Jan. 6, 2005
Yale returns to ECACHL play this weekend with games at Clarkson (Friday, 7:00 p.m.) and No. 8 St. Lawrence (Saturday, 4:00 p.m.). The Bulldogs (9-7-0, 7-2-0 ECACHL) have a five-game winning streak in conference play and are in first place, but it has been a long time since they experienced a win. Since Hilary Witt's squad beat ECACHL foe Colgate 2-1 on December 4, the Bulldogs have had four non-conference losses with a 23-day winter break sandwiched in between. They have been knocked out of the national polls for the first time since December 6, when they debuted at No. 10, and are now listed among the "others receiving votes." The Bulldogs thus make this 720-mile round trip with something to prove.
Clarkson is in just its second season of NCAA competition, and its first in the ECACHL, but has made an immediate impact. With the youngest roster in college hockey (one junior, 15 sophomores and six freshmen), the Golden Knights have posted a 6-6-5 overall record 2-3-1 conference mark. Four of Clarkson's losses have been by one goal. Rick Seeley's squad is one of the toughest defensive units in the country (t-11th in goals per game allowed at 2.06), led by sophomore goaltender Kira McDonald (t-9th in the country in save percentage, .921). Freshman Katie Morrison leads the team with 12 points on six goals and six assists.
Clarkson has had two close games (a 3-2 loss and 1-1 tie) with St. Lawrence, their rivals and a perennial conference powerhouse. The Bulldogs get a look at the Saints (12-3-3, 2-1-1 ECACHL) when they travel to Canton on Saturday. Yale has never beaten St. Lawrence, posting an 0-18-1 mark in the series. St. Lawrence was a Frozen Four team last year, but the Bulldogs held their own in the team's two meetings, falling 3-2 and 5-2. Yale was outshot 99-60 in the two-game stretch but nearly pulled off an upset behind the goaltending of junior Sarah Love, who made 44 saves in the first game and 47 in the second. Sophomore forward Jenna Spring had two of Yale's four goals, including a power-play tally. The Bulldogs kept themselves in both games with a strong penalty kill - the Saints were 0-14 on the power play - and have kept that trend going this season. They are currently fourth in the country on the penalty kill (.899). Spring, who was just named to the ECACHL honor roll for her three-point weekend against Maine and New Hampshire, has been Yale's best offensive threat of late with six points in the last six games. She is second to senior defenseman Erin Duggan in scoring with 14 points (8-6-14) to Duggan's 15 (7-8-15). Senior forward Rebecca Russell leads the Saints in scoring and is fourth in the ECACHL (13-13-26).
The Bulldogs are in the midst of a string of eight straight road games, one that includes the team's first-ever trip to Ohio State for a two-game set the weekend after this trip to the North Country.
report by Sam Rubin '95, Yale Sports Publicity Department