Snikeris Makes 28 Saves
HAMDEN, Conn. – On Friday night at Princeton, Yale was 2-for-6 on the power play and 4-for-4 on the penalty kill. The result was a 2-1 Bulldog win. On Saturday afternoon at Quinnipiac, however, the Bobcats turned the tables on the Bulldogs' special teams. QU got a pair of power play goals and killed off all three penalties en route to a 3-1 win.
The tone was set when Quinnipiac scored just 42 seconds into its first power play. Forward Erica Uden Johansson knocked in a rebound at 8:20 to put the Bobcats up 1-0. That was part of a first period in which Yale (4-8-2, 3-4-1 ECAC Hockey) was outshot 14-2.
"We lost every race to every puck," said Yale head coach Joakim Flygh. "Quinnipiac took it to us, and we stood around and watched too much."
The Bulldogs were successful in killing off three more penalties that period, but spending so much time on the penalty kill left them little time to generate offense. It was not until 6:30 remained in the period, with Yale on the power play, that the Bulldogs got a shot on goal. QU goalie Victoria Vigilanti kicked aside an attempt by senior forward Bray Ketchum from the slot.
Yale was hit with a pair of penalties in the final four minutes of the first, but kept the Bobcats from extending their lead. During the first penalty kill an icing call on the Bobcats enabled Yale to get a faceoff in the Quinnipiac zone and set up junior defenseman Heather Grant for a slap shot that Vigilanti sticked aside. Another icing call on the Bobcats later during that same power play enabled freshmen forwards Jenna Ciotti and Jackie Raines to keep the puck deep in Quinnipiac's zone with some tenacious forechecking. The Bulldogs trailed just 1-0 as the period ended despite the lopsided shot advantage for QU.
Senior goalie Jackee Snikeris made one of her best saves of the afternoon by quickly getting into position to deny a slap shot from the right circle by Uden Johansson two minutes into the second period. Vigilanti answered with a nice save on a shot by Ketchum down at the other end, but after the ensuing faceoff the Bulldogs were able to tie the game. Sophomore forward Alyssa Zupon deflected a shot from the point by sophomore defenseman Jamie Gray, and junior forward Aleca Hughes knocked in the rebound to tie the score 1-1 at 2:27.
Quinnipiac's standout freshman Kelly Babstock answered less than two minutes later, deking to get Snikeris out of position and then wristing the puck in as she fell to the ice to make it 2-1 Bobcats at 4:03. That was Babstock's 17th goal of the year.
Midway through the second the Bulldogs got their second power play of the game. A shot by Hughes was blocked after the first faceoff. Senior defenseman Samantha MacLean then sent a slap shot wide, and right after that Gray had one blocked. Ketchum tried a shot from a tough angle as the power play ended, sending it wide from low in the right circle.
Vigilanti made some of her best saves later in the period. She stuffed Lawrence's attempt to jam in a perfect centering pass from Ciotti with seven minutes to play, then denied sophomore forward Danielle Moncion with 2:30 left to keep the QU lead 2-1 heading into the third period. Yale had reversed the shot advantage in the second period, outshooting the Bobcats 15-9 in the second.
Special teams play helped Quinnipiac put the game away midway through the third. Just 20 seconds after a penalty on the Bulldogs, Bobcat defenseman Jordan Elkins rifled a slap shot from the right point past a screened Snikeris to make it 3-1 Quinnipiac with 11:07 left in the game. The Bulldogs pulled their goalie for an extra attacker in the game's final two minutes, but Vigilanti made a nice save on Zupon after MacLean created a turnover in the neutral zone and Yale did not threaten again.
With more than four weeks before their next game, the Bulldogs enter the break with seven points in league games -- tied for eighth, with just eight playoff spots to go around. Flygh has said all along that special teams will be key to Yale's success this season, and the ups and downs of those units this past weekend demonstrate how true that is.
"We have got to get better puck movement," Flygh said. "The success we have had has been because of hard work."
The winter break has been good for the Bulldogs in the past, and they put together a string where they went 6-2-1 shortly after returning last year. This season, they head into the break with the momentum of three wins in their last five games after winning just once in their first nine games.
"About four weeks ago we noticed a big change in practice," Flygh said. "It started with Aleca, Bray and Sam [MacLean] and the enthusiasm they bring. That has carried over, and we have been playing a lot better."
Report by Sam Rubin '95 (firstname.lastname@example.org), Yale Sports Publicity