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Bulldogs Back at Ingalls for First Time since November; Host No. 6 Clarkson, St. Lawrence

Hanna Astrom (photo by Sam Rubin '95, Yale Sports Publicity)
Hanna Astrom (photo by Sam Rubin '95, Yale Sports Publicity)

North Country Foes in Town

NEW HAVEN, Conn. – The Yale women's ice hockey team plays its first home games since November this coming weekend -- in fact, the Bulldogs play five of their next seven games at Ingalls Rink, the perfect place for them to start building momentum as the season enters its second half. Down the stretch last season, Yale won its last seven home games en route to finishing with a 9-5-1 home record. The Bulldogs will face a stern test this weekend at The Whale, as the first two visitors for 2016 are No. 6 Clarkson and St. Lawrence -- two of the teams directly ahead of Yale in the ECAC Hockey standings.

Yale (4-10-1, 3-4-1 ECAC Hockey) returned from winter break last weekend with road losses at No. 4 Quinnipiac and No. 10 Princeton -- so Friday's game will mark the Bulldogs' third straight against a nationally ranked opponent. So far this season they have one win against a ranked foe, having beaten Quinnipiac 4-3 on Oct. 31 when the Bobcats were ranked No. 5.

Senior forward Hanna Åström (Örnsköldsvik, Sweden) was the only Bulldog to score a goal this past weekend, but the offense as a whole generated plenty of shots. Yale outshot Quinnipiac 29-20 on Friday -- just the second time this season the Bobcats have been outshot by a margin that big. The Bulldogs then put up 24 shots on Saturday at Princeton, but Tigers goalie Kimberly Newell -- currently sixth in the nation in save percentage -- stopped 23 of them to earn the win.

Yale junior goalie Hanna Mandl (Nobleton, Ont.) allowed only one goal at even strength last weekend, as both of the goals she allowed at Princeton came on the power play. For the season, Mandl has an .884 save percentage and a 3.30 goals-against average. Saturday also saw the varsity debut of freshman goalie Kyra O'Brien (Burlington, Ont.), who played the final two periods and made six saves.

Sophomore forward Eden Murray (Medicine Hat, Alta.) leads Yale in points and is tied for the team lead in assists (4-10-14) with her classmate, defenseman Mallory Souliotis (Acton, Mass.). Sophomore defenseman Kara Drexler (Manhattan Beach, Calif.) leads the team in +/- (+2).

The Bulldogs' top two goal scorers are senior forward Janelle Ferrara (Winthrop, Mass.) and junior forward Phoebe Staenz (Zürich, Switzerland) with six each. Staenz is playing for her native Switzerland at the Nations Cup in Germany this week.

Clarkson (15-3-2, 3-3-2 ECAC Hockey) has not played since December 5, and the Golden Knights were just 2-2-0 in their final four games before break. They started the season 10-0-2 -- scoring at least three goals in every game except one -- but have gone 5-3-0 since. With eight points in the conference standings, they are currently tied for fifth with Colgate and St. Lawrence. That puts them one point ahead of Yale and Rensselaer, who are tied for eighth.

The Golden Knights rank fifth in the nation in scoring defense (1.40 goals per game). The backbone of that defense is goalie Shea Tiley, who is fourth in the nation in goals-against average (1.32). Tiley was ECAC Hockey's Goaltender of the Year and Rookie of the Year last season.

Three Clarkson players -- defenseman Erin Ambrose and forwards Shannon MacAulay and Cayley Mercer -- are currently with Canada's National Women's Development Team at the Nations Cup. Those players have accounted for 48 points so far this season, including a team-best 30 (15-15-30) for Mercer.

St. Lawrence (9-9-1, 4-4-0 ECAC Hockey), which plays at Merrimack Wednesday and at Brown Friday, has been hot-and-cold so far this season. The Saints started off 0-5-1, then ripped off nine wins in their next 11 games, but they dropped their last two games before break.

 The Saints are a disciplined team -- they are second in the nation in fewest penalty minutes (5.7) per game -- and have won four of their last five road games. Forward Kennedy Marchment leads the team in points (7-11-18), and Sonjia Shelley has the best save percentage (.902) of SLU's three goalies.

Report by Sam Rubin '95, Yale Sports Publicity