Nov. 8, 2007
NEW HAVEN, Conn. - It's early, but the Yale women's hockey team has done what it has needed to do to stake out first place in ECAC Hockey. The Bulldogs are undefeated (2-0-1) through their first three games, a mark that will be on the line this weekend in New York with games at Cornell (Friday, 7:00 p.m., live stats and pay-per-view video on Cornell's website) and Colgate (Saturday, 4:00 p.m., live stats on Colgate's website).
Yale is finishing off a string of five straight games on the road to open the season, a stretch that began in New York State two weeks ago with a tie at RPI and a win over Union. After last Saturday's 3-0 win at Brown, the Bulldogs are the lone team in ECAC Hockey with five points.
Different contributors have emerged with each game for the Bulldogs, as five different players have scored goals and eight different players have at least one point. Junior forward Sarah Tittman (Chilton, Wisc.) and sophomore forward Denise Soesilo (Hamburg, Germany) lead the way with a pair of goals each. They have also been a key part of Yale's special teams units -- Soesilo had a pair of power-play goals Saturday and Tittman is one of the team's top penalty killers. The Bulldogs are currently ranked third in the country in special teams (59.4 percent combined penalty kill/power play).
Goaltending has also been a key part of Yale's hot start, as the duo of senior Shivon Zilis (Markham, Ont.) and freshman Jackee Snikeris (Downingtown, Pa.) has combined for a .958 save percentage. Yale is tied for the national lead in scoring defense (1.00 goals per game).
Yale will be without junior defenseman Helen Resor (Greenwich, Conn.), who is with Team USA at the Four Nations Cup in Leksand, Switzerland. After beating Switzerland 4-0 in the opening game, the U.S. lost to Canada 6-3 in the second game Thursday and will face Finland Saturday. The bronze medal and goal medal games take place Sunday.
The Bulldogs have made it to the top despite some tough luck for the team's leading returning scorer, junior forward Crysti Howser (Wilmette, Ill.), who has yet to find the back of the net this year despite putting 22 shots on goal. Howser's track record -- 34 goals in 51 games entering this season -- indicates that it's just a matter of time before she breaks out.
Cornell's 3-3 record is deceiving; two of those losses came by one goal in overtime. Freshman forward Rebecca Johnston (6-4-10) is away at the Four Nations Cup, so watch for freshman forward Karlee Overguard (3-6-9) and senior forward Caeleigh Beerworth (2-6-8) to provide a good chunk of the offense. Sophomore Jenny Niesluchowski has a .921 save percentage and a 2.73 goals-against average.
Colgate, which hosts Brown Friday, is 0-5-1 entering the weekend but all five of those losses came to teams currently in the top 10. Freshman forward Hannah Milan and junior forward Sam Hunt are tied for the team lead with three points. Freshman goalkeeper Lisa Plenderleith has an .886 save percentage and a 3.16 goals-against average.
report by Sam Rubin '95 (firstname.lastname@example.org), Yale Sports Publicity