Dec. 1, 2007
NEW HAVEN, Conn. - No. 5 St. Lawrence scored twice in the third period, including an empty-netter, to avoid an upset bid by Yale with a 3-1 win over the Bulldogs Saturday afternoon at Ingalls Rink. The Bulldogs got 34 saves from senior goaltender Shivon Zilis, who suffered the tough-luck loss after battling the No. 1 scoring offense in the country nearly to a stalemate.
The game was a bit of a gut check for the Bulldogs (3-5-2, 3-5-1 ECAC), who suffered a 6-0 loss to Clarkson Friday night. While the final score was not what they wanted, the effort was there.
"I told the kids that you define character by how you rebound from a game like the one Friday night," said Yale head coach Hilary Witt. "We showed some character. Now, we have to show up and play like this every game."
While the Bulldogs matched the powerful St. Lawrence offense (62 goals in the previous 13 games) shot-for-shot in the first period, Saints goaltender Meaghan Guckian matched Zilis save-for-save. The Bulldogs caught a tough break a minute in when Guckian was out of position after a stop and junior forward Crysti Howser's shot off the rebound hit the post.
A penalty on St. Lawrence (11-3-0, 7-1-0 ECAC) two minutes in gave Yale a power play, but Carson Duggan stole the puck in the Yale end and forced Zilis to make a quick save. The Bulldogs had a golden chance shortly after the power play ended, but Guckian got her stick on junior forward Maggie Westfal's attempt to redirect a pass from junior forward Sarah Tittman from just outside the crease.
Midway through the period Guckian made another pair of tough saves, sticking aside Westfal's shot and then Howser's attempt at knocking in the rebound. Guckian also made a big save near the end of the period, kicking away a wrister from junior defenseman Carlee Ness after Westfal and Tittman set her up for an open shot.
For her part, Zilis was not giving out any rebound chances. She absorbed all 14 Saint shots with relative ease, and the Yale defense kept most of the play out of the slot. The teams went into the first intermission scoreless.
Duggan gave the Saints a 1-0 lead three minutes into the second with her 11th goal of the year. Annie Guay stole the puck at center ice, then worked it ahead to Sabrina Harbec. Harbec sent the puck in front where it went in off Duggan's skate, prompting a long discussion among the officials before the goal was finally allowed. That ended a scoreless streak of 76:33 for Zilis.
Zilis got right back on track by denying St. Lawrence's next golden opportunity, ranging far out of the net to disrupt Marianna Locke's attempt. Shortly after that the Bulldogs were whistled for their second penalty of the game. The potent Saints power play (21 for 72 entering the game) kept the puck in Yale's zone the entire time, but all three shots were turned aside by Zilis.
A day after giving Clarkson three power play goals, the Bulldogs held the Saints to an 0-for-2 performance on the power play.
"It's one thing to get a penalty. It's another thing to get a penalty that you don't need to take," said Witt. "Today we did a better job of not taking those."
The Bulldogs evened the game thanks to a 5-on-3 with two minutes remaining in the period. First, Westfal drew a checking call on Guay. On the power play, Yale's line of junior Danielle Kozlowski, sophomore Caroline Murphy and junior Kristen Stupay drew another penalty when Kozlowski set up Stupay with a nice feed in front and St. Lawrence's Alison Domenico disrupted the play with a hooking infraction.
"That line drew the penalty," Witt said. "Stupay went to the net, and it was your basic hard-working type of a play."
Guckian gloved Yale's first shot of the power play, a slap shot by junior defenseman Helen Resor, but the Bulldogs eventually solved her. Howser backhanded the puck to Tittman along the boards, and she skated it out high in the right circle before passing to freshman forward Bray Ketchum in the left circle. Ketchum quickly passed it back to Tittman, who wristed one that floated through traffic into the upper right corner of the net at the 18:01 mark. Tittman has now tied her career high with five goals.
"We preached patience on the power play," Witt said. "I thought the 5-on-3 group did a good job of showing patience and then finishing."
The game turned back in St. Lawrence's favor early in the third. After Zilis denied a wraparound attempt by Domenico by getting her left leg down on the shot, she made another nice save on Kerri Wallace a minute in. But shortly after that Wallace fed Kirsten Roach for a 2-1 lead 1:34 into the period.
The Bulldogs continued battling, but Guckian came up big with a save against Howser on a breakaway at the halfway point of the third. Zilis countered with an acrobatic stop of a Courtney Sawchuk shot a minute later, and the Bulldogs did get another power play with six minutes remaining. Guckian made a pair of saves on that one to keep Yale at bay.
The Bulldogs managed another flurry of activity in the St. Lawrence zone when Zilis was pulled in favor of an extra attacker with 1:25 left in the game, but once the Saints got control of the puck Harbec passed it to Wallace and she slid a well-aimed shot all the way down to the empty net with 39 seconds to play. That ensured that the Saints, who have not lost to the Bulldogs in the 30-game series history (29 St. Lawrence wins, one tie), kept their streak intact.
Guckian finished with 24 saves. Zilis, who has made 30 or more saves in four of the five games she has started, ended the day fourth in the country in save percentage (.941).
"Shivon was great," Witt said. "She made the saves we needed her to make. Overall it was a great team effort. Howser stepped up, Ness and Koz blocked some shots. We played hard and we played smart. People picked each other up."
Yale returns to the ice Thursday at 7:00 p.m. at Providence.
report by Sam Rubin '95 (email@example.com), Yale Sports Publicity