Thanks in part to their efforts, the season will continue into next weekend -- and perhaps beyond. Yale travels to No. 5 Harvard for the best-of-three ECAC Hockey quarterfinals. The Bulldogs are the No. 7 seed and Harvard is the No. 2 seed.
Report by Sam Rubin '95 (firstname.lastname@example.org), Yale Sports Publicity