Nov. 25, 2008
NEW HAVEN, Conn. - No. 4 BU seemed to have everything going in its favor heading into Tuesday night's game against Yale at Ingalls Rink. The Terriers were riding a 10-game unbeaten streak (second-longest in the country), had the No. 7 scoring defense in the nation, and had allowed only two goals total in their last three games. The Bulldogs had not played in 10 days and were looking for an offensive spark -- but they found that spark at the right time. Goals from four different players and 18 saves from sophomore goaltender Jackee Snikeris led Yale to the thrilling 4-1 win.
Yale got a pair of power play goals -- from freshman forward Aleca Hughes and senior forward Danielle Kozlowski -- along with even-strength tallies from senior forward Kristen Stupay and senior forward Crysti Howser. That tied Yale's season high for goals, and also tied the high for goals allowed by BU this season.
It was clear from the start that the Bulldogs were ready. The question coming out of the 10-day break was whether Yale would be rested or rusty, and it turned out to be the former. Yale outshot the Terriers 9-6 in the opening period.
"We just went back to basics during those 10 days," said Yale head coach Hilary Witt. "Our kids committed themselves to getting better at the little things. They played with a lot of energy tonight."
Yale held BU scoreless on seven power plays and allowed the Terriers only 19 shots on goal, 10 below their season average.
"Our work in our D-zone was a lot better tonight," said Witt. "We blocked a lot of shots and didn't give them many chances."
The first period turned into a special teams battle. The Bulldogs had to kill off the first penalty, a too many men on the ice call, 90 seconds in. Snikeris denied the Terriers with a pair of loud stick saves, and senior defenseman Helen Resor got her stick on a loose puck high on the crease to clear it. Forechecking by Howser and junior forward Caroline Murphy finished off the rest of the kill.
BU goalie Allyse Wilcox made a tough save on a diving attempt by Kozlowski, who was trying to deflect in a crossing pass from senior forward Sarah Tittman six minutes in. Wilcox then stopped a pair of attempts by Howser from right in front after a feed from behind the net by senior forward Maggie Westfal.
A steal by junior forward Mandi Schwartz in the neutral zone generated the start of a series of penalties with 5:30 left in the period. Hughes picked up the loose puck at the blue line, and BU defenseman Tara Watchorn had to check Hughes to keep her from heading right to the net.
The Bulldogs were whistled for slashing right after that, but just as the Yale penalty was ending the Terriers were hit with a hooking call. There would not be any five-on-five hockey for nearly three minutes, until the Bulldogs broke on top with 2:41 to play in the period. Resor sent the puck into the right corner, where Howser retrieved it. She skated patiently up to the top of the right circle for a wrist shot that Wilcox could not control. Hughes -- whose mother Allison played for BU -- was stationed in perfect position to knock in the rebound.
Yale extended the lead midway through the second period. Hughes took a puck out of the left corner and fed Resor for a shot from the left circle that Wilcox stopped, but senior forward Kristen Stupay swooped in for the rebound at 8:42.
The Terriers took advantage of a delayed penalty to get back within one less than a minute later. Forward Melissa Anderson's pass from behind the net deflected off forward Lauren Cherewyk to forward Jenelle Kohanchuk, who put a slap shot past Snikeris at 9:24.
Yale extended the lead back to two with some hard work along the boards during a power play later in the period. Westfal battled for the puck deep in the right corner, freeing it up for Tittman, who grabbed it and came at Wilcox from a hard angle. Tittman's first attempt was stopped, but she kept fighting for the puck and that enabled Kozlowski to sneak in and poke in the rebound.
The goals by Stupay and Kozlowski marked the first goals by anyone other than Howser, Hughes, Resor or sophomore forward Bray Ketchum on the Yale roster. Witt noted that even though a quick glance might not have led to anyone expecting goals from that duo -- they had 15 career goals heading into Tuesday night -- their work over Yale's 10-day break was bound to pay dividends.
"I'm not surprised," said Witt. "Stups and Kozzy have worked their tails off in practice. With their work ethic they were bound to score some goals like that."
The Bulldogs' two power-play goals Tuesday night came after they had only four in their first six games (a pair each from Howser and Ketchum).
"It was exciting to get other kids involved in the scoring and involved on the power play," Witt said. "It started with the penalty kill. Getting confidence on the PK can give you confidence on the power play."
Snikeris made her best save of the night with 16 minutes left when forward Gina Kearns spun off her defender along the left boards and sent a pass to a wide-open defenseman Sarah Appleton in the right circle. Appleton appeared to have plenty of net to shoot at, but Snikeris lunged across and was able to get her glove on the shot. Howser then cleared it to safety.
"That was a big save," Witt said. "That was probably the turning point in the game."
After being injured in the first game of the year and sidelined for two weeks, Snikeris looked like she was making up for lost time Tuesday night by delivering one of the biggest wins of her young career. She also did it all knowing that Wilcox had been right there with her trying out for a spot on the U.S. Under-22 team last summer, and USA Hockey representatives were keeping a close eye on this game.
"Snik just got back to basics after being out for so long," Witt said. "She's comfortable, and doesn't let outside matters like that distract her."
Howser, who was on that U.S. U-22 team, then put the game out of reach by sniping a wrist shot into the upper right corner of the net with 7:32 to play. Freshman defenseman Samantha MacLean started the play by breaking up a BU pass all the way back in Yale's end. Westfal backhanded the puck through the neutral zone to Howser, who used the one defender in front of her as a screen to beat Wilcox on her glove side.
Howser finished with a goal and an assist, while Resor and Westfal had a pair of assists each. Hughes, Tittman and MacLean had one assist each. Sophomore defenseman Alyssa Clarke and Hughes both had +2 ratings.
Wilcox finished with 20 saves for BU (8-3-3, 5-0 Hockey East).
Yale (3-5-0, 2-4-0 ECAC Hockey) plays Quinnipiac in the first round of the Nutmeg Classic Friday night at UConn.
report by Sam Rubin '95 (firstname.lastname@example.org), Yale Sports Publicity
video by David Dikranian