Bulldogs Look to Start Maneuvering into Playoff Position
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Friday vs. St. Lawrence
Saturday vs. Clarkson
NEW HAVEN, Conn. – The non-conference games are now over, and seven weekends remain to determine where the Yale women's ice hockey team will end up in the ECAC Hockey standings. The Bulldogs are currently three points out of the eighth and final spot for the conference playoffs, and they can start chipping away at that deficit this weekend with their first ECAC Hockey games of 2013. St. Lawrence (Friday, 7:00 p.m.) and No. 6 Clarkson (Saturday, 4:00 p.m.) visit Ingalls Rink for a pair of games that will be video streamed on-line for free on Yale All-Access on YouTube.
Separated by a month, Yale's last two games have both ended with frustrating one-goal defeats. Right before winter break, the Bulldogs fell 4-3 at RPI on a goal with only 67 seconds left. This past Saturday vs. Providence the Bulldogs pushed the Friars to overtime by scoring the game-tying goal with 4:01 to play, but fell 3-2 on a goal with 16.2 seconds left in the extra session.
Yale (2-12-1, 1-6-1 ECAC Hockey) dropped both games of its North Country swing earlier this season, falling 4-1 at Clarkson and 5-1 at St. Lawrence. The Clarkson game was highlighted by the first career goal for senior defenseman Jamie Gray (Calgary, Alta.). Yale's other defenseman from Calgary, junior Tara Tomimoto (Calgary, Alta.), scored the lone goal vs. St. Lawrence.
Sophomore goaltender Jaimie Leonoff (Montreal, Que.) made 42 saves against the Saints, one of four 40+ save efforts for her this year. Three of the goals St. Lawrence scored came on the power play; all told Leonoff has allowed just 29 goals this season when the Bulldogs are not in penalty-killing mode.
Leonoff's .918 save percentage represents a 53-point improvement over last season. Her 552 saves place her third in the country and are 60 more than her closest competitor in the conference (Princeton's Kimberly Newell, 492). The No. 3 and No. 4 goalies on that conference list will both be at Ingalls this weekend, as Clarkson's Erica Howe has 464 stops and St. Lawrence's Carmen MacDonald has 432.
Freshman forward Janelle Ferrara (Winthrop, Mass.), who scored the game-tying goal vs. Providence Saturday, now leads the team in goals (five) and is tied for the team lead in points (nine) with freshman defenseman Kate Martini (King City, Ont.). With six assists, Martini has already equaled the total from Yale's leading defenseman in that category from a year ago (Heather Grant '12 had six). The rookie blueliner is on pace for 12 assists, which would be the most by any Yale player since U.S. Olympian Helen Resor '09 had 14 in 2008-09.
Along with Ferrara and Martini, forward Jamie Haddad (Wilbraham, Mass.) (4-3-7) gives Yale three freshmen as its top three scorers. In their 35 previous seasons as a varsity sport the Bulldogs have never had three freshmen finish at the top of the team scoring list. In the previous eight seasons they have only had one time when even two freshmen were in the top three (2010-11).
St. Lawrence (11-8-1, 6-2-0 ECAC Hockey) enters the weekend on a roll, as the Saints are 11-3-1 in their last 15 games. After opening the season with five losses in which they scored a total of three goals, they have scored 57 goals in the 15 games since. Their 5-1 win over Yale in November was part of a seven-game winning streak, and while the Saints are just 4-3-1 in their last eight games, two of those losses have come to nationally ranked teams (4-2 to No. 4 Cornell and 4-3 to No. 3 BC).
Forward Kelly Sabatine leads St. Lawrence in scoring (11-13-24), but two other Saints have also already scored 20 points: defenseman Amanda Boulier (3-19-22) and forward Rylee Smith (8-12-20). Boulier, a Connecticut native who was part of the 2011 U.S. Under-18 National Team, is fifth in the conference in assists. Sabatine was team MVP and a second team All-ECAC Hockey selection last season, and Smith made the third team.
Clarkson (15-5-0, 7-1-0 ECAC Hockey), which plays at Brown Friday night, has dropped three of five since starting the season 13-2-0. Two of those recent losses, however, were to other nationally ranked teams (5-1 to No. 3 BC and 4-3 to No. 10 Northeastern). The Golden Knights' 4-1 win over the Bulldogs in November started a remarkable stretch in which they allowed their opponents exactly one goal in five straight games, winning them all by a combined total of 14-5.
The Golden Knights feature the No. 3 power play in the country, converting 27.3 percent of their chances. They are also sixth in the country in scoring defense (1.80 goals per game). Howe, Clarkson's MVP and ECAC Hockey's Goaltender of the Year last season, is eighth in the country with a .929 save percentage. She has been a part of Canada's Under-18 National Team.
Forward Jamie Lee Rattray leads the Golden Knights offense, as she is eighth in the country in goals per game and 10th in the country in points per game (15-16-31 in 18 games). Rattray has been a part of Canada's Under-22 and Under-18 teams and was a nominee for the Patty Kazmaier Award as the top player in women's college hockey last year.
Video (Adlon Adams '15 and Paul Wasserman '14):
Report by Sam Rubin '95 (firstname.lastname@example.org), Yale Sports Publicity