Feb. 16, 2006
NEW HAVEN, Conn. - Yale's school-record seven-game unbeaten streak - the second-longest in the country right now - faces a major challenge this weekend. No. 8 Clarkson and No. 2 St. Lawrence visit Ingalls for the Bulldogs' final regular-season home games. Saturday's game vs. the Saints, Senior Day and Youth Day, will be broadcast as USCHO.com's Game of the Week.
The Bulldogs' first time out against this duo came shortly before the start of the recent hot streak. After falling 4-2 at St. Lawrence and 1-0 at Clarkson four weeks ago, the Bulldogs dropped a 3-1 decision to Brown before reeling off seven straight without a loss.
To keep that streak going Yale will have to figure out how to generate more offense against two of the best defensive teams in the country. After goals by senior forward Deena Caplette (Winnipeg, Man.) and senior forward Lisa Jacque (Markham, Ont.), the Bulldogs were held scoreless over the final 27:54 against the Saints and then blanked by the Golden Knights. The two are ranked first (Clarkson, 1.20) and second (St. Lawrence, 1.21) in the country in fewest goals allowed per game.
Special teams made the difference in the St. Lawrence game, as the Saints went 4-for-9 on the power play (including three goals in the third) while holding Yale 0-for-10. It was a similar story against Clarkson, as a power-play goal by Ashley Shaidle in the second was all the Golden Knights needed for the 1-0 victory.
Both teams defended the Bulldogs well, limiting them to a total of 35 shots over the two games. Yale has made strides in that department recently, outshooting its opponents six times in the last seven games. After a stretch in which she poured 30 shots on goal in four games but got just one goal, freshman forward Crysti Howser (Wilmette, Ill.) appears to have reversed her luck recently. Her 23 shots over the past three games have netted four goals, and she also has eight assists.
Howser's linemates, Caplette and junior forward Jenna Spring (Cranbrook, B.C.), have also been on a roll over the last three games. Spring has four goals in the last three games, including one 16 seconds into the third period against Brown that dramatically reversed the game's momentum (watch the highlights). Caplette has five assists in the same span.
The increased offense has coincided with senior goaltender Sarah Love (Bayfield, Ont.), playing some of her best hockey. Love has stopped 125 of the last 127 shots she has faced and has not allowed an even-strength goal in her last 303:15.
Love will be facing some of the top offensive players in the country Saturday. St. Lawrence forward Sabrina Harbec leads the nation in points (51) and assists (31). Forward Carson Duggan leads the nation in goals with 24, and Annie Guay is third in the nation in points per game amongst defensemen (28 in 27 games).
Love, Caplette and senior forward Lisa Jacque (Markham, Ont.) will be honored at Saturday's game as part of Senior Day. The game marks the final regular-season home game for the trio, who are now the winningest class in school history. Tuesday's win over Brown was the 47th for the Class of 2006, breaking a tie with the Class of 2005. Jacque recently summed up her experience at Yale in a speech at the Women's Hockey 30th Anniversary Banquet.
Saturday is also Youth Day. The first 50 children receive a free t-shirt. Face painting will be available during the game, and there will be a post-game autograph session with the players.
Yale (10-10-5, 7-5-4 ECACHL) enters the weekend in sixth place and has clinched a spot in the ECACHL playoffs. St. Lawrence (24-3-2, 12-2-2 ECACHL) is currently in first, while Clarkson (20-9-1, 11-5-0) is third. Yale is three points behind Brown for the fourth and final home-ice spot.