Jan. 11, 2006
NEW HAVEN, Conn. - Two of the top three defenses in the country await Yale at the end of a 360-mile bus trip to the North Country this weekend. The Bulldogs' improved offense, which has averaged 4.2 goals per game over the last six games, faces a stiff challenge at No. 3 St. Lawrence (Friday, 7:00 p.m.) and No. 9 Clarkson (Saturday, 4:00 p.m.). The Saints are second in the country in scoring defense, allowing just 1.11 goals per game. The Golden Knights are third (1.38).
The challenge comes at a time when Yale's offense is clicking like never before. With 43 goals in 15 games, the Bulldogs (5-7-3, 2-2-2 ECACHL) have a shot at breaking the school record for goals in a season (87, 1984-85). If recent trends continue the mark is definitely in jeopardy. Yale's three veteran defensemen - junior Regan Gilbride (White Plains, N.Y.), sophomore Ann-Renée Guillemette (North Bay, Ont.) and junior Nina Resor (Westwood, Mass.) - have combined for 13 points (2-11-13) in the last six games. That's nearly twice as many as the trio had (2-6-8) in the previous 41 games, dating back to last year.
Also adding to the scoring has been freshman forward Crysti Howser (Wilmette, Ill.). Howser earned ECACHL Rookie of the Week honors Monday after putting up seven points (3-4-7) in three games to help Yale go 2-0-1. Senior forward Deena Caplette (Winnipeg, Man.) also had a solid week, registering two goals and two assists.
The Saints (15-2-2, 5-1-2 ECACHL) have plenty of offensive stars of their own. Sophomore forward Sabrina Harbec is third in the country in points per game (11-20-31 in 17 games), with freshman forward Carson Duggan 12th (17-9-26 in 19 games). Duggan leads the country in goals with 17. Sophomore defenseman Annie Guay is third in points per game among blueliners (3-15-18 in 17 games).
Overall, the Saints are fifth in the country with 3.84 goals per game. Guay, Harbec and sophomore defenseman Kerri Wallace missed the last two games - a split with St. Cloud State that knocked St. Lawrence from the No. 1 spot - because they were with Team Canada's U22 team at the Air Canada Cup.
The stellar Saints defense in anchored by a pair of netminders who have split time almost equally. Sophomore Meaghan Guckian (eight games) leads the country in goals-against average (1.04), while senior Jess Moffat (11 games) is third at 1.23. Moffat is second in save percentage (.945), just ahead of Guckian (.944).
With St. Lawrence's power play fifth in the country (21 for 90, 21.6%), the Bulldogs must continue to stay out of the box - they are eighth in the country in fewest penalty minutes per game (10.5). Senior forward Lisa Jacque (Markham, Ont.), the team captain, sets the tone there with just one penalty incurred in 15 games.
St. Lawrence has a 22-0-1 lead in the all-time series against Yale, outscoring the Bulldogs 121-38. Last year's trip to Canton for a 4-3 loss was a particularly frustrating one for Yale, as a 2-0 first-period lead slipped away due to three goals in the second period by the Saints. Junior forward Kristin Savard (Framingham, Mass.) tied the game with her second goal in the third period, but St. Lawrence got the game-winner with 7:22 remaining.
Yale went 2-0 against Clarkson last year, the first time these two teams met, but both games were close. Junior forward Kelsey Johnson (Wayzata, Minn.) got the game-winner in overtime for a 2-1 win in Potsdam Jan. 7. Goals by Nina Resor and Helen Resor helped Yale to a 2-0 win behind 19 saves from senior goaltender Sarah Love (Bayfield, Ont.) a month later in New Haven.
The Golden Knights (14-6-1, 6-2-0 ECACHL) figure to limit the scoring this time around as well. Junior goaltender Kira Hurley is fourth in the country in goals-against average (1.30) and seventh in save percentage (.929). Clarkson is third in the country on the penalty kill (65 for 72, 90.3%).
Junior forward Ashley Shaidle (9-8-17) leads Clarkson in scoring. The Knights enter the weekend with a three-game winning streak.
Following the long trip, Yale has a weekend off before hosting Brown on Tuesday Jan. 24.
report by Sam Rubin '95 (firstname.lastname@example.org), Yale Sports Publicity