Dec. 9, 2007
NEW HAVEN, Conn. - For Sunday afternoon's game against Brown, the Yale players sitting in the stands sidelined by injuries represented eight of the 20 goals the Bulldogs had scored on the season. The injury-riddled squad needed someone to step up and provide some offense. Freshman forward Bray Ketchum answered the call, scoring a pair of goals in the third period that included one of the highlight-reel variety. That helped Yale gut out a 2-2 tie in the final game before winter break.
Yale's leading goal scorer, junior forward Sarah Tittman (five goals), and sophomore forward Denise Soesilo (three goals) were both out on Sunday, putting Yale's thin roster to the test. Freshman forward/defenseman Lili Rudis was out as well, so the Bulldogs had only 14 skaters.
"It's tough to lose some of your key players when you have a short roster," said Yale head coach Hilary Witt. "But there are no excuses. We made some mistakes and took too many penalties. I don't think we stepped up as well as we could have, and Brown played well."
Yale got some much-needed help from its freshman class, starting with Ketchum's goals. Rookie goalkeeper Jackee Snikeris made 22 saves, and would have come away with a win if not for an extra-attacker goal by the Bears with 1:20 left in the game. She had some help from a Yale defense that included fellow freshman Samantha MacLean, who continued to emerge as a key part of Yale's blueline corps.
"Samantha MacLean played great," said Witt. "She's probably been our most consistent defenseman all season."
With Snikeris and Brown's Nicole Stock on their games, neither team scored for the first 45 minutes. A Brown penalty gave Yale a chance to get on the scoreboard midway through the first, but Stock sticked aside junior forward Kristen Stupay's shot after sophomore forward Caroline Murphy hit her with a long-distance pass from the Yale zone to the Brown blue line. Shortly after that Yale was whistled for a penalty. Snikeris highlighted the successful kill by making a stick save on forward Hayley Moore's blast from the right circle.
Snikeris came up with another huge stop when forward Andrea Hunter stole the puck in the Yale zone and drove all the way to the doorstep, warding off a Yale defender along the way. Snikeris turned aside her shot to keep the game scoreless.
The Yale defense, playing with only five players, also came through with some big performances in front of Snikeris. Moore had the puck on a 2-on-1 with six minutes to play but sophomore defenseman Berit Johnson handled the play perfectly, getting her stick on Moore's attempted pass into the slot. Johnson then controlled the puck and the Bulldogs were able to take it down to the other end of the ice, where junior defenseman Helen Resor -- pressed into duty at forward in Yale's depleted lineup -- drew a penalty on the Bears.
Junior forward Crysti Howser hit the post with a shot from the right circle during that power play, and the Bulldogs had to kill off a penalty of their own with four minutes to play in the period. Junior forward Danielle Kozlowski started the kill off by diving to the ice to block a shot by defenseman Jenny Cedorchuk, sending it out of the zone. Later in the penalty kill, Kozlowski stole the puck behind the Brown net while forechecking and managed to get a backhander on goal that Stock saved. Stock finished off the Brown power play in dramatic fashion by kicking aside a shot from junior defenseman Carlee Ness just after she got out of the penalty box.
Two minutes into the second period matching penalties left the teams skating 4-on-4. The Bears had one of their best chances of the game in that stretch, as Snikeris accidentally poke checked a pass in front of the net right to Hunter, but Snikeris recovered quickly to deny the shot. Resor blocked defenseman Heather Lane's shot from the point shortly after that.
A penalty on the Bulldogs six minutes in gave the Bears another chance to break the scoreless tie. But Stupay hit the ice to block a shot by Cedorchuk, then spun around to get her stick on the puck and send it out of the zone. Later in the penalty kill MacLean skillfully stopped a shot with her skate and then cleared the puck to the other end of the ice.
Snikeris made another key save when the Bears had a 2-on-1 with eight minutes left in the period. Forward Maggie Suprey skated the puck in and put a shot on net, but Snikeris made the save and cradled the puck to make sure there was no rebound opportunity. The Bears won the ensuing faceoff, which eventually enabled forward Erin Connors to take a pass from behind the net and nearly stuff it in, but Snikeris was once again in perfect position.
Another pair of matching penalties 4:31 into the third led to the first goal. The Bulldogs worked the puck patiently in the Brown zone, with Howser taking it off the boards low and feeding it to Ketchum along the right side. She worked a give-and-go with junior forward Maggie Westfal at the point, taking the puck back and skating into the slot before slapping it past Stock at 5:01.
Brown (1-10-2, 1-7-2 ECAC) had a shot by Lane hit the cross bar 30 seconds later, and the Bulldogs took the puck down and had a pair of chances. Stock gloved Johnson's wrister off a 3-on-2, and Ketchum later slid one just wide from right in front.
Yale had a goal waved off with 10 minutes left in the game, as Stock got a piece of a blast from Resor and Howser knocked the fluttering rebound in but was called for high-sticking. The Bears took advantage of their new life, as Lane's long pass to forward Sasha Van Muyen at the Yale blue line gave Van Muyen a breakaway with seven minutes left. She tied the game at one with her first goal of the year.
Ketchum responded a minute later with a memorable goal. Sophomore defenseman Alyssa Clarke got the play started by stealing the puck along the right boards in the neutral zone while Brown was making a line change. Clarke quickly fed it across the ice to Ketchum, who built up a full head of steam heading into the Brown zone. She passed the puck around a Bear defender to herself, leaving only Stock in her way. Ketchum took care of Stock by deking her to the ice and then switching to her backhand to deposit the puck in the net for her fifth tally of the year.
"I said heading into the third period that goal scorers need to score," said Witt. "Bray did just that. That second goal was unbelievable."
Yale (4-5-3, 3-5-2 ECAC Hockey) had to kill off another penalty, its eighth of the game, with five minutes left. After that the Bulldogs still were not out of the woods, as Brown pulled Stock with less than two minutes to play. Adding to Yale's frustration, junior forward Danielle Kozlowski controlled the puck in the Yale zone and sent a shot down the middle of the ice that missed being a game-clinching empty-netter by inches with 1:30 to play.
That wound up being an icing call that generated a face-off in the Yale end, and after that with a scrum in front of the net Hunter was able to knock a loose puck past a sprawled-out Snikeris to tie the game at two.
Snikeris made a pair of saves in the extra session, including a quick leg save on a redirection from right in front by Moore. Stock made three of her 31 saves in overtime.
The Bulldogs now have 20 days before they take to the ice again, facing Niagara in the first round of the Nutmeg Classic at Quinnipiac Dec. 29. Yale is the defending Nutmeg Classic champions.
report by Sam Rubin '95 (firstname.lastname@example.org), Yale Sports Publicity