Nov. 30, 2006
NEW HAVEN, Conn. - The Yale women's hockey team takes a break for final exams following Saturday's game. The last two games before that break -- at Clarkson (Friday, 7:00 p.m.) and at No. 7 St. Lawrence (Saturday, 4:00 p.m.) -- will test the Bulldogs on the ice.
Those two teams were a combined 6-0 against Yale last year. Clarkson shut out the Bulldogs twice, 1-0 and 2-0.
Scoring early could be key this weekend, as the first two periods have been telling for Yale all season long. After Saturday's 3-1 win over Northeastern the Bulldogs are 5-1 when leading after two periods and 0-4 when trailing after two periods. That difference could be particularly important against Clarkson, a team that has outscored its opponents 32-21 over the first two periods but has been outscored 12-11 in the third.
Yale's scoring has mainly come from the Class of 2007. The senior class has accounted for 11 of the Bulldogs' 24 goals on the season, led by four from Zingler. The sophomore class has chipped in eight, led by three from forward Crysti Howser (Wilmette, Ill.).
The Golden Knights (8-6-2, 3-4-1 ECAC) have bounced back nicely after a slow start this year, winning five of their last six (and the lone loss was by one goal). Five of Clarkson's six losses have come to teams in the top 10.
Scoring will be at a premium at Cheel Arena Friday night. Clarkson has allowed only 13 goals in its last nine games and has the third-best scoring defense in the ECAC (2.06 goals per game). Goaltender Stephanie Hansen has started the last six games since taking over for an injured Kira Hurley in the third period of a 2-0 loss vs. Dartmouth Nov. 4. Hansen has a .909 save percentage and 1.44 goals-against average.
St. Lawrence (10-5-1, 5-3-0 ECAC) beat Yale twice in the regular season and twice in the playoffs last year to extend its unbeaten streak in the series vs. the Bulldogs to 27 games (26 wins and one tie). Yale did score five goals in the two playoff games; only two other teams (Harvard and St. Cloud State) had more than one multiple-goal game vs. the Saints last year. Senior forward Sheila Zingler (Wausau, Wisc.) had two of Yale's eight goals on the year vs. St. Lawrence. Junior goaltender Shivon Zilis (Markham, Ont.) stopped 40 of 44 shots (.909) in two relief appearances against the Saints.
The Saints thrive on special teams, where they have the third-best power play (26/107, 24.3 percent) and third-best penalty kill (95/107, 88.8 percent) in the league. Forward Alison Domenico leads the team with five power-play goals. Forward Sabrina Harbec is the overall scoring leader (9-12-21).
Yale (5-5-0, 3-4-0 ECAC) sits one point behind sixth-place Clarkson and four points behind fourth-place St. Lawrence in the ECAC standings, so a good weekend could put the Bulldogs in position for home ice in the playoff quarterfinals. After Saturday's game Yale does not take the ice again until Dec. 29 (vs. UConn at Ingalls Rink in the Nutmeg Classic). The Bulldogs do not play a conference game again until Jan. 6 at Union.