Feb. 8, 2007
NEW HAVEN, Conn. - With four regular-season games left, Yale could finish as high as fourth or as low as ninth in the ECAC standings. That makes the Bulldogs the only team that could get a home ice spot in the best case and miss the playoffs in the worst case. They'll start sorting it all out Friday night at Ingalls Rink against the team that is one point behind them in the standings, RPI (7:00 p.m., TEAMLINE.cc). On Saturday vs. Union (4:00 p.m., WYBC 1340 AM) Yale will pay tribute to the senior class in the regular season home finale.
The Bulldogs enter the weekend 13th in the USCHO.com Pairwise Rankings and could make a run at an NCAA tournament bid with a strong finish (the tournament includes eight teams). The school wins record (16) is within reach as well, adding to the importance of each remaining game. Two more wins would assure Yale of a winning record for the season, which would mark just the second time since 1985-86 the Bulldogs have achieved that.
Yale (13-10-2, 8-8-2 ECAC, 6th) defeated RPI (12-16-1, 8-9-1 ECAC, 7th) 2-0 in Troy Jan. 7, part of a 6-1-1 stretch that jump-started the Bulldogs' second half. Junior goaltender Shivon Zilis made 23 saves while senior forward Jenna Spring and sophomore defenseman Helen Resor delivered goals. The Engineers are in their first season in the ECAC, so the series history between these teams is brief. Prior to this year they met last in 2002, a 6-0 Yale win. The Bulldogs also won 8-0 in 2001.
Yale beat the Dutchwomen (4-22-0, 0-18-0 ECAC, 12th) 5-0 in Schenectady Jan. 6, highlighted by a three-point day for senior forward Kelsey Johnson. Johnson had two goals, including one assisted by her sister, freshman defenseman Berit Johnson. Spring, freshman forward Denise Soesilo and sophomore forward Kristen Stupay also scored for Yale. Zilis made 20 saves for the shutout as Yale improved to 9-0 all-time against Union.
The top eight teams make the ECAC playoffs, with the top four teams hosting best-of-three quarterfinal series Feb. 23-25. Each team has four regular-season games remaining. The Bulldogs trail fifth-place Princeton by five points, with the Tigers visiting Clarkson and St. Lawrence this weekend.