Yale Advances to Nutmeg Classic Title Game with 10-1 Win Over SHU

Yale celebrates Becky Mantell's first goal. (photo by Sam Rubin '95, Yale Sports Publicity)

Five Different Players Score Two Goals Each

NEW HAVEN, Conn. - For the fifth time in the six-year history of the Nutmeg Classic, Yale will play for the tournament championship. The Bulldogs got two goals each from five different players Friday afternoon at Ingalls Rink to beat Sacred Heart 10-1. Yale will play UConn Saturday at 7 p.m., as the Huskies advanced to the title game with a 1-0 win over Quinnipiac Friday night. The championship game will be video streamed on Yale All-Access. Audio will be available through wybc.com and live stats will be available on yalebulldogs.com.

Yale (2-7-1, 1-7-0 ECAC Hockey) got a much-needed offensive outburst Friday thanks to a 56-14 shot advantage over Sacred Heart. Three different players got their first goals of the season, including the first career goal for sophomore forward Becky Mantell. A pair of freshmen forwards -- Natalie Wedell and Alyssa Zupon -- got their first career points with assists. All told, 12 different players had points and Yale scored more goals in this one game than it had in the nine prior games this season (eight).

Junior forward Bray Ketchum got the scoring started at 12:14 of the first. The play began with senior defenseman Alyssa Clarke feeding sophomore forward Aleca Hughes along the boards in the left circle. Hughes skated in for a wrist shot that Pioneer goalie Emily Siira made a kick save on, but Ketchum skated in to the slot and buried the rebound in the upper right corner of the net.

Yale was whistled for a penalty right after that, the lone infraction of the first period, but the Bulldogs successfully killed off the penalty and Ketchum just missed a short-handed goal. With the teams back at full strength, Clarke and senior forward Caroline Murphy worked to get the puck off the boards to Mantell in the neutral zone. She skated in on the right side, maneuvered past one defender and backhanded her first career goal past Siira at 15:12.

The Bulldogs put the game away with a dominant second period, outshooting the Pioneers 23-3 and getting a pair of short-handed goals. The first was an unassisted goal by Murphy at 1:34 in which she took the puck away from a Sacred Heart player in the Yale zone, skated down the right side, crossed in front of the goal with a Pioneer defender as a screen and slid the puck past Siira's right leg.

Four minutes later the Bulldogs struck again. Junior defenseman Samantha MacLean started the play with a lead pass to senior forward Berit Johnson in the neutral zone. Johnson skated in with MacLean behind her and dropped a pass back to her. That pass was knocked away momentarily, but MacLean stayed with the play and was able to poke the puck back to Johnson. Johnson grabbed it and skated into the right circle before wristing one past Siira to make it 4-0.

Just over a minute later Mantell struck again. Clarke backhanded the puck along the boards down low to freshman forward Danielle Moncion, who kept it moving to Mantell. Mantell then skated in from the boards through the right circle, warding off a defender by keeping the puck on her backhand, and knocked one in at 6:59.

Mantell now has four points in the last four games, the first four points of her Yale career.

"It's nice to see Becky get rewarded," said Yale head coach Hilary Witt. "She's been one of our best players the last couple weeks. This is well-deserved."

The Pioneers called timeout, but just over two minutes later the Bulldogs were back on the scoreboard with another short-handed goal. Johnson's forechecking yielded a Sacred Heart turnover to Siira's right. Murphy scooped up the puck, circled around behind the net, then fed Johnson in front for a shot high into the left corner for a 6-0 lead.

Yale finished off the period with a goal from Ketchum with 17.5 seconds left. Freshman defenseman Tara Tomimoto got the puck to Zupon along the left boards, and she skated into the left circle and fed Ketchum for a redirection past Siira.

The third period saw the varsity debut of freshman goalie Erin Callahan, who came on in relief of junior Jackee Snikeris. Callahan was tested immediately. A Bulldog turnover at the Sacred Heart blue line gave Pioneer forward Lauren Fontaine a breakaway down the left side, but Callahan came out of the net and forced Fontaine to shoot it wide.

Tomimoto started Yale's next goal-scoring sequence with a pass from the Yale zone that junior forward Lili Rudis quickly played ahead to Moncion in the neutral zone. Moncion carried the puck into the Sacred Heart zone and gave it up for Rudis along the left boards. Rudis circled around behind the goal, then came across and slid in a backhander at 5:19.

Two minutes later Murphy scored from long distance, taking a pass from MacLean in the left circle in Yale's zone and sending a pass towards center ice. The puck missed its intended target and wound up sliding all the way down to Siira. She stopped it but could not control it, and it trickled past her to make the score 9-0.

Murphy, Yale's captain, now has a career-high five goals and has already surpassed her point total from a year ago (eight this year, seven last year). Her line -- with Mantell and Moncion -- has combined for 16 points in the five games since it was formed.

"That whole line has been phenomenal," Witt said. "They're working well together and putting pucks to the net. They're fun to watch right now."

The assist by MacLean also meant that the Bulldogs wound up with seven points, all on assists, from their defensemen.

"The defensemen got a little excited with their chance to get in the offensive zone," Witt said. "It's nice to see Sam, Clarkie and Tara getting involved in the offense. We need them."

In her first game back from an injury suffered late last season, Rudis wound up scoring twice as many goals as she had in her career to that point. She capped Yale's scoring by burying a pass from Wedell, who picked up the rebound of a shot by Zupon in front at 8:23.

That ended the night for Siira, who was replaced by Raelene Sydor. Following that goal the Bulldogs spent most of the rest of the third period playing puck control, attempting very few shots on net.

"I'm proud of our kids for the sportsmanship they showed in the third period," said Witt.

Sara Reddington broke up Yale's shutout bid by scoring with just 50 seconds left in the game. Callahan finished with four saves, while Snikeris had nine.

This is the third straight season Yale and UConn have met in the Nutmeg Classic title game. The Huskies have won the last two, each by scores of 3-2. Yale's last win over UConn in this tournament came in 2006 at Ingalls Rink, when the Bulldogs beat the Huskies 3-0 in the first game and then beat Quinnipiac 7-3 for the tournament title. UConn has won three Nutmeg Classic titles overall, while Quinnipiac and Yale have one each.

Quinnipiac plays Sacred Heart at 4 p.m. at Ingalls in the consolation game.

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

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