Trip to Dartmouth, No. 7 Harvard Could Prove Telling
Feb. 2, 2006
NEW HAVEN, Conn. - Grabbing three points last weekend helped Yale maneuver into the eighth and final playoff position in the ECACHL standings. The Bulldogs' attempts to solidify their postseason plans face a challenge this weekend with visits to Dartmouth (Friday, 7 p.m.) and No. 7 Harvard (Saturday, 4 p.m.). The game against Harvard will be broadcast on-line as USCHO.com's Game of the Week.
Yale's earlier meeting with the Big Green (9-8-2, 6-5-1 ECACHL, 7th), a 4-2 Dartmouth win in a game that was tied at two heading into the third period, extended a long string of Yale frustration in the series. The Bulldogs (6-10-4, 3-5-3 ECACHL, 8th) have not beaten the Big Green since a 3-2 victory Feb. 1, 1986. That's 41 straight losses, and a 3-55-1 record all-time in the series. Yale has never won on the road against Dartmouth.
The most recent Yale loss in the series came despite an early 2-1 lead on goals by Jenna Spring and Maggie Westfal. The Bulldogs had only two power plays for the game, going scoreless on both of them, while Dartmouth went 2-for-10. Yale special teams have been improving of late, though. The Bulldogs have killed off 16 straight penalties since allowing five goals in a 12-penalty stretch during games against St. Lawrence and Clarkson Jan. 13 and 14. The Bulldogs also have scored five power-play goals in the last two games, as many as they had in the previous eight games combined.
The Big Green's Carli Clemis made three saves against Yale before being pulled for Kate Lane (13 saves). Lane is sixth in the conference in both save percentage (.916) and goals-against average (2.09) but Clemis enters this game on a high after helping Dartmouth to a 3-1 win over Harvard Monday night with 22 stops. Senior forward Danielle Grundy leads the team in points (7-11-18).
Yale is 8-49-1 all-time against Harvard (10-7-2, 7-3-2 ECACHL, 5th), though the teams have split their last four meetings. The Bulldogs have not won in Cambridge since a 4-2 win Feb. 28, 1981 in the Ivy League Championship (23 straight road losses). Yale took the first meeting this season 3-1 behind 46 saves from Sarah Love.
It bears noting that this may be the final meeting between Love and Harvard, the team she has had some of her best performances against. Her 48 saves Nov. 12, 2004 helped the Bulldogs to a 3-2 win in New Haven, their first over the Crimson since 1984. She also made 37 saves in a 2-1 overtime loss last March in the ECACHL semifinals. Bright Hockey Center was the site for another epic battle Mar. 6, 2004, when Love made 45 saves but lost 1-0 on a power-play goal with seven seconds remaining. Overall she is 2-5 against the Crimson with a .915 save percentage.
report by Sam Rubin '95 (firstname.lastname@example.org), Yale Sports Publicity