January 31, 2012

Trek to North Country up Next for Bulldogs

St. Lawrence Friday, Clarkson Saturday

NEW HAVEN, Conn. – The Yale women's ice hockey team is going to great lengths -- literally -- for the chance at a pair of ECAC Hockey victories this weekend. The Bulldogs leave Thursday morning for their trip to St. Lawrence and Clarkson, and by the time the weekend is over they will have traveled almost 800 miles by bus. That is the second-longest trip of the season, trailing only their visit last November to Erie, Pa., for games at No. 5 Mercyhurst (approximately 1,000 miles round trip).

Yale (1-22-0, 1-15-0 ECAC Hockey) will make a stop at the U.S. Olympic Training Center for practice on Thursday afternoon, breaking up the 370-mile trip that day. After seeing the site of the famous 1980 "Miracle on Ice" victory for the U.S. men's ice hockey team over Russia in the Olympics, the Bulldogs will attempt to make some history of their own. Yale's victory over St. Lawrence at Ingalls Rink on Jan. 23, 2010 (1-0 on an unassisted first-period goal by junior forward Danielle Moncion (Round Lake Center, Ont.)) was the Bulldogs' first win in the series, so Yale has yet to beat St. Lawrence at Appleton Arena. Yale beat Clarkson 3-2 in overtime at Ingalls Rink last year on a goal by senior forward Aleca Hughes (Westwood, Mass.), but hasn't won at Cheel Arena since a 2-1 overtime victory on a goal by Kelsey Johnson '07 Jan. 7, 2005.

Hughes had a good weekend the last time Yale faced these two teams (Jan. 13-14), scoring one goal and adding two assists. Her line mates, Moncion and freshman forward Lynn Kennedy (Markham, Ont.) each had one goal and one assist. That weekend also saw freshman defenseman Madi Murray (Medicine Hat, Alta.) get her first career point with an assist against Clarkson.

Hughes enters this weekend leading the team in points (3-8-11), followed by sophomore forward Jackie Raines (London, Ont.) (7-2-9). Raines missed Yale's recent games against St. Lawrence and Clarkson with an injury.

Freshman goalie Jaimie Leonoff (Montreal, Que.) started Friday night's game and made 20 saves on 25 shots before giving way to senior goalie Genny Ladiges (Almonte, Ont.). Ladiges then stopped 18 of 21 shots that night, and 46 of 52 shots the next afternoon against No. 10 Dartmouth, to extend her season save total to 597 -- 143 away from cracking Yale's single-season top 10 list in that category.

After being limited to nine shots Friday night against Harvard, the Bulldogs bounced back with 28 the next day against Dartmouth. That included a season-high seven shots from sophomore forward Paige Decker (New Preston, Conn.). Raines added six shots, while Hughes and junior forward Alyssa Zupon (Basking Ridge, N.J.) had four each. That was the sixth time this season Yale had 28 or more shots on goal in a game.

St. Lawrence (15-8-4, 9-5-2 ECAC Hockey) topped Yale 7-1 at Ingalls Rink Jan. 14 in the midst of a nine-game unbeaten streak that was not snapped until this past Friday, when the Saints fell 6-4 to No. 3 Cornell at Appleton Arena. They responded to that by beating Colgate 6-0 the next night, and enter this weekend sixth in the ECAC Hockey standings but just two points behind the three teams tied for third (Clarkson, Dartmouth and Quinnipiac).

The Saints' lineup features two players who have already cracked the 30-point mark (forwards Rylee Smith, 15-18-33, and Kelly Sabatine, 12-19-31) and a third who is not far behind (forward Karell Emard, 10-18-28). Goalie Carmen McDonald is fifth in ECAC Hockey with 516 saves.

Saturday is Senior Day for Clarkson (16-7-5, 10-4-2 ECAC Hockey), which beat Yale 5-2 at Ingalls Rink Jan. 13 to start a 4-1-1 stretch in which the Golden Knights' only loss was a 3-2 decision at St. Lawrence. All four of Clarkson's losses in ECAC Hockey play have been by just one goal, and the Golden Knights recently handed first-place Cornell a 5-3 loss -- only the second league loss of the year for the Big Red.

Clarkson has been particularly tough at Cheel Arena, allowing only 19 goals in 14 home games while scoring 47. Goalie Erica Howe is eighth in the country with a 1.81 goals-against average and tied for fourth in the country with five shutouts. Clarkson boasts the third-best penalty killing unit in the country, operating at an 89.3 percent success rate.

 

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Report by Sam Rubin '95 (sam.rubin@yale.edu), Yale Sports Publicity

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