Bulldogs Resume Conference Play
NEW HAVEN, Conn. – The push for a spot in the ECAC Hockey playoffs resumes this weekend, as the Yale women's ice hockey team hosts a pair of conference games. The Bulldogs have not played an ECAC Hockey game in more than a month, but the games against No. 2 Cornell (Friday, 7 p.m.) and Colgate (Saturday, 4 p.m.) start a stretch of 14 straight conference games to end the regular season.
Yale (4-9-2, 3-4-1 ECAC Hockey) is currently tied for eighth in the conference standings. The top eight teams make the playoffs, with the top four teams hosting best-of-three quarterfinal series the weekend of Feb. 25. Cornell sits atop the league with a perfect 8-0-0 mark in ECAC Hockey games. The Bulldogs are one point ahead of 10th-place Colgate in the standings.
Yale lost to No. 6 BC in a non-conference game this past Monday, falling 3-1 despite a career-high 49 saves from senior goaltender Jackee Snikeris (Downingtown, Pa.). Snikeris is currently sixth in the country in save percentage with a .941 mark. The only Yale goalie to finish a season with a save percentage higher than .935 was June Mendoza '80, who posted a .937 mark (445 saves, 30 goals allowed) in 1978-79. Snikeris had a .934 mark in 2008-09.
The Bulldog offense is led by senior forward Bray Ketchum (Greenwich, Conn.), who has at least one point in seven of Yale's last nine games. Ketchum leads the team in points (5-6-11) and is 12th on Yale's all-time scoring list (39-38-77). She is tied for ninth in career goals.
Freshman forward Jackie Raines (London, Ont.), who scored Yale's lone goal Monday against BC, leads the team in goals with six. Just seven freshmen have led Yale in goals since the 1978-79 season. Raines and her line mate freshman forward Jenna Ciotti (Manotick, Ont.) have incurred only two penalties each this season.
Cornell (13-1-0, 8-0-0 ECAC Hockey) has been dominant this year, with its only loss coming in overtime at No. 4/5 Mercyhurst (4-3). The Big Red brings a nine-game winning streak, the longest unbeaten streak in the country, into Friday's game. During those nine games Cornell has outscored its opponents 36-3.
Cornell leads the country in scoring defense, allowing just 0.86 goals per game -- half a goal better than the next-best team, Holy Cross. Goalie Amanda Mazzotta is second in the country with a .953 save percentage.
The Big Red roster is loaded with players in the pipeline for Canada's National Team, and that will actually play into Yale's favor on this particular weekend. Cornell will be without five of its top players because they are playing for the Canadian Under-22 National Team at the MLP Cup, a six-country tournament Jan. 4-8 in Kreuzlingen, Switzerland. The group includes forward Jessica Campbell, defenseman Laura Fortino, forward Chelsea Karpenko, defenseman Lauriane Rougeau and forward Catherine White. That is four of the team's top six scorers. The five players have combined for 28 of Cornell's 61 goals, and 47 of 108 assists.
Mazzotta was also selected for the U-22 team, but was unable to participate due to injury. Her status for the Big Red this weekend is questionable.
Even without all those players there is still plenty of star power on the Cornell roster, as forwards Brianne Jenner and Rebecca Johnston were given the option of playing for Canada but chose to remain with the Big Red. Jenner, who was one of the last players cut from Canada's Olympic roster last year, and Johnston, who won a gold medal with Canada at the Olympics, are tied for the team lead in scoring with 20 points apiece.
Colgate (6-12-1, 3-5-0 ECAC Hockey) lacks the big names that Cornell has, but the Raiders have presented problems for the Bulldogs in the past. Colgate had won four straight against Yale until last season, when the Bulldogs swept the season series with a 3-0 win in Hamilton and a 3-1 win at Ingalls.
Colgate outshot Yale 43-17 in that first game, but Snikeris stopped all 43 shots and Ketchum provided a pair of goals. Senior captain defenseman Samantha MacLean (Mississauga, Ont.) scored the other Bulldog goal. The Raiders had a 40-26 edge in shots when the two teams met at The Whale last February, but 39 saves from Snikeris and goals by MacLean, junior forward Aleca Hughes (Westwood, Mass.) and Caroline Murphy '10 made Yale a winner.
The Raiders' offense is led by a pair of sophomore forwards, Brittany Phillips (7-13-20) and Jenna Klynstra (9-8-17). Goalie Kimberly Sass has a .904 save percentage and a 2.79 goals-against average.
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Report by Sam Rubin '95 (firstname.lastname@example.org), Yale Sports Publicity