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Playoff Hopes Still Alive after 2-2 OT Tie at St. Lawrence

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

NEW HAVEN, Conn. – The Yale women's ice hockey team kept its ECAC Hockey playoff hopes alive Friday night at Appleton Arena, gutting out a 2-2 overtime tie with St. Lawrence. Yale's senior class once again led the way, as forwards Janelle Ferrara and Jamie Haddad scored the Bulldogs' goals. Junior goalie Hanna Mandl made 22 saves.

With the point from the tie -- combined with other results from around the league Friday night -- the Bulldogs are now tied for eighth in the ECAC Hockey standings with Cornell entering the final game of the regular season. Those two are also just one point behind the teams tied for sixth -- Rensselaer and St. Lawrence. That leaves the Bulldogs in contention for one of the eight playoff spots heading into Saturday, when they visit No. 5 Clarkson.

The first period saw St. Lawrence (14-13-6, 8-8-5 ECAC Hockey) break out on top 1-0 at 15:28 thanks to forward Hannah Miller, who used a nice move to get around the Yale defense and score her 10th goal of the season. A minute later the Saints appeared to have another golden chance, but sophomore defenseman Mallory Souliotis dove to the ice to break up a pass to forward Kailee Heidersbach with an open net to shoot at.

That play loomed even larger when Yale tied up the game three minutes later. A pass from freshman forward Jordan Chancellor set Haddad up for a 2-on-1. Haddad opted to shoot, sniping the puck past goalie Grace Harrison's glove and into the upper right corner of the net to tie the game 1-1 with 23.5 seconds left in the first.

St. Lawrence went back ahead on a goal by forward Jenna Marks 42 seconds into the second. The Bulldogs then very nearly tied it up after the ensuing faceoff, but Harrison made a spectacular stick save to deny freshman forward Emma Vlasic.

Yale (10-16-2, 9-10-2 ECAC Hockey) tied up the game at 11:07 of the second when sophomore forward Eden Murray grabbed a loose puck in between the circles after a shot by sophomore defenseman Kara Drexler was blocked. Murray put the puck towards the net. Her shot was stopped but the loose puck went right to Ferrara, who was wide open near the post and knocked in her team-leading 12th goal of the season.

Thanks in part to a pair of kick saves by Mandl on forward Brooke Webster with 3:30 left in the second, the two teams skated into the second intermission tied 2-2.

Mandl reacted quickly to deny the Saints' first Grade-A chance of the third, a slapper by a wide-open Miller at 6:30 after a Yale defender had lost her stick in a collision. Harrison answered that a minute later by turning aside a shot from sophomore Brittany Wheeler on a 2-on-1.

Yale killed off a penalty right after that, setting up a dramatic finish. Neither team was able to generate much offensive pressure in the final 10 minutes, and St. Lawrence forward Justine Reyes' wrister that went just to the left of the net wound up being the Saints' best chance. With 45 seconds left in regulation junior forward Phoebe Staenz put a shot towards the net that Harrison sticked aside to end the Bulldogs' last good threat.

The Bulldogs had the puck deep in St. Lawrence's zone for most of the final moments of overtime, but could not get a shot on Harrison. Defender Amanda Boulier blocked Yale's final shot attempt, by junior forward Krista Yip-Chuck, to finish off the tie. Harrison finished with 21 saves.

Yale plays at No. 5 Clarkson Saturday at 4:00 p.m. in the regular season finale. The Bulldogs will need at least a tie against the Golden Knights -- and possibly a win -- in order to clinch a playoff spot. Cornell, which hosts Harvard Saturday, has the tiebreaker on Yale, so the Bulldogs must pass the Big Red in the standings to finish ahead of them for a playoff spot. Yale could also earn its way in by getting at least a point and finishing in a tie or ahead of Rensselaer, which plays at No. 4 Quinnipiac Saturday, or St. Lawrence, which hosts Brown Saturday.   

Report by Sam Rubin '95, Yale Sports Publicity