Love and Unlikely Hero Help Yale Snap 20-Year Skid vs. Dartmouth, 1-0

Love and Unlikely Hero Help Yale Snap 20-Year Skid vs. Dartmouth, 1-0

Feb. 3, 2006

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HANOVER, N.H. - To end a 20-year losing streak to Dartmouth, Yale needed 33 saves and a shutout from record-setting goaltender Sarah Love - and a game-winning goal from an unlikely source. Freshman Danielle Kozlowski's first career goal, at 15:32 of the first, gave the Bulldogs a 1-0 win that snapped a 41-game losing streak to the Big Green dating back to Feb. 1, 1986. It also represented Yale's first win ever at Thompson Arena.

Love stopped the final 23 shots she faced against Cornell last Saturday and made it clear early on that she was still on roll. A penalty on the Bulldogs (7-10-4, 4-5-3 ECACHL) 43 seconds in started a period that the Big Green (9-9-2, 6-6-1 ECACHL) dominated in terms of shots but not goals. On the penalty kill, Kozlowski deflected a shot by Sarah Newnam with her skate, and Kristin Savard then blocked a shot by Emily Nerland. Love took care of the next two shots, by Shannon Bowman and Nerland, and after Yale cleared Love made one more save just as the Bulldog penalty was ending.

The Bulldogs did not get their first shot on goal until over four minutes had elapsed. Dartmouth was well into double digits in shots late in the period when a Kristin Savard wrister that Kate Lane stopped set up a faceoff in the Dartmouth zone. That led to Yale's goal, as Kozlowski planted her 5-foot-1 inch frame in front of the net and stuffed a rebound past Lane off assists from Sarah Tittman and Christina Sharun.

"It was a good faceoff goal for us," said Yale head coach Hilary Witt. "We haven't usually done that on faceoffs, so it was kind of a breath of fresh air for us."

Love ended the period with a flourish, denying Alex Zagaria's point-blank shot with under a minute to play. Dartmouth had a 14-6 edge in shots but trailed 1-0 heading into intermission.

The Bulldogs clamped down in the second period, as Dartmouth had an 8-7 shot edge but several of Yale's chances were good looks. The Big Green had a nice opportunity when Caroline Ethier came charging down the left wing with the puck and only Maggie Westfal - switched to defense just for this game - in front of her. But Westfal kept her body in front of Ethier enough to disrupt the play, and the net was knocked off its moorings as a pile of players collided with it. Love then gloved Meredith Batcheller's blast from the point on the ensuing faceoff.

"Maggie played great," Witt said of the latest Bulldog forward to move back to bolster Yale's depleted blueline corps (Kristen Stupay did so last month). "She's played D before [in high school]. We'd rather have her at forward so that we can run four lines, but she did a good job today. She did everything little that she had to do to get us a win."

Dartmouth got its second power play of the game at 11:36, but Love only had to make one save before Yale had a golden short-handed chance from Crysti Howser to Deena Caplette that just missed connecting. The Bulldogs then drew a hooking penalty on the Big Green to even the sides for 57 seconds, and when Yale went on the power play Christina Sharun sailed a perfect pass from Howser just over the net.

The Bulldogs maintained their defensive poise in the third period as they stood on the verge of the historic win. One of Dartmouth's few good chances came three minutes in when Maggie Kennedy fought her way through two Yale defenders to send a shot on Love, but she cradled that one to deny any rebound chances. She then sticked aside a blast from the point by Batcheller four minutes later and kicked away a Nicole Ruta wrist shot a minute after that.

With under eight minutes to play Ruta chased down a puck in the Yale zone and appeared to have a clear path toward Love, but Guillemette raced over, got in front of her, and prevented her from even getting a shot off.

Love was not tested much as the game drew near its end, and Tittman and Howser both just missed making the lead 2-0 down at the other end. When Love covered up a puck from center ice that drifted in on net with 51.4 seconds to play , Dartmouth pulled Lane (22 saves), called a timeout, and attempted to salvage its streak with an extra attacker.

Westfal broke up an attempted centering pass with her skate before Love came up with her last great save of the night, kicking aside a shot from Danielle Grundy that had the crowd gasping.

"She kicked the rebound high," Witt said. "If she didn't, if she left it in front, it would have been a goal. She controlled that rebound. She knew what she was doing. Those are the little things. You think about the stops, but it's how you control the game and what you do with the puck that's just as important as stopping it."

Savard cleared the puck to the other end of the ice for an icing call with 7.3 seconds left, but Howser won the draw in the Yale zone and the Bulldogs celebrated the historic victory.

This marks the second 20-year streak Yale had brought to an end in the past two years. Last season, the Bulldogs beat Harvard for the first time since 1984.

report by Sam Rubin '95, Yale Sports Publicity