Bulldogs Seek First Win
NEW HAVEN, Conn. – The Yale women's ice hockey team demonstrated many signs of improvement last season, the Bulldogs' first under head coach Joakim Flygh. Chief among them was a 17 percent increase in scoring in ECAC Hockey games, fueled by the Bulldogs' current captain, senior forward Aleca Hughes (Westwood, Mass.), who scored all 10 of her goals for the year in conference games. But the Bulldogs ultimately fell short of their goal of making the ECAC Hockey playoffs by the slimmest of margins, losing on the final day of the season to come up one point short in the standings. This weekend, they start their quest for a playoff spot all over again with a pair of ECAC Hockey games in New York state, at No. 3 Cornell Friday and at Colgate Saturday.
Yale (0-2-0, 0-0-0 ECAC Hockey) dropped a pair of non-conference games to Niagara and No. 8 Northeastern to open the season at Ingalls Rink last weekend. Sophomore forward Jackie Raines (London, Ont.) scored the Bulldogs' only goal, assisted by junior forward Alyssa Zupon (Basking Ridge, N.J.) and freshman forward Stephanie Mock (Cape Coral, Fla.). Senior goalie Genny Ladiges (Almonte, Ont.) and freshman goalie Jaimie Leonoff (Montreal, Que.) split time in goal, making 32 and 35 saves respectively.
Cornell, which opens its season Tuesday night at Colgate, is coming off a memorable season. The Big Red went 31-3-1, winning both the ECAC Hockey regular season championship and the ECAC Hockey tournament championship. Cornell advanced to the NCAA Frozen Four, its second straight trip there (the Big Red lost to Minnesota-Duluth in triple overtime in the 2010 championship game).
Cornell was picked for first in the ECAC Hockey preseason coaches' poll, receiving 11 of 12 first-place votes (Big Red head coach Doug Derraugh was not allowed to vote for his own team). Four Cornell student-athletes also made the preseason All-ECAC Hockey team: forwards Brianne Jenner and Rebecca Johnston and defensemen Laura Fortino and Lauriane Rougeau. All four have been selected to the roster of Canada's National Women's Team for the upcoming 4 Nations Cup Nov. 9-14. Goalies Amanda Mazzotta (1.12) and Lauren Slebodnick (1.15) finished 1-2 in the NCAA in goals-against average last year.
Yale's last trip to Lynah Rink was very nearly a memorable one. An early goal by Hughes put Yale up 1-0, and the Bulldogs held that lead until late in the first period when Cornell tied it. With Ladiges on her way to a 45-save effort, the Big Red's lead was just 2-1 through the halfway point of the game. But after that Cornell pulled away for a 7-1 win.
Colgate (3-2, 0-0 ECAC Hockey) has won three in a row heading into Tuesday night's game with Cornell. After being blanked by New Hampshire and Northeastern in their first two games, the Raiders have scored 18 goals in their last three games -- two wins vs. Lindenwood and one vs. Syracuse. Forward Brittany Phillips leads the team in assists and points (5-6-11) and is tied for the team lead in goals with forward Melissa Kueber (5-3-8). Three of Phillips' five goals have come on the power play. Goalie Kimberly Sass, the ECAC Hockey Goaltender of the Year three years ago, has a .913 save percentage and a 2.61 goals-against average.
Yale split the series with Colgate last year, winning 3-1 at Ingalls Rink on goals by Hughes, Bray Ketchum '11 and sophomore forward Jenna Ciotti (Manotick, Ont.). Ketchum and Raines had a pair of assists.
Friday, 7 p.m. at No. 3 Cornell:
Saturday, 4 p.m. at Colgate:
Report by Sam Rubin '95 (email@example.com), Yale Sports Publicity