Leonoff’s 44 Saves Help Yale to Scoreless Tie with No. 7 Quinnipiac

Abby Gahm and Jaimie Leonoff. (photo by Sam Rubin ?95, Yale Sports Publicity)
Abby Gahm and Jaimie Leonoff. (photo by Sam Rubin ?95, Yale Sports Publicity)

Bulldogs Gain First Point in ECAC Hockey Standings

NEW HAVEN, Conn. – Goals figured to be at a premium in Saturday afternoon's women's ice hockey game at Ingalls Rink between Yale and No. 7 Quinnipiac. The Bulldogs knew they were facing a tough task in going up against Quinnipiac goalie Chelsea Laden, who entered the day third in the nation in goals-against average (1.03) and seventh in save percentage (.947). But Yale countered with junior goalie Jaimie Leonoff, who was fourth in the nation in saves last year (944). In the end, both goalies proved to be too tough. Leonoff wound up making a season-high 44 saves and Laden made 27 as the teams skated to a scoreless tie.

Yale's best chance of the first period came on a shot by sophomore forward Hanna Åström, but her backhanded attempt hit the pipe and bounced away.

The Bulldogs outshot the Bobcats 11-10 in the first frame, but Quinnipiac (8-1-3, 3-1-2 ECAC Hockey) had a decided 19-8 shot advantage in the second. Still, Leonoff handled the extra work with no issues, even making four of her 19 saves for the frame while helping kill off a pair of Yale penalties.

Senior forward Paige Decker generated a tough shot early in the third that forced Laden to leave the rebound in front of the net, but Quinnipiac's defense swooped in to clear the puck and keep the Bulldogs off the scoreboard. Decker had another chance from low in the right circle later in the period on a rebound of a shot by Åström, but Laden got enough of it with her glove to deflect it away.

Quinnipiac defenseman Emma Greco tried a wraparound with just over five minutes left in the period, but Leonoff got her left leg down to stuff that shot. The Bobcats also had the final shot attempt of regulation, but forward Olivia Brackett's blast from just inside the blue line sailed high over the net. The teams went to overtime.

Junior forward Stephanie Mock generated the first scoring chance of the extra session, as she carried the puck in from the neutral zone and put a shot on net that Laden could not control. But with the puck sitting dangerously near the crease for several seconds the Bulldogs were unable to locate it amidst a scrum, and the Bobcats eventually cleared it away.

Senior defenseman Tara Tomimoto created her own shot with two minutes to play in the extra session, stealing a pass at center ice and skating in for a slap shot that Laden sticked aside.

With a minute to play and a faceoff just outside the Yale zone, Quinnipiac called time. The Bobcats won the faceoff, but forward Nicole Connery missed on a chance to one-time a crossing pass from forward Kelly Babstock and the Bulldogs were able to clear. The final shot of a game was a slap shot by sophomore forward Jamie Haddad from just inside the blue line that Laden gloved.

This was the fourth time in six games this season that Leonoff has made 35 or more saves. She raised her season save percentage 19 points in one game, to .919.

Yale (0-5-1, 0-3-1 ECAC Hockey) travels to Rensselaer for a game next Friday.

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