Seniors Honored at Annual Banquet

April 14, 2009

NEW HAVEN, Conn. - Yale held its annual women's hockey team banquet Tuesday night at The Course at Yale, saluting the senior class and presenting the annual team awards. Three players, including two seniors, shared the most valuable player award.

The MVP award, as selected by a team vote, went to senior forward Crysti Howser (Wilmette, Ill.), senior defenseman Helen Resor (Greenwich, Conn.) and sophomore goaltender Jackee Snikeris (Downingtown, Pa.).

Howser is just the third player in Yale history to lead the team in scoring for four straight seasons. Her 24 points this past season (13-11-24) gave her 116 for her career, placing her second on Yale's career points list behind Maria Dennis '88 (164). She is third on Yale's career goals list (57) and third on Yale's career assists list (59). She participated in the NCAA Frozen Four Skills Challenge last weekend.

Howser has also been a part of the USA Hockey program. She was a member of USA Hockey's Under-22 Select team each of the past two summers, playing in the annual three-game series against Team Canada. She scored a goal for the U.S. last summer.

In addition to her work on the ice Howser has also been active in the community. She was a finalist for the Hockey Humanitarian Award, the fourth Bulldog to earn that status. Howser is extensively involved in the American Cancer Society Relay for Life, AIDS Walk New Haven, holiday gift giving initiatives, and local homeless shelters and soup kitchens. Prior to Yale she attended New Trier and played for Assabet Valley.

Resor, who was the first Yale women's ice hockey player to make the Olympics when she played for Team USA and earned a bronze medal in Torino in 2006, just earned a gold medal with Team USA at the 2009 IIHF Women's World Championship -- the third time she has earned a medal (two gold, one silver) with the U.S. at that event. She was among the nominees for the Kazmaier Award as the top women's college hockey player in the country this past season, and earned third team All-ECAC Hockey and second team All-Ivy League honors. She was also selected to participate in the NCAA Frozen Four Skills Challenge but missed that event to participate in the World Championship. Overall this season, Resor led Yale in assists with 14 and was third in points with 21. She was eighth nationally in scoring by a defenseman (7-14-21 in 28 games).

Resor's 48 career assists place her tied for ninth on Yale's all-time list in that category, and she is also tied for 12th in career points (75) and tied for 20th in career goals (27). In addition to her Olympic and World Championship medals, she also won silver medals at the Four Nations Cup three times. Prior to Yale, she played for Noble and Greenough and Assabet Valley. Her sister, Jane '01, played for Yale, as did her cousins -- senior forward/defenseman Carry Resor (Westwood, Mass.) and Nina Resor '07.

Snikeris 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. Her five shutouts 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.

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, she has been selected for USA Hockey's Warren Strelow Goaltending Camp twice.

Past recipients of the MVP award, which has been awarded since 1977-78, include some of the most decorated players in Yale women's ice hockey history. Kazmaier Award finalist and All-American goalie Laurie Belliveau '98 won it four times and all-time leading scorer Maria Dennis '88 won it twice. The list of former recipients also includes Helen Resor's sister, Jane Resor '01, who shared the award with Deanna McDevitt '01 in 2000-01.

Several other individual awards were handed out. In a new twist this year, players presented each other with the awards, opening an envelope to reveal the winner instead of having the coach read the winners off. Sophomore forward Lili Rudis (Chicago, Ill.) presented the MVP Award.

Senior forward Sarah Tittman (Chilton, Wisc.) won the Bingham Award for leadership, which was presented by junior forward Berit Johnson (Wayzata, Minn.). Tittman, the Yale captain, suffered a torn ACL midway through the season but opted to postpone surgery and play without the ligament, returning for the last 10 games and assisting on the final goal of the year, scored by Resor.

The list of past recipients of the Bingham Award, which dates back to the 1990-91 season, includes 17 captains.

Carry Resor won the Wendy Blanning Award as the team's most improved player, which was presented by Tittman. Resor, who has played both defense and forward throughout her career, settled in as one of the team's top forwards this season. She appeared in 107 games for her career, totaling two goals and eight assists.

