Leonoff Makes 47 Saves
NEW HAVEN, Conn. – The Yale women's ice hockey team has had to measure its progress slowly this season, and Saturday's 3-2 overtime defeat at the hands of Providence at Ingalls Rink was an example of that. The Bulldogs had lost to the Friars 9-3 a year ago, but this year's meeting was a much closer affair even though it also ended in defeat. Yale was within 16 seconds of coming away with a tie before Providence forward Beth Hanrahan knocked in a rebound to give the Friars the win. Senior forward Patricia McGauley and freshman forward Janelle Ferrara scored Yale's goals, while sophomore goaltender Jaimie Leonoff made 47 saves.
Yale (2-12-1, 1-5-1 ECAC Hockey) led early, then had to rally late to force overtime. After a faceoff in the Providence zone, the Bulldogs went ahead 1-0 at the 1:52 mark. Junior defenseman Aurora Kennedy blasted a slap shot from above the left circle that sophomore forward Stephanie Mock got a piece of in the left circle. Mock's effort wound up deflecting the puck into a Providence defenseman, popping the puck high into the air towards the far post behind Friars goalie Nina Riley. McGauley happened to be in the right place at the right time and waited patiently for the puck to get low enough for her to knock it in without getting a high-sticking penalty.
The second period wound up being a busy one for Leonoff, as she made 20 saves. But a barrage of shots enabled Providence (9-9-4, 5-4-2 Hockey East) to tie the game and then take the lead. The Friars' first goal came at 5:07 on a power play, as forward Molly Illikainen poked in a loose puck in the crease after Leonoff had fallen to the ice while trying to make a save.
Leonoff made five saves during a penalty kill midway through the second, and also got some help from shot blocks by senior forwards Jen Matichuk and Danielle Moncion. Moncion was helped off the ice after hers as the puck hit her hard in the leg, but she was back out just three minutes later and almost poked in a loose puck in the slot; Riley made the save.
Providence broke the tie with a nice unassisted wrister from forward Corinne Buie at 17:17 of the second, as she showcased some moves in transition by grabbing a pass at center ice and maneuvering in for the goal. The Friars went into the second intermission up 2-1.
Riley came up with one of her biggest saves of the day with 11:20 left in the game, getting her glove on the puck while sprawled out on the ice as junior forward Ashley Dunbar tried to stuff in the rebound of a shot by McGauley.
Leonoff had another active penalty kill midway through the third, making five saves and getting a shot block from junior defenseman Tara Tomimoto to keep the Bulldogs within striking distance.
Matichuk drew a holding penalty on the Friars with 5:10 to play that enabled Yale to tie the game, but not without a dramatic pause. The apparent game-tying goal came from Ferrara with 4:01 to play, as she deflected in a shot by Tomimoto with her knee. The Bulldogs celebrated briefly, but the shot was initially ruled not a goal as the officials thought Ferrara had kicked it in. A video review determined that it had not been kicked in, though. When the officials came out and signaled that the goal was good, Yale got the chance to celebrate again.
Yale got a scare when Leonoff was shaken up on the ice after a hit with 35.6 seconds to play, but she remained in the game. The Friars threatened in the final minute before freshman defenseman Kate Martini was finally able to get the puck out of the zone as time expired.
The first three minutes of overtime saw no shots on goal by either team, but then they started coming quickly. Right after Leonoff denied forward Haley Frade, Riley stopped a shot from Kennedy. With 30 seconds to play Leonoff made back-to-back saves on defenseman Lexi Slattery and Buie, but the Bulldogs were undone later when the Friars came out of the neutral zone for a three-on-one. Leonoff stopped the initial shot by forward Nicole Anderson but Hanrahan put in the rebound to end the game.
This was Leonoff's fourth game with 40 or more saves this year; she finished three shy of her season high (50 vs. BC Nov. 24).
Yale's final 14 games will all be ECAC Hockey contests. The Bulldogs host St. Lawrence next Friday.
Report by Sam Rubin '95 (firstname.lastname@example.org), Yale Sports Publicity