Feb. 9, 2008
NEW HAVEN, Conn. - By midway through the third period Saturday afternoon at Ingalls Rink, it was clear that the Yale-Quinnipiac game was coming down to a battle between irresistible force and immovable object. The force was a Yale offense that, led by a series of blasts from junior defenseman Helen Resor, generated an amazing 27 shots on goal in the final period of regulation. The immovable object was Bobcats goalie Tia Wishart, who was on her way to her second straight 50-save performance. The end result, after junior forward Crysti Howser turned a rebound of one of those Resor shots into her second goal of the game with 2:26 left in regulation, was a 3-3 tie.
The Bulldogs had to rally three times in this game, allowing goals to the Bobcats in each of the first three periods. For a while it appeared as if Wishart would emerge with the upper hand, but the third-period onslaught kept that from happening.
"You have to give [Wishart] credit," said Yale head coach Hilary Witt. "She was phenomenal. But the effort we have when we're down is amazing. We need to have that when we're not down."
The Bulldogs fell behind quickly in this one. After Elyse Cole's goal at 2:40 of the first staked the Bobcats to a 1-0 lead, freshman goaltender Jackee Snikeris made a nice save on Janine Duffy from right in front five minutes later to keep Quinnipiac within reach. Snikeris, who finished with 23 saves, also gloved a wrister from Cole six minutes later with an open Bobcat perched outside the crease looking for a rebound.
The Bulldogs tied the game on the first of Howser's goals, which came on a power play. Sophomore defenseman Alyssa Clarke sent the puck to freshman defenseman Samantha MacLean low in the left circle, and MacLean quickly touched it into the slot where two Bulldogs were waiting. The puck hit off Howser's skate, causing momentary confusion, but sophomore forward Mandi Schwartz got her stick on it to keep it alive. As Howser was falling to the ice and with her back to the goal, she executed a backhand swipe that got the puck past a surprised Wishart.
The Bobcats went back on top quickly in the second period, taking advantage of a Yale penalty with Cole's power-play goal at the 3:23 mark. Wishart continued to stymie the Bulldogs at the other end, denying freshman forward Bray Ketchum right in front. The Bulldogs got a power play right after that, but Wishart sticked aside a shot by junior forward Sarah Tittman after a nice feed from Schwartz, then survived a series of hard shots from the point by Resor.
A pair of penalties on the Bobcats late in the second gave Yale a 5-on-3, but Wishart denied a backhander from in front by sophomore forward Caroline Murphy amidst heavy traffic. Later the Bobcats had a 5-on-3 of their own but Yale's penalty-killing unit did not allow them to set up on offense. The Quinnipiac lead remained 2-1 heading into the third period.
Ketchum knocked in a loose puck in front of the net at 2:53 of the third, assisted by Murphy and Howser, to tie the game up again. But Quinnipiac answered immediately, as Kelley Davies scored 90 seconds later for a 3-2 Bobcat lead.
The Bulldogs unleashed a barrage of shots on Wishart after that. Resor in particular put on a show for the sizable crowd on hand for Alumnae Weekend and ECAC Hockey's Pink at the Rink fundraiser for cancer research. Her multiple blasts from the point elicited louder and louder oohs and aahs from both sides of the rink as time began winding down in the game.
"We need her to do that," Witt said of Resor's shooting display. "She did a great job getting pucks on the net with low, hard shots. If she does that all the time we'll start scoring more goals."
Resor, who had 15 shots for the game, started off the game-tying sequence with a shot from the right point. Murphy kept the puck alive as Wishart went down to make the save, and Howser swooped in from behind Murphy to knock the loose puck in and tie the game at three.
Like Resor, Howser's role in the Yale attack was clearly defined in this game. Both of her goals came from hard work in the slot.
"She battled in front," said Witt. "Those are the type of goals you have to score in games like this."
Yale finished the third period with 27 shots, including nine by Resor. The Bulldogs were whistled for a pair of penalties in overtime that stopped their momentum, and shots were even at three in the extra session. Snikeris and Wishart stopped them all to finish off the deadlock.
The Bulldogs travel to St. Lawrence and Clarkson next weekend with their postseason plans still undetermined. With Cornell's loss to St. Lawrence the Bulldogs now have sole possession of seventh place in the ECAC Hockey standings, and the top eight teams make the playoffs. But while sixth-place Colgate has a four-point lead on the Bulldogs, ninth-place RPI is only two points behind.
The pink uniforms the Bulldogs wore for the weekend at Ingalls Rink are now being auctioned on-line to benefit cancer research. Bids may be placed at http://www.ecachockeycoachesvscancer.com.
report by Sam Rubin '95 (firstname.lastname@example.org), Yale Sports Publicity