December 4, 2008

Grant's First Goal is Game-Winner as Bulldogs Beat Brown 4-1

Dec. 4, 2008

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NEW HAVEN, Conn. - Slowly but surely, freshman defenseman Heather Grant has been emerging as a major contributor for Yale. On Thursday night at Ingalls Rink, she got her first big chance to contribute offensively when a stray first-period slap shot from senior defenseman Helen Resor came her way low in the right circle with Yale and Brown tied 1-1. Grant delivered her first career goal, and it wound up being the game-winner in the Bulldogs' 4-1 victory.

The win caps a solid stretch for the Bulldogs in general and Grant in particular. Yale heads into winter break with wins in three of its last four games, and the blue liner from Toronto has been a key part of that run.

"Heather played amazingly well against UConn, and she was very good vs. Quinnipiac and BU as well," said Yale head coach Hilary Witt. "It was nice to see her get a little reward by getting that goal tonight. She has been playing great."

Grant wasn't the only defenseman getting in on the scoring Thursday night. Junior Alyssa Clarke's three assists give her nine for the season, and she's already surpassed her career high in that category. She now leads the team in assists and +/- (+12).

"Clarkie was aggressive, shot with confidence, and made a lot of heads-up plays tonight," said Witt. "All of our D played well."

Clarke's first assist came at 6:30 of the first, when she put a shot on net that Brown goalie Nicole Stock could not handle. With heavy traffic in the crease, junior forward Caroline Murphy poked the puck in to give the Bulldogs a 1-0 lead.

Brown (2-10-1, 2-5-0 ECAC Hockey) had a response four minutes later, when Sasha Van Muyen was able to deflect Maggie Suprey's shot past Yale goalie Jackee Snikeris on a power play to tie the game.

But the Bulldogs quickly erased any thoughts of Brown pulling off the upset, as Grant's goal made it 2-1 before the first intermission and a goal by sophomore forward Bray Ketchum a minute into the second set the tone for that period. Junior forward Mandi Schwartz got the puck to Clarke, who then sent it back to Schwartz low in the right circle. Schwartz rifled a pass across the ice to Ketchum, who came in behind Stock and roofed it for the 3-1 lead.

Brown (2-10-1, 2-5-0 ECAC Hockey) got its sixth power play early in the third but could not use it to get any closer. Senior forward Danielle Kozlowski got her stick on a shot from the blue line early in the PK and then cleared it. Freshman forward Aleca Hughes then made a diving block to send the puck out of the zone as the penalty expired.

With help from Clarke, Ketchum then put the game out of reach. Clarke took the puck at the Yale blue line and fed it to Ketchum at center ice. Ketchum freed herself from one defender with a nice move, then utilized another defender as a screen to slip a wrister past Stock at the 11:43 mark for the 4-1 final. It was Ketchum's third multiple-goal game of the year.

Stock made 28 saves for Brown. Snikeris finished with 15 saves, upping her save percentage to .908 and lowering her goals-against average to 2.38. Over the last four games she has allowed only one even-strength goal.

The win gives Yale an important pair of points in the ECAC Hockey standings, moving the Bulldogs from a tie for eighth into a tie for sixth. The top eight teams make the ECAC Hockey playoffs.

The Bulldogs are now off for 26 days for exams and holidays. They host Providence on Dec. 30 at 3:00 p.m.

report by Sam Rubin '95 (sam.rubin@yale.edu), Yale Sports Publicity

Video by David Dikranian