January 27, 2010

Home-and-Home with Brown Includes Youth Day at Ingalls Saturday

Bulldogs, Bears Battle in New Haven, then Providence

NEW HAVEN, Conn. - The momentum of a 4-1-1 mark in their last six ECAC Hockey games has carried the Yale women's hockey team into a tie for the eighth and final playoff spot in the conference standings. The Bulldogs are off Friday and will only be able to do some scoreboard watching as the teams immediately in front of and behind them in the standings play conference games. But on Saturday and Sunday Yale has a chance to continue making its move. Yale and Brown meet Saturday at 2 p.m. at Ingalls in a Youth Day game that can be seen live via Yale All-Access on yalebulldogs.com. They meet again Sunday at 2 p.m. at Meehan Auditorium.

Yale (7-11-3, 5-8-1 ECAC Hockey) is coming off an emotional weekend that culminated with a 1-0 win over St. Lawrence, the Bulldogs' first win ever against the Saints (1-35-1). Junior Jackee Snikeris (Downingtown, Pa.) was named ECAC Hockey Goaltender of the Week for her work in that game, as she made 33 saves for the shutout. It was the 12th shutout of her career, tying the Yale record set by Sarah Love '06. Snikeris has played a big role in Yale's recent hot streak; Yale's 4-1-1 mark in the last six conference games comes despite being outshot by their opponent in each of those games.

The win last Saturday moved the Bulldogs into a tie for eighth place with Dartmouth. Both teams have 11 points, one point ahead of 10th-place Colgate and five points behind seventh-place St. Lawrence. But Yale has played one less game than Dartmouth, a difference that will be eliminated this weekend. The Big Green has only one league game coming up, against Harvard Friday at 3:30 p.m., so after that Yale will have two chances to start gaining points on the Big Green. And while St. Lawrence is in seventh in terms of points, sorting the standings by winning percentage puts the Saints in third. Four other teams -- Harvard, Princeton, Quinnipiac and Rensselaer -- are within closer striking distance ahead of Yale by that measure.

The Bulldogs' hot streak coincides with a strong run by Yale's large freshman class (eight players, including seven skaters). The freshmen have at least one point in seven straight games, and had four straight multiple-point games before the streak was snapped against St. Lawrence (when the only goal of the game for either team was an unassisted tally by freshman forward Danielle Moncion (Round Lake Center, Ont.)).

Yale has also made some dramatic improvements on special teams. The Bulldogs have killed off 19 penalties in a row, a span of five games without allowing a power-play goal. They are fourth in ECAC Hockey in penalty-killing in conference games (89.8 percent). Yale must now look to get its power play (10.8 percent) going against a Brown team that is in the bottom 10 nationally on the penalty kill (81.4 percent).

Brown (2-14-4, 0-11-3 ECAC Hockey) features one of the top young goaltenders in the conference in freshman Katie Jamieson, who is sixth in ECAC Hockey in save percentage (.917). She made 44 saves last Friday as the Bears nearly pulled off an upset of St. Lawrence, falling 3-2. Jamieson has not received much offensive support, as Brown is second-to-last in the country in goals per game (1.40) and has been shut out eight times. Forward Sasha Van Muyen leads the team in goals with five, while defenseman Paige Pyett leads in assists with six.

There will be events throughout the game as part of Youth Day on Saturday at Ingalls Rink, including face painting and raffles. After the game the Yale players will sign autographs.

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