Oct. 30, 2004
North Branford, CT - Yale captain Erin Duggan may be tied for third on the school's all-time assists list (45), but in the Bulldogs' opener Saturday night she took scoring matters into her own hands. The senior blueliner scored three goals to help Yale overcome a 2-0 second-period deficit and beat Quinnipiac 4-2 at the Northford Ice Pavilion. The victory means that Sunday's UConn-Yale showdown at Ingalls Rink (2:00 p.m.) will be for the inaugural Nutmeg Classic championship.
The Bulldogs outshot the Bobcats 11-4 in the opening period, but neither team found the net. Things changed in the second due mainly to special teams play. QU's Gillian Gallagher tipped one past Yale goalie Sarah Love at 6:51 during a 5-on-3 advantage. Gallagher added another at 8:50 with the teams at even strength. Yale had a goal waved off midway through the period when the Bulldogs put the puck past Bobcat goalie Janelle Wolitski just after the whistle had blown. The Bulldogs got a 5-on-3 shortly after that which resulted in Duggan's first goal. Skating in from the blue line, she deked a defender down to the ice, skated around her and wristed one from the edge of the circle past Wolitski's left shoulder to bring Yale within one. Christina Sharun and Kristin Savard picked up assists on the play.
Duggan struck again at 7:21 of the third, taking a pretty pass from Savard and depositing it past Wolitski to tie the game. Nina Resor also assisted on the play. The game-winner came at 14:57 on a seemingly innocuous shot from the point that found its way into the net past a screened Wolitski. Duggan pumped her fists in celebration as her teammates mobbed her.
"That senior class has gone through a lot," noted head coach Hilary Witt of Duggan and classmates Nicole Symington (who assisted on the third goal along with Sheila Zingler) and Ali Turney. Those three saw the team go 18-39-5 in their first two seasons before turning it around last year to tie the school record with 12 wins.
"They're emotional and they want to win so badly," Witt said. "When she [Duggan] is on, she can control a game."
So can Love, who stopped all seven Bobcat shots in the third period and had 19 saves for the game. The Bulldogs could not breathe easily, however, until Quinnipiac pulled Wolitski with 1:02 to go and Savard skated all the way in on the empty net to score Yale's fourth goal with 57 seconds remaining. The Bulldogs, who averaged just over 2.3 goals per game last season, have shown an added soring touch early this year. They reached the four-goal mark in their preseason scrimmage and preseason exhibition in addition to Saturday's season opener.
"To be down 2-0 and come back is huge," Witt said. "To put up four goals is huge. And to get our first win of the season is huge."
With a victory over one Connecticut rival in hand, the Bulldogs now host the Huskies in a game that will determine the inaugural Nutmeg Classic champion. Tickets will be available at Ingalls Rink one hour prior to the game. Live in-game stats will be available through Gametracker on the Yale schedule page by clicking the "Gametracker" link.
report by Sam Rubin '95 (firstname.lastname@example.org), Yale Sports Publicity Department