February 15, 2007

School Wins Record in Reach as Yale Visits No. 6 Harvard, No. 3 Dartmouth

Feb. 15, 2007

NEW HAVEN, Conn. - Yale checked a few items off its to-do list last weekend, clinching an ECAC playoff spot and setting the school record for goals in a season. Now, the Bulldogs set their sights on the school wins record as the regular season ends with a trip to No. 6 Harvard (Fri., 7:00 p.m.) and No. 3 Dartmouth (Sat., 4:00 p.m.).

The games also have ECAC playoff implications. The top eight teams make the playoffs, with the top four teams hosting best-of-three quarterfinal series Feb. 23-25. Yale (15-10-2, 10-8-2 ECAC, 6th) has an outside chance of catching Princeton for the fifth seed -- the Bulldogs would need to win both games and have the Tigers lose at home to Cornell and Colgate. That would leave the teams tied, with Yale holding the tiebreaker edge unless Brown catches RPI for eighth.

The Bulldogs could also slip into a tie for sixth with Clarkson if the Golden Knights win at RPI and Union and Yale loses both games. Since the teams split their season series, the tiebreaker to determine who would be seeded sixth and who would be seeded seventh for the playoffs would come down to the teams' record against the top four teams. Yale would win that comparison if Princeton finishes fourth but lose it if Colgate finishes fourth.

Additionally, the Bulldogs are 14th nationally 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).

Friday night should start clarifying the playoff picture. Harvard (18-6-2, 15-4-1 ECAC, t-2nd) took a 5-1 decision over Yale earlier this year, though it was a 2-1 game for nearly 50 minutes. Yale hurt itself by taking nine penalties, including two in the third period that led to power-play goals for the Crimson. Junior goaltender Shivon Zilis made 32 saves and freshman forward Denise Soesilo accounted for Yale's goal.

Four of the last seven meetings between these teams have been decided by a goal or ended in a tie. The last time Yale visited the Bright Hockey Center (Feb. 3, 2006) the game ended 1-1. Yale's goal came from sophomore defenseman Maggie Westfal.

Dartmouth (21-4-2, 18-1-1 ECAC, 1st) has already wrapped up the ECAC regular season championship, as it holds a six-point lead over Harvard and St. Lawrence. The Big Green edged Yale 4-3 earlier this season at Ingalls Rink, overcoming a 3-2 deficit with two goals in the third period. Dartmouth out shot Yale 31-17 but Zilis made 27 stops, including 12 in each of the last two periods. Westfal, senior forward Sheila Zingler and sophomore defenseman Helen Resor scored for Yale. Four of the last six meetings between these teams have been decided by a goal, with Dartmouth winning three.

Notes:
Sophomore defenseman Helen Resor has been named to Team USA's roster for the 2007 IIHF World Championship Apr. 3-10 in Winnipeg and Selkirk, Man. ... Senior forward Sheila Zingler, a finalist for the NCAA Frozen Four Skills Competition, has career highs in goals (17), assists (17) and points (34) ... Senior forward Jenna Spring has a career-high 16 assists ... Yale has 15 power-play goals in the last 14 games after getting only six in the first 13 games ... Junior goaltender Shivon Zilis has four shutouts, all in the last 13 games, and is one shy of tying the school record in that category. Zilis is on pace for the fourth-best goals-against average (2.65) in Yale history ... Sophomore forward Crysti Howser is tied for fifth on Yale's single-season goals list with 19 ... Yale has outscored its opponents 60-34 (22-8 in the third period) during its 10-3-2 run since winter break ... Hockey Humanitarian Award Finalist Kristin Savard will be honored at the Yale men's hockey game vs. Dartmouth on Sunday, Feb. 18 (4:00 p.m. start). The game will be broadcast on ESPNU, with coverage scheduled to include a brief segment about Savard and her Teaming Up project.

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