Nov. 29, 2007
NEW HAVEN, Conn. - To come away with two wins this weekend, the Yale Bulldogs will need to solve the No. 4 defense in the country and then contain the No. 1 offense in the country. Clarkson (Friday, 7:00 p.m.) and No. 5 St. Lawrence (Saturday, 4:00 p.m.) bring a combined record of 19-7-2 to the Whale. Both games will be available on Yale All*Access (free video) and WYBC 1340 AM (free audio).
Yale (3-3-2, 3-3-1 ECAC) is coming off a hard-fought 2-2 tie with Boston College that showcased some of the strengths that should come in handy this weekend. Senior goaltender Shivon Zilis (Markham, Ont.) earned ECAC Goalie of the Week honors for her 43-save effort against the Eagles. Whether she or freshman Jackee Snikeris (Downingtown, Pa.) starts in net, odds are there will be plenty of saves to be made. Clarkson outshoots its opponents 30-19 on average, and St. Lawrence is at 28-22.
Offensively the Bulldogs continue to be driven by their top line. Junior Crysti Howser (Wilmette, Ill.) has eight points in the last six games, and junior Sarah Tittman (Chilton, Wisc.) leads the team in goals with four -- just one goal away from equaling her career high. The third member of that line, junior Maggie Westfal (New Canaan, Conn.), has been back for three games after finishing off soccer season. A unanimous first team All-Ivy pick and second team ESPN The Magazine Academic All-District in soccer, Westfal got her first point for the hockey team with an assist Saturday.
If Yale is looking for one of the little things that could influence both games this weekend, it might be the circle. With Howser winning an impressive 64 percent of her face-offs and sophomore forward Mandi Schwartz (Wilcox, Sask.) winning 55 percent of hers, the Bulldogs have been able to control the puck in several key situations. Those two combined to win three draws at Yale's end of the ice late in the game against BC.
Clarkson (10-4-2, 3-3-0 ECAC) is among the teams "also receiving votes" in the national polls. The Golden Knights lead the country in scoring defense, allowing only 1.44 goals per game. Even shots are hard to come by against Rick Seeley's squad -- they allow only 19 of those per game on average. Yale did manage 33 shots the last time these two teams met, and that resulted in a 5-1 Bulldog win highlighted by a hat trick from forward Sheila Zingler '07.
The Knights are fourth in the country in penalty killing (47 for 52, .904) and have averaged only 6.6 penalty minutes per game, the lowest average in the country. Two of the Knights' goaltenders, both freshmen, are in the top eight nationally in goals-against average. Lauren Dahm (0.92) is second and Eve Grandmont-Berube (1.77) is eighth. Forward Britney Selina leads the team in scoring (8-11-19).
St. Lawrence (9-3-0, 5-1-0 ECAC) leads the country in scoring offense (4.08 goals per game) and is eighth in scoring defense (1.83 goals per game). The Saints are also fourth in power play scoring (.242) and fifth in penalty killing (.901).
Forward Chelsea Grills, a former Team Canada U-22 player, is ninth in the country in scoring (5-15-20) and brings a 10-game scoring streak into the weekend. Forward Sabrina Harbec, a finalist for the Kazmaier Award last season, is 10th (7-12-19). Goaltender Meaghan Guckian has a .908 save percentage.