Snikeris Makes 26 Saves
PRINCETON, N.J. – Both Yale power play units produced goals and senior goalie Jackee Snikeris made 26 saves as the Bulldogs picked up a 2-1 win at Princeton Friday afternoon. Yale killed off all three Princeton power plays, including one with just 49 seconds to play, to seal the win.
Shots were hard to come by for the Bulldogs, who finished with only eight for the game and had one hit the post nearly four minutes in. They made two early shots count. A high sticking penalty on Princeton at 10:42 led to Yale's first goal 20 seconds later. Senior defenseman Samantha MacLean got the puck to freshman forward Jenna Ciotti low on the right side. Ciotti skated in on net, and the Tiger defense left freshman forward Jackie Raines alone in front. Ciotti threaded a pass through to Raines, who banged it in for her team-leading fifth goal of the season.
The Bulldogs had scored just one power-play goal in 10 chances over the four previous games. This power play tally came with Yale's top unit on the bench and showed the potential for the three freshmen forwards (Ciotti, Raines and Jenn Lawrence) who were out there as part of Yale's second power play unit.
"They have been clicking in practice, so it was nice to see it happen for them in a game," said Yale head coach Joakim Flygh. "That really gave us a lift."
Less than two minutes later the Bulldogs scored on the power play again, this time after a hooking penalty. Junior defenseman Heather Grant and sophomore defenseman Tara Tomimoto got the puck to senior forward Bray Ketchum near the boards on the right side. Ketchum tossed the puck into the high slot area, where it deflected off a Princeton defender for Ketchum's fifth goal of the season.
"We had some nice puck movement, and good things happen when you do that and get pucks to the net," Flygh said.
Snikeris sprawled out to make a save as the Bulldogs were whistled for their first penalty of the game at 13:23 of the first. Sophomore forward Alyssa Zupon blocked a high, hard slap shot right at the start of the penalty kill, and Grant cleared the puck halfway through the PK. Snikeris stopped and covered a shot right after that, and the Tigers' power play was never able to set back up on offense again thanks to clears from Ciotti, Tomimoto and sophomore forward Danielle Moncion.
Grant made a great defensive play right at the start of the second, diving to the ice to smother a pass during a 2-on-1 for the Tigers. But there was nothing anybody could do shortly after that when Princeton forwards Denna Laing and Olivia Mucha worked together to generate the Tigers' first goal. Laing had the puck right in front of Snikeris and passed it to Mucha, who came out from behind the net at the left post and backhanded it in at 1:07.
The Tigers got their first successful penalty kill of the game five minutes into the second, with goalie Rachel Weber stopping a slap shot from the left point by Grant. Princeton killed off another penalty halfway through the period, and the Yale lead remained 2-1 heading into the third.
Yale had another power play a minute into the third, and Raines narrowly missed the chance to deflect in a slap shot by MacLean.
Five minutes into the third the Bulldogs had to kill off another penalty. Zupon backhanded a dangerous rebound all the way out of the zone after a save by Snikeris. Later in the PK Tomimoto kept the Tigers at bay by stealing the puck just inside the Yale blue line and clearing it. Grant finished off the successful kill by firing a clear just past a Tiger skater who had lost her stick in a collision with Ciotti.
Each team had one more power play opportunity come up empty in the third before the game's hectic final minutes. The Tigers pulled Weber for an extra attacker with two minutes to go, and Raines' attempt at a long-distance empty net goal was deflected away. As Snikeris made a save with 49 seconds to play the Bulldogs were called for hooking, giving Princeton two extra skaters. Junior forward Aleca Hughes, MacLean, Tomimoto and Zupon headed out for the kill.
MacLean set the tone for the final minute by deflecting away a Princeton pass right after the face-off in the Yale zone. Hughes then intercepted a pass and sent the puck down to the other end of the ice. When the Tigers set back up in the Yale zone MacLean continued to be a disruptive presence, hitting the ice to smother an attempted pass. Snikeris then covered the puck as it drifted near the net with 16 seconds to play.
With her team down by two skaters, the work that MacLean did with the game on the line typified what has made her so effective as Yale's captain. She found an extra gear after 59 hard-fought minutes of hockey and flung herself all over the ice to help keep the Tigers from tying the game.
"It was impressive to see Samantha MacLean out there sacrificing herself," Flygh said. "I don't know how many shots she wound up blocking in this game. She has been a great leader. She plays with so much heart and passion, and does whatever she has to do for the team."
MacLean blocked another shot after the faceoff. She was unable to get the clear, but as the Tigers tried to jam the puck in from right in front Snikeris covered it with three seconds to play. Zupon won the faceoff and Princeton was unable to get off another shot. The Tigers had outshot Yale 11-0 in the third period but had nothing to show for it.
"Entering the last period I told our kids to be defensive-minded, and they might have taken that almost too much to heart," Flygh said. "But we did have some good looks on the power play. At the end of the game, we didn't give Princeton too many quality chances. We played a very solid defensive game, and at this point of the year it's all about getting points [in the conference standings]."
Yale (4-7-2, 3-3-1 ECAC Hockey) visits Quinnipiac Saturday afternoon. Princeton (3-10-1, 3-6-1 ECAC Hockey) hosts Brown.
Report by Sam Rubin '95 (email@example.com), Yale Sports Publicity