Feb. 21, 2008
NEW HAVEN, Conn. - The ECAC Hockey schedule maker could not have planned it better. The battle for the final playoff spot will come down to this weekend at Ingalls Rink as Yale hosts Union (Friday, 7:00 p.m., Yale All*Access free video) and RPI (Saturday, 4:00 p.m., Yale All*Access free video and WYBC 1340 AM) in the regular-season finale. The Bulldogs and RPI are currently tied for eighth, so the winner of Saturday's game will make the playoffs and the loser will be eliminated.
The Bulldogs (9-12-6, 6-10-4 ECAC Hockey, t-8th) are still in control of their playoff destiny despite an 0-4-2 mark over the last three weekends. Yale is looking to extend the careers of two seniors, defenseman Ann-Renée Guillemette and goaltender Shivon Zilis, by making its seventh straight playoff appearance. Those two will be honored on Senior Day Saturday (for more on Yale's Class of 2008, click here). Together they have been a part of 51 wins, more than any class in Yale history other than the Class of 2007.
Union (3-25-2, 0-18-2 ECAC Hockey, 12th) is led by goaltender Lundy Day, who made 54 saves the last time these two teams met and nearly denied Yale the victory despite a 57-7 edge in shots. After junior forward Sarah Tittman (Chilton, Wisc.) gave Yale a 1-0 lead, the Dutchwomen tied the game late in the second period. Junior defenseman Helen Resor (Greenwich, Conn.) put Yale back on top early in the third but the Dutchwomen tied it again. Freshman forward Bray Ketchum (Greenwich, Conn.) finally decided the game with her first collegiate goal.
Day has made 1,019 saves this year, 67 more than her closest competitor (Brown's Nicole Stock) in ECAC Hockey. Day has a .901 save percentage and a 4.32 goals-against average.
RPI (13-13-5, 6-10-4 ECAC Hockey, t-8th) had a 1-0 lead on the Bulldogs in the earlier meeting between these two teams until Tittman tied the game at the 9:45 mark of the third period. Zilis made 32 saves in what has turned out to be a crucial performance. Because head-to-head record is the first tiebreaker in the ECAC Hockey standings, the fact that Yale and RPI tied earlier in the year means that whoever wins Saturday's game has control of that first tiebreaker and thus a leg up in the quest for the final playoff spot.
The Engineers are led by forward Whitney Naslund (7-14-21) and defenseman Melanie Guillemette (10-10-20).
Should Yale and RPI tie on Saturday and tie in the standings, a series of other tiebreakers would be employed. Here is the complete list, in order:
For tiebreakers 2 through 6, here is how the two teams compare in games against the top four and top eight teams. Note that Harvard and St. Lawrence will definitely finish in the top four, but four teams (Clarkson, Dartmouth, Princeton and Colgate) could all finish in the other two top-four spots and thus impact the Yale-RPI tiebreaker.
Harvard St. Lawr. Clarkson Dartmouth Princeton Colgate Cornell Yale 0-2-0 (0-6) 0-2-0 (4-8) 0-2-0 (1-11) 0-1-1 (4-7) 1-1-0 (6-5) 0-2-0 (3-7) 2-0-0 (10-2) RPI 0-2-0 (2-10) 0-2-0 (0-6) 0-2-0 (1-5) 0-1-1 (5-7) 0-2-0 (3-7) 1-0-1 (4-3) 0-2-0 (5-7)
report by Sam Rubin '95 (email@example.com), Yale Sports Publicity