October 10, 2006

Bulldogs Seeking Another Breakthrough

Oct. 10, 2006

NEW HAVEN, Conn. - In the Class of 2007's first three seasons, the Yale women's hockey team has won more games (39) than any other three-year stretch in school history. The Bulldogs have set school records for overall wins in a season (16, 2004-05), conference wins in a season (12, 2004-05), goals in conference play (51, 2005-06) and more. Now, entering their final season, Yale's seniors hope to make one last mark on the record book.

Here is a position-by-position look at the Bulldogs for 2006-07:

Forward

Loaded with senior leadership and scoring potential, Yale's forward corps will play a major role in determining how far the Bulldogs go this season. Captain Kristin Savard sets the tone for this group with her gritty play and scoring touch (30 career goals). The only player on the roster with more career goals is classmate Jenna Spring (32).

Those two scorers are complemented nicely by Sheila Zingler, a prototypical power forward at 5'9" who has 21 career tallies to her credit. A model of consistency, Zingler has totaled between 17 and 19 points in each of her first three seasons. Christina Sharun is a tenacious forechecker with a powerful shot and Kelsey Johnson finds ways to contribute by doing all the little things right.

With no junior forwards, the Bulldogs will rely on a talented sophomore class to provide scoring to supplement the seniors. Crysti Howser led the team in goals and points (12-14-26) last season despite missing seven games while helping the women's soccer team to an Ivy League title and two NCAA College Cup wins. Sarah Tittman showed flashes of brilliance as a rare combination of size (5'10") and speed, finishing with five goals and seven assists. Speedy Kristen Stupay saw time at defense last year as an emergency measure, but the Bulldogs hope to keep her up at forward this year. Maggie Westfal, who plays soccer along with Howser, also moved back to the blue line last year but could return to forward this year. At 5'9", Westfal's size is an advantage at either position. Danielle Kozlowski is another player who can help Yale at both ends of the ice.

The freshmen forwards have some impressive credentials, starting with the Olympic experience that Denise Soesilo (Hamburg, Germany) brings. She had a key assist while helping Germany to its best Olympic finish ever (fifth place). Mandi Schwartz (Wilcox, Sask.) participated in Team Canada's U-22 camp this past summer and is a potential playmaker with a knack for the net. Hard-working Caroline Murphy (Pomfret, Conn.) will also make her presence felt.

Defense

Yale's defense has a rare amount of experience for a group that is also relatively young (only three upperclassmen). Every blue liner from last season is back, and so is an Olympian.

Regan Gilbride and Nina Resor are the only seniors in the group. Gilbride is a versatile player who has also seen time at forward. Resor, a technically sound defender, had more goals, assists and points last season (2-9-11) than in her first two years combined.

The lone junior blue liner is Ann-Renee Guillemette, who has appeared in 61 games over her first two seasons.

The sophomore class now includes Helen Resor, who had seven goals and 11 assists as a freshman in 2004-05 before spending last season with Team USA. Resor was the first Olympian in Yale women's hockey history, earning a bronze medal this past February in Torino.

Helen's cousin Carry Resor (Nina's sister) gives the Bulldogs three Resors likely to see extensive time on the blue line. Just like her sisters, Carry has extensive hockey sense learned by playing for her father, Tom, who coaches Noble & Greenough and Assabet Valley. Carlee Ness, who brings size and strength, completes the impressive trio of second-year defenders.

The Bulldogs are excited about their freshmen defensemen as well. Alyssa Clarke (Donkin, N.S.) played for Team Nova Scotia at Nationals and also took part in the 2006 ESSO Senior National Championships. Berit Johnson (Wayzata, Minn.) joins her sister, Kelsey, on the Yale roster and adds an element of quickness to the defense.

Goaltender

Shivon Zilis takes over for record-setting goaltender Sarah Love '06 this year. While Zilis has a long way to go to match Love's accomplishments, she is certainly off to a good start. Here is how her stats compare to Love's through the first 14 games of each player's collegiate career:
  Sv % GAA Min. Sv GA
S. Love .907 3.35 769:39 417 43
S. Zilis .906 2.42 571:02 231 23
Junior Shivon Zilis spent the past two years learning behind record-setting goaltender Sarah Love. Now that Love has graduated, Zilis will take over as the starter in net. Even with Love around, the Bulldogs never hesitated to put Zilis in for some tough games, including facing Dartmouth, New Hampshire and St. Lawrence. She has posted a .906 save percentage and 2.42 goals-against average in 14 games.

The Bulldogs also see potential in 5'11" freshman Ansley LaHue (Kennesaw, Ga.) and can count on help from senior Carrie Horbatuk when needed.

Yale scrimmages Princeton Saturday at 2:00 at Ingalls Rink, then opens the 2006-07 season at Boston College on Oct. 21 at 2:00.

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