Snikeris Earns Invite to USA Hockey Goaltending Camp

Jackee Snikeris. (photo by Sam Rubin '95, Yale Sports Publicity)

April 7, 2009

NEW HAVEN, Conn. - Yale sophomore goaltender Jackee Snikeris (Downingtown, Pa.) has earned a selection to USA Hockey's Warren Strelow Goaltending Camp, placing her in a group of 12 of the best goalies in the country. Snikeris is coming off one of the best seasons ever for a goaltender at Yale, finishing fourth in the NCAA in save percentage (.934) and eighth in goals-against average (1.67).

This is Snikeris' second selection to the prestigious camp, which debuted last year. The camp takes place in Ann Arbor, Mich., from May 28-31. All goaltenders invited to the Warren Strelow Camp are under consideration to play for USA Hockey at the highest levels of international competition. The camp is for the top female and male goaltenders in the country and features both on-ice and off-ice work with multiple coaches. Joe Exter, the former Merrimack goalie who played professionally in the Pittsburgh Penguins organization, is USA Hockey's National Team Goaltending Coach.

Snikeris, who turned 20 last November, was the youngest of the four goalies invited to USA Hockey's Under-22 camp last summer. A five-time USA Hockey player development camp pick when she played for the Taft School and the Connecticut Polar Bears prior to coming to Yale, Snikeris was honorable mention All-Ivy League and an ECAC Hockey All-Academic selection in 2007-08. This past season she was limited to 15 games by health issues but still posted remarkable numbers. She showed she was at full strength at the end of the year by posting back-to-back-to-back shutouts, going 266:23 without allowing a goal until the streak was snapped in the final period of the final game of the season.

Snikeris' five shutouts for the season tied the Yale single season record. The only player in school history to finish a season with a higher save percentage than Snikeris' .934 was June Mendoza '80, who had a .951 mark in a 13-game season in 1977-78. And no-one in school history has made as many appearances as Snikeris did and finished with a lower goals-against average; Mendoza's 1.98 GAA in a 15-game 1978-79 season was the previous best prior to Snikeris' 1.67 mark this year.

The 12 females selected to the USA Hockey Goaltending Camp include 2006 Olympian Chanda Gunn along with the three goalies on the U.S. National Team roster for the ongoing 2009 IIHF Women's World Championship -- Molly Schaus, Megan Van Beusekom and Jessie Vetter. Snikeris along with BC's Schaus and Kiera Kingston, Wisconsin's Vetter and Minnesota's Alyssa Grogan represent the five current collegians picked for the camp. There are also five high schoolers attending, and there are 24 male goaltenders.

Yale has an extensive history with U.S. women's national teams. Senior defenseman Helen Resor (Greenwich, Conn.) played for the U.S. in the 2006 Olympics and is currently playing in her third IIHF Women's World Championship. Senior forward Crysti Howser (Wilmette, Ill.) played for the U.S. U-22 Team in a three-game series vs. Canada last summer, the second year in a row she was a part of that series.

Several Yale coaches and alums have been involved with USA Hockey as well. Head coach Hilary Witt played on the U.S. National Team in 2000-01 and was an assistant coach with the U.S. team in 2006-07, earning a silver medal at the 2007 IIHF World Championship. Former Yale men's hockey assistant coach Ben Smith was head coach for the U.S. women's team at the Olympics three times, winning a gold medal in 1998, and now serves as a national team advisor. Forward Maria Dennis '88 was on the 1990 U.S. Women's National Team, and goaltender Laurie Belliveau '98 was on the 1999 U.S. Women's National Team.

USA Hockey's Goaltending Camp is named after Warren Strelow, who helped coach the goalies on the gold medal-winning U.S. "Miracle on Ice" team at the 1980 Olympics. Strelow also coached in the NHL, working with stars such as Martin Brodeur. He passed away in 2007.

Halfway through her career, Jackee Snikeris is on pace to break several major Yale goaltending records. Here is a look at how she currently stacks up against the top four Bulldogs in career save percentage, and the NCAA records, in selected categories:

 

Sv. Pct.

GAA

W

Sho

Sv

Notes

NCAA Record

.932

1.09

86

30

3,590

NCAA records start with 2001-02 season

Jackee Snikeris '11

.927

1.93

15

9

750

Sarah Love '06

.915

2.68

40

12

3,088

First Team All-Ivy League, Second Team All-ECAC, Three-time Team MVP

Shivon Zilis '08

.913

2.61

21

7

1,474

Team MVP

Laurie Belliveau '98

.911

4.31

13

6

4,259

All-American, Kazmaier Award Finalist, Three-time First Team All-ECAC, Four-time Team MVP

Maureen Magauran '92

.901

4.94

13

6

2,441

Two-time First Team All-Ivy League , Three-time Team MVP

Note: June Mendoza '80 had a .928 save percentage from 1978 through 1980, but statistics are not available for the 1977-78 season so her career save percentage cannot be determined.

Report by Sam Rubin '95 (sam.rubin@yale.edu), Yale Sports Publicity