The Blanning Award is named in honor of Wendy Blanning '78, who died as she was about to enter her junior year. It was established by her teammates and first awarded in 1977-78 to Alice Warner '81. Past recipients of the Blanning Award include two other current seniors -- Tittman, who won it in 2006-07, and forward Kristen Stupay (Ashburn, Va.), who won it in 2005-06.

Freshman forward Lauren Davis (Morrison, Colo.) won the Bulldog Award for team spirit, which was presented by junior defenseman Alyssa Clarke (Donkin, N.S.). Davis appeared in 28 games this past season, including all 22 ECAC Hockey games. The Bulldog Award dates back to 1996-97, when Amanda Adams '97 earned it. Adams had been diagnosed with Hodgkins' disease, a form of cancer, as a freshman but recovered and completed the rest of her Yale career after receiving chemotherapy. Among the other past recipients of the Bulldog Award was senior forward Danielle Kozlowski (Melrose, Mass.), who won it last season.

Sophomore defenseman Samantha MacLean (Mississauga, Ont.) received the Coaches' Award for an exemplary work ethic, attitude and commitment to the core values of the Yale Women's Ice Hockey program, which was presented by 2008 Coaches' Award recipient Stupay. MacLean has been one of Yale's most reliable defenders for two seasons now, appearing in all 60 games and tallying two goals along with nine assists.

The Coaches' Award was established in 2003-04, and the first recipient was Nina Resor '07 -- sister of Carry Resor and cousin of Helen Resor.

In addition to the award winners, junior forward Caroline Murphy (Woodstock, Conn.) was introduced as the 2009-10 team captain. Murphy, a former Blanning Award winner, was selected by a team vote last month.

Tittman, now the former captain, began the introduction by reflecting on her time at Yale.

"The opportunity to be a part of the Yale Hockey tradition really has been a tremendous honor," Tittman said. "[The seniors] are sad to say goodbye, though we'll have a different role in the program now [as alumnae]."

Tittman then introduced Murphy.

"She is someone who I truly think has a work ethic that is second to none," Tittman said. "The team will be in great hands."

Murphy talked about the impact the program has had on her, and thanked the eight seniors.

"I have admired each and every one of you for the various strengths you bring to the team," Murphy said. "Collectively, you are an amazing class."

Murphy also turned towards the future, when Yale will be playing in a renovated Ingalls Rink. She noted that the players who return next season are currently in the midst of an intense month-long period of early-morning workout sessions designed to test each player's limits.

"I have seen another side to this team," Murphy said. "We have been pushed, we have been tested and we have persevered."

Yale also recognized its school-record and league-high 21 ECAC Hockey All-Academic team selections, including all eight seniors: Howser, Kozlowski, Carry Resor, Helen Resor, Stupay, Tittman, defenseman Carlee Ness (Red Deer, Alta.) and forward Maggie Westfal (New Canaan, Conn.). Kozlowski was also named Academic All-Ivy League and was a finalist for the ECAC Hockey Student-Athlete of the Year Award, the second time she has been selected for both of those honors.

Head coach Hilary Witt made the closing remarks, recalling various moments from the past four years that the seniors have been a part of the program -- or in Helen Resor's case, five years, since she played the 2004-05 season prior to spending a year with the U.S. Olympic team. That season she scored the game-tying goal on a penalty shot late in Yale's ECAC Hockey playoff game against Princeton at Ingalls Rink -- a game the Bulldogs would eventually win in overtime for their first postseason victory.

"Helen said `Coach, I will score,' and she did," Witt said. Witt also recalled Kozlowski's game-winner that ended a 41-game losing streak against Dartmouth in 2006, and ending a similarly long losing streak against Brown with a 3-1 win.

In addition to those memorable accomplishments, and highlights from this past season such as a win over then-No. 4 BU, Witt also recounted some of the trying times as the team was beset with injuries and illness.

"Through it all, this team kept plugging away," she said.

On everyone's mind was junior forward Mandi Schwartz (Wilcox, Sask.), who was diagnosed with leukemia in December. Schwartz is currently back home receiving treatment, and on Apr. 23 her teammates will join with the Yale football team to hold a marrow donor testing drive at Commons.

The ceremonies concluded with the players giving gifts to their coaches, and then viewing the 2008-09 season highlight video.

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

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