Senior Forward Notches One Goal, Two Assists
NEW HAVEN, Conn. – The Yale Bulldogs were looking for a spark Saturday afternoon at Ingalls Rink as they tried to snap a three-game losing streak. When Colgate scored just two minutes into the game, that only added to the challenge of trying to bounce back from a 5-0 defeat to No. 2 Cornell the night before. But less than 30 seconds after the Colgate goal, one of Yale's new line combinations produced the game-tying goal -- from junior forward Aleca Hughes. Goals by senior forward Bray Ketchum and freshman forward Jenna Ciotti extended the lead in the second period, and the Bulldogs went on to finish off a 3-1 victory.
Following the loss to Cornell, the Bulldogs' fifth straight game with two goals or fewer, head coach Joakim Flygh shuffled Yale's lines. The result was Yale's best offensive output since a 5-2 win over UConn Nov. 26.
"After yesterday's game, we needed to change something," Flygh said. "It's been an emotional week, and we were looking for some energy."
As Flygh said, the Bulldogs have also been dealing with news of their teammate Mandi Schwartz' ongoing battle with cancer, including her most recent relapse. Schwartz' No. 17 jersey hung behind the Yale bench both Friday and Saturday.
"As a team, we've really got to lean on each other while showing our love and support for Mandi and her family," Flygh said. "We know the Yale community is behind us."
It did not take long for the Bulldogs' new lines to pay dividends. On Friday night, Yale was unable to respond to any Cornell goal during a 5-0 Big Red run over the final two periods. On Saturday, the Bulldogs answered Colgate's goal immediately. Twenty-nine seconds after a Bulldog turnover in the slot enabled Raider forward Rachel Walsh to slip a shot past senior goaltender Jackee Snikeris, Hughes tied the game.
With the puck deep in the Colgate zone, a Raider player tried to send the puck up the boards by the right circle. But freshman forward Jackie Raines got a piece of the puck. That slowed it up enough for Ketchum to come in behind her, grab it and send a shot on net. Raider goalie Kimberly Sass was able to make the save but the rebound went right to Hughes, who was wide open at the back door. She backhanded it in to tie the score at the 2:37 mark.
"It was great to see that goal," Flygh said. "Early on, we were flat. We didn't know which way the game was going to go. That helped jump-start us, and we kept improving after that. We played our best hockey in the third period."
It had been 10 games since Hughes, Ketchum and Raines had skated on a line together, but their chemistry continued to produce results in the second period as the Bulldogs took the lead with a goal at the 9:37 mark. Ketchum created a turnover along the boards in the Colgate zone, and Raines sent the puck into the corner. Ketchum grabbed it, spun off a defender to free herself low in the left circle, and backhanded the puck in.
That goal moved Ketchum into a tie for the team lead in goals with six, a figure matched by her new line mate Raines.
Ketchum was also in the middle of Yale's third goal, two and a half minutes later. Junior defenseman Heather Grant sent the puck into the zone and Ketchum got in the way of the Raiders' attempt to send it back out. That gave Grant the chance to grab the loose puck at the blue line and send a shot on net that got deflected high in the air. Sass tried to catch it but was only able to get a piece of it, knocking the rebound right to Ciotti. Ciotti backhanded it in for her second goal of the season.
Ketchum then hit the post during a power play at the start of the third period, just missing a chance for a four-point game.
"We need Bray to lead us the way she did today," Flygh said. "That second goal in particular was a really nice goal. When she does things like that, it puts us in a great place as a team. She really stepped up."
A pair of close call kept Yale's lead intact with nine minutes left in the game. First, a shot by Walsh hit the post. The Raiders kept the puck in the Yale zone, though, and 10 seconds later forward Brittany Phillips blasted one on net from the left circle. Snikeris got a piece of it, but the puck trickled behind her. With no player from either team able to get to it, it slid precariously just inches from the goal line before finally winding up off to the side of the net, where Raines was able to track it down and end the scoring threat.
Colgate (6-13-2, 3-6-1 ECAC Hockey) pulled Sass with just over a minute to play but was not able to generate any Grade-A chances, with Snikeris denying one last shot by defenseman Amanda Kirwan in the final seconds to finish with 33 saves. Sass had 19 stops.
Yale (5-10-2, 4-5-1 ECAC Hockey) moves up to seventh place in the ECAC Hockey standings with the win. The Bulldogs host Brown on Wednesday.
Report by Sam Rubin '95 (email@example.com), Yale Sports Publicity