Jan. 19, 2007
NEW HAVEN, Conn. - Whatever Yale's line of sophomore Crysti Howser, senior Jenna Spring and senior Sheila Zingler did over winter break, it worked. That trio combined for 10 points as the Bulldogs beat Cornell 5-1 at Ingalls Rink Friday night, and they now have 37 points in seven games (six wins) since Yale's four-week break for exams last month.
Zingler and Howser each had two goals and an assist Friday, while Spring contributed four helpers. Their offensive output was all the more important considering that sophomore defenseman Helen Resor, an Olympian and Yale's leader in assists with 11, sat out the game with an injury.
"Actually I didn't say anything," Yale head coach Hilary Witt said of how she approached the team about playing without one of its top scorers. "Helen's a great player. We need her in our lineup day-in and day-out, but this is a team sport. I think everybody stepped up. I don't think anybody panicked."
Howser calmed any early jitters by scoring just 4:24 in. Spring started the play by sending a pass along the boards behind the net to Zingler in the corner. She played the puck towards the net, where it hit off a Cornell defender right to Howser. Howser buried the puck past Cornell's Jenny Niewsluchowski for her eighth goal of the year.
Cornell's Brittay Forgues responded two minutes later, lifting a rebound over junior goaltender Shivon Zilis' left leg to tie the score at one. The Bulldogs kept up the offensive pressure, forcing two Cornell penalties later in the period, but could not get another one past Niewsluchowski. On the first penalty kill she gloved a shot from Spring through traffic, then made a kick save on a slap shot from senior forward Christina Sharun. Niewsluchowski finished with nine saves in the period as Yale had a 10-5 shot edge.
Midway through the second the Bulldogs went in front for good. Spring found freshman defenseman Alyssa Clarke in the slot, and while Niewsluchowski stopped Clarke's shot Zingler was in perfect position to stick the rebound past her at the 6:10 mark. It was her ninth goal of the season, a career high for her.
Yale (11-8-0, 7-7-0 ECAC) was whistled for only three penalties all game, and one of them came with a matching penalty against Cornell (2-17-1, 2-11-0 ECAC). So a holding call against the Bulldogs at 9:48 of the second marked the Blue's first penalty kill of the game. It was highlighted by a glove save from Zilis on a slap shot from Halina Kristalyn.
"I thought as a whole our penalty killing was a lot more disciplined today," Witt said. "For the most part we stayed out of the penalty box. On the power play, Christina Sharun stepped in and did a good job for us."
Shortly after Yale killed off the penalty the Howser-Spring-Zingler line struck again. It was the fourth time in Yale's last two games that all three players on the line figured in a goal. This time, Howser and Spring got the puck to Zingler for a wrist shot that she sent past Niewsluchowski's glove at the 13:14 mark.
"We've always known they've had the potential to score a lot of goals," Witt said of the Howser-Spring-Zingler line. "I think Zingler's getting confidence now. She knows when she shoots she's got a chance to score every time. She's got a great shot. Howser's putting the puck on the net and getting rebounds. Jenna made a beautiful pass out to Clarkie to set up Zingler's first goal."
The Bulldogs tacked on another goal with just 3:40 left in the second. Junior defenseman Ann-Renée Guillemette sent one on net from the blue line, and Howser was there to poke in the rebound.
Guillemette had spent most of this season up at forward, but moved back to defense with Resor out and came up with one of her best games of the year.
"She stepped up to the plate," Witt said. "She made some great plays offensively and she made some great plays defensively."
With a 4-1 lead there was still some drama left for the Bulldogs in the third period. Seeking her first career goal, freshman forward Caroline Murphy had one waved off because of a Yale player being in the crease when she scored seven minutes in. Unfazed, Murphy took a feed from Nina Resor just 15 seconds later and roofed it for her first career tally.
"The poor kid gets a no-goal call on her the first time because of the crease rule, but she came back," Witt said. "That was a great shot she took to score. We're really happy for her."
Zilis made nine of her 19 saves in the third period. Niewsluchowski made 14 to finish with 29.
Yale returns to action Saturday afternoon at Ingalls against Colgate at 4:00 p.m. (live audio broadcast available on www.TEAMLINE.cc).
A video archive of Friday's game will be available on yalebulldogs.com shortly.
report by Sam Rubin '95 (email@example.com), Yale Sports Publicity