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Murphy's Law: Short-Hander, Empty-Netter Beat Princeton 5-3

Murphy's Law: Short-Hander, Empty-Netter Beat Princeton 5-3

Jan. 11, 2008

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PRINCETON, N.J. - In a game where Yale was whistled for 11 penalties, perhaps it was appropriate that the Bulldogs won on a short-hander by a player who has consistently kept herself out of the penalty box. Sophomore forward Caroline Murphy broke a 3-3 tie with Princeton while the Bulldogs were on a penalty kill four minutes into the third period, scoring her first goal of the year. She added an empty-netter at the end to clinch it.

The game-winner came in dramatic fashion, as the Tigers seemingly had seized momentum by tying the game on Katherine Dineen's tally a minute into the third. A tripping penalty on Yale (6-6-4, 4-5-2 ECAC Hockey) then gave Princeton (7-8-4, 5-6-1 ECAC Hockey) a chance to go ahead with a power play, but that went awry when Murphy hustled after a puck in the Tiger zone.

The play began with sophomore forward Mandi Schwartz stealing the puck and backhanding it to freshman defenseman Samantha MacLean, who teed up a slap shot pass from the Yale zone. Murphy got her stick on MacLean's pass at center ice, sending it ahead into the Tiger zone and racing after it. While being dragged down by the lone Princeton defender who got back, Murphy extended her stick out as far as she could and swatted the puck forward from several feet in front of the crease. The move caught Tigers netminder Kristen Young by surprise and the puck slid past her into the net.

"That goal was pure effort," said Yale head coach Hilary Witt. "We told the players that against Princeton goals were going to be hard to come by, and you might have to score in ways that aren't pretty. It was a really good game, and our kids worked very hard to get the win."

Murphy, who had one career goal in her 39 previous career games, has typified that hard-working approach all season long even if it has not always shown up on the stat sheet.

"Murph has been getting better every day," said Witt. "She has been staying within herself and not trying to force anything. She's done a really good job."

Murphy has also continued to be one of the Bulldogs' most disciplined players, with only one penalty for her career. Before her late heroics, penalties nearly cost Yale the chance for two points in the ECAC Hockey race. Leads of 2-0 and 3-1 evaporated in the whistle-filled affair, with one Tiger goal coming on a power play and another during a 4-on-4.

The Bulldogs controlled the flow of the game early on, but Young made all the necessary saves to keep the game scoreless. The Bulldogs finally solved her after sophomore defenseman Berit Johnson drew a penalty on Tiger forward Annie Greenwood. It was Yale's second power-play unit that got the job done, as Murphy sent a wrister from high in the right circle towards the net, where junior forward Kristen Stupay was positioned for a deflection. The puck hit off her and went right to junior forward Danielle Kozlowski all alone behind Young. Kozlowski knocked it into the wide-open net at 13:26.

The end of the period got dicey for the Bulldogs thanks to three penalties in a span of just over 100 seconds. But the 5-on-3 killing unit kept most of the Tiger chances to the outside, and senior goaltender Shivon Zilis stopped all five shots she saw en route to making 40 for the night. That included 19 saves during Princeton power plays as Yale limited the Tigers to a 1-for-8 performance with the man advantage.

"Survived is a good way to put it," Witt said of Yale's ability to withstand the power plays. "The key was Shivon did a good job and the kids in front cleared the puck out of the scoring areas really well."

The two-man advantage for the Tigers came to a premature end when forward Lizzie Keady was whistled for slashing the goaltender with 29 seconds left in the period.

The tone for the wild, back-and-forth second period was established early. Less than a minute in, junior defenseman Helen Resor sent a shot on net that missed wide by inches. With the puck along the boards behind the Tiger net, junior forward Maggie Westfal snared it and quickly backhanded it in front to keep the play alive. Junior forward Sarah Tittman was camped out in traffic there and managed to chip the puck in to give the Bulldogs a 2-0 lead.

"That was another hard-working goal," said Witt. "Maggie didn't give up on the play, and Tittman has the scoring knack this year."

It was Tittman's team-leading ninth goal. The two-goal cushion was short-lived, as a penalty on the Bulldogs and a failed clear attempt gave Dineen the chance to knock a rebound in at 6:41. But less than two minutes later the Bulldogs scored in transition, with Kozlowski crashing into the boards to take a long pass from sophomore defenseman Alyssa Clarke and feed the puck to Resor in the neutral zone. Resor skated in for a high wrister that beat Young to make it 3-1 Yale.

The Tigers nearly closed the gap a minute after the Resor goal, but Zilis reacted quickly to a wrister from forward Marykate Oakley and then pounced on the rebound. But right after that another penalty on the Bulldogs resulted in a faceoff in the Yale zone to Zilis' left, and off of that Dineen sent one fluttering in to pull the Tigers to within one.

The Bulldogs faced another 5-on-3 with seven minutes left in the period, but Kozlowski and Clarke both deflected attempted shots away. After a Zilis save, Kozlowski deflected away another pass and Zilis brought the 5-on-3 portion of the penalty kill to a dramatic end with a glove save as Yale's fourth penalty killer was coming out of the box. The second period ended with Yale holding a 3-2 lead.

Dineen tied the game 51 seconds into the third, but Murphy's short-hander broke the deadlock at 3:47.

"Murphy's goal was a huge energy booster and lifter," Witt said. "No-one panicked when we lost the lead. We just kept trying to find a way."

The Tigers pulled Young with two minutes to play, but Zilis made the last of her saves to keep Princeton at bay. Murphy then put the game out of reach by intercepting a pass in the Yale zone and skating patiently to the red line before sending a shot into the empty net.

Yale visits Quinnipiac Saturday afternoon at 4:00 p.m.

report by Sam Rubin '95 (, Yale Sports Publicity