Feb. 20, 2009
NEW HAVEN, Conn. - Yale sophomore goaltender Jackee Snikeris came into Friday night's game on a roll, with shutouts in back-to-back games. The Bulldogs needed her to keep her shutout streak intact down to the last second, as they managed only one goal against Quinnipiac netminder Nanna Holm-Glaas. Snikeris did just that, blanking the Bobcats 1-0 with 20 saves to run her scoreless streak to 220:38 and tie the school record for shutouts in a season. She is also the first Yale goaltender in 21 years with three shutouts in a row. Sophomore forward Bray Ketchum netted the game-winner at 15:38 of the third.
Snikeris ended the night fifth in the country in save percentage (.937) and goals-against average (1.58). Her work comes at the tail end of a season where the only thing she hasn't been able to do is stay healthy; she was out of action at two different points and missed more than a month in total.
"Snik is just solid," said Yale head coach Hilary Witt. "She's always focused. After missing so many games, it's clear she doesn't want to miss any more opportunities."
Holm-Glaas provided a challenge for the Bulldogs at the other end of the ice, starting two minutes in with a nice save on senior defenseman Helen Resor after a set-up from junior forward Caroline Murphy. And seven minutes in, with Yale on its first of four power plays, Resor sent a diagonal pass from senior forward Crysti Howser just over the net.
Snikeris did not have to make her first save of the game until nearly 12 minutes had passed, but after that the Bobcats had a flurry. One of Snikeris' best stops of the night came with 6:30 left in the period as she and sophomore defenseman Samantha MacLean worked in tandem to deny a 2-on-1 for Quinnipiac.
Midway through the second period, shortly after Resor dove to the ice to block a shot by forward Trudy Reyns, the Bobcats nearly caught Snikeris out of position during a flurry in front of the net, but they were unable to get the puck through. Holm-Glaas turned aside all eight Yale shots in the second, including a wraparound attempt by freshman forward Aleca Hughes in the last two minutes.
A minute into the third Quinnipiac forward Kate Wheeler managed to get off a shot despite MacLean diving to the ice to stop it, but Snikeris made the save. Five minutes later Holm-Glaas was shaken up as the Bulldogs poked away at a rebound, but after a visit from the trainer she stayed in the game. She made a nice save on a Resor wrister that was set up by Howser, who forced the Bobcats to give the puck up while trying to break it out of their zone.
Quinnipiac (3-25-5, 2-14-5 ECAC Hockey) had a goal waved off with 10 minutes to play due to high-sticking during a scrum in the crease. With five minutes to go, right after a diving poke-check by MacLean broke up a play, the Bulldogs were whistled for interference. But 15 seconds into the power play Quinnipiac was hit with an interference call of its own, so the two teams wound up skating 4-on-4.
That was when Ketchum struck. Resor chased down a puck loose along the boards behind Snikeris and was able to push it towards Ketchum behind the net before being taken out of the play by a Quinnipiac player. Ketchum skated up along the right wing, then criss-crossed with Howser entering the Bobcat zone. She took advantage of the screen to wrist the puck past Holm-Glaas' right shoulder at 15:38.
"We just kept saying get pucks to the net," Witt said. "Bray used a screen and made it difficult for the goalie. That's how you score goals."
A minute after the goal Snikeris made a diving cover of a loose puck just outside the crease. The Bulldogs controlled play for much of the final minutes, but Quinnipiac pulled Holm-Glaas (30 saves) and got a faceoff in the Yale zone with 38.1 seconds on the clock.
That entire time was spent in the Yale zone, but Hughes and Resor wisely tied the puck up along the boards for much of it, with help from MacLean. Howser finished the game by diving to the ice to block a shot from defenseman Trudy Reyns as time expired.
"Our kids are playing hard," Witt said. "Our defense in particular is really fighting through this stretch with low numbers and people hurt."
With three shutouts in a row, Snikeris has five for the year (tied with Tiff Bingham '89 and Sarah Love `06 for first on Yale's single-season list) and nine for her career (tied with Bingham and Katie Hirte '02 for second on Yale's career list, three behind Love). Yale has had an illustrious history of goaltenders -- including All-American Laurie Belliveau '98, Love and more -- but the only other Bulldog goalie besides Snikeris with a shutout streak this long was Bingham. She blanked Connecticut, Middlebury, Vermont and Brown in a four-game span in February of 1988.
Yale (12-15-1, 8-12-1 ECAC Hockey) hosts Princeton Saturday at 4:00 p.m. in the season finale. The Bulldogs will salute the eight members of the senior class, who became the third-winningest class in school history with Friday night's victory.
Notes: Yale's pink sticks from last weekend's ECAC Hockey Pink at the Rink cancer fundraiser are available for bid at www.ecachockeycoachesvscancer.com until Monday. The Bulldogs are also still selling No. 17 t-shirts in honor of junior forward Mandi Schwartz, who has been diagnosed with leukemia.
Report by Sam Rubin '95 (firstname.lastname@example.org), Yale Sports Publicity
Video by David Dikranian