NEW HAVEN, Conn. – It was a good day for a pair of Hannas at Ingalls Rink Saturday -- and as a result, the Yale women's ice hockey team came away with a key 5-2 ECAC Hockey win over St. Lawrence. Senior forward Hanna Åström had a hat trick and junior goalie Hanna Mandl had 32 saves to lead the Bulldogs to victory. Senior forward Jamie Haddad added a pair of goals.
The game has the makings of a breakthrough for Åström, a solid contributor throughout her career who had two goals for 2015-16 entering the day.
"Hanna's worked hard all year, she just hasn't necessarily gotten rewarded with goals," said Joakim Flygh, Yale's Susan Cavanagh Head Coach of Women's Ice Hockey. "Her family was in the stands from Sweden, so maybe that helped today."
Yale (5-11-1, 4-5-1 ECAC Hockey) grabbed an early lead 5:12 in, as Åström knocked in the rebound of a shot by sophomore defenseman Mallory Souliotis that was blocked in the slot. Sophomore defenseman Kara Drexler, who set up Souliotis, also earned an assist on the play.
St. Lawrence (10-10-1, 5-5-0 ECAC Hockey) got a goal late in the period thanks to a spectacular move in the Yale zone by Saints forward Hannah Miller, who stickhandled past a Yale defender to create a 2-on-1 and then set up her linemate Kailee Heidersbach for a one-timer that barely evaded Mandl's right leg for a goal at 13:03.
Mandl made a great save to keep the game tied with less than four minutes to go in the first, as she got across the net to deny Miller off a centering pass from the side. Ninety seconds after that the Bulldogs caught a tough break offensively when a wrister by Haddad hit the post.
A game misconduct (hitting from behind) on Saints forward Nadine Edney with 1.2 seconds left in the first gave Yale the chance for some extended time on the power play at the start of the second. That proved to be one of the game's turning points.
The Bulldogs re-took the lead on their first shot with the man advantage, as junior forwarded Krista Yip-Chuck backhanded a pass to Souliotis at the top of the right circle and Souliotis quickly fired it down to Haddad, who was wide open at the far post and stuffed it in at 1:35 of the second.
A penalty on the Bulldogs less than a minute later left the teams skating 4-on-4 for two minutes, helping the Saints kill off the rest of the major.
Junior forward Phoebe Staenz -- just back from playing for her native Switzerland in the Nations Cup in Germany -- generated one of the best chances of the period by freeing herself up for a writer in transition, but the shot hit the post with less than eight minutes to go in the second.
The Bulldogs then had a particularly busy penalty kill with seven minutes to play in the period, as they blocked four Saints shot before Mandl finally had to make a save in the final seconds of the kill. Senior captain Janelle Ferrara had three of the blocks, and Åström made the other one. Yale kept a 2-1 lead heading into the third.
The Saints momentarily tied the game on a power play at 6:01 of the third, as Miller put one in off Mandl's glove from a tough angle. But it took only 81 seconds for the Bulldogs -- and Åström -- to respond. Sophomore forward Courtney Pensavalle passed the puck to Yip-Chuck in the SLU zone, and she slid it across the ice to Åström, who beat Saints goalie Brooke Wolejko glove side at 7:22 for a 3-2 lead.
Mandl then kept that lead intact by getting just enough of a shot by forward Jenna Marks on a breakaway to send the shot wide. Shortly after that the Bulldogs had another crucial penalty kill, highlighted by Mandl getting her leg out to deny forward Amanda McClure with less than 10 minutes to go. She helped finish off the kill by swallowing up a slap shot by defenseman Kirsten Padalis, allowing no rebound.
"Any time you have success on special teams, it helps," said Flygh. "We have put a lot of focus on that thanks to our associate head coach Rob Morgan. The kids are really buying in, blocking shots and doing all the little things."
Yale's offense then finished strong. Åström took advantage of a 2-on-1 to complete her hat trick at 12:41, opting to score rather than pass. After St. Lawrence pulled Wolejko for an extra skater with four minutes to play, Haddad took a pass from Ferrara and scored on the empty net at 19:46 to make the final 5-2.
For Flygh, it was no coincidence that all five goals in the big win came from the senior class.
"Our seniors are starting to see the end of the season in sight, and they are putting the team on their shoulders," said Flygh. "They are really stepping up."
Yale travels to Cornell next Friday. The eighth-place Bulldogs are currently one point ahead of the Big Red in the ECAC Hockey standings, with Cornell slated to play at Colgate on Tuesday.
Report by Sam Rubin '95 (firstname.lastname@example.org), Yale Sports Publicity