No. 7 Quinnipiac Edges Yale 3-2 for Nutmeg Classic Title

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Stephanie Mock. (photo by Sam Rubin ?95, Yale Sports Publicity)

Staenz, Mock Score for Bulldogs

HAMDEN, Conn – No. 7 Quinnipiac rallied for a 3-2 win over Yale in the Nutmeg Classic championship game Saturday afternoon at TD Bank Sports Center. The Bulldogs grabbed an early lead with goals in the first five minutes by freshman forward Phoebe Staenz and junior forward Stephanie Mock, but Quinnipiac rallied back for the win. In the process, the Bobcats claimed the Nutmeg Classic title for the fourth time.

These same two teams had battled to a scoreless tie in overtime earlier in the month, but the goals came quickly this time around. The Bulldogs did not get a shot on goal for the first three minutes of the game, but once they did they immediately hit pay dirt. Sophomore defenseman Kate Martini got the play started by chipping the puck forward to help get it out of Yale's zone. Sophomore forward Janelle Ferrara controlled the loose puck near the right circle in Quinnipiac's zone, then crisscrossed in front of Staenz in the slot. Ferrara dropped a pass back to Staenz, who one-timed it past the glove of Quinnipiac netminder Sydney Rossman at 3:09.

Ninety seconds later, the Bulldogs got their second shot on goal -- and their second goal. Staenz disrupted an attempt by the Bobcats to clear the puck out of their own zone, and Mock got the puck off the boards and back to Staenz in the left circle. Staenz then passed it back to Mock for another shot that eluded Rossman.

Quinnipiac (12-2-5, 3-2-4 ECAC Hockey) answered this goal quickly, though, thanks to a penalty on the Bulldogs 41 seconds after Mock's goal. Bobcats forward Emma Woods scored just eight seconds into the power play to pull QU within 2-1.

"It's unfortunate that we gave up that power play goal right after we went ahead 2-0," said Joakim Flygh, Yale's head coach. "That took a little wind out of our sails."

Yale junior goalie Jaimie Leonoff was peppered with three shots in the final 45 seconds of the first period, but turned them all aside to keep her team in the lead heading into the first intermission.

The Bobcats caught Yale (3-8-1, 2-3-1 ECAC Hockey) in transition to tie the game less than six minutes into the second. Deep in the Yale zone, forward Kelly Babstock fed the puck across to forward Olivia Brackett. Leonoff got a piece of Brackett's shot, but not enough to keep it from trickling over the goal line behind her.

Yale had its best chance to re-take the lead with 4:51 left in the second period. Following a flurry of shots in front of the net, a Quinnipiac player dove on the puck and covered it in the crease after Mock poked it towards the goal line. That resulted in a penalty shot for the Bulldogs, but Rossman turned aside Staenz' shot to keep the game tied 2-2.

With less than three minutes to play in the second the Bulldogs had another Grade-A scoring chance, as Staenz' pass from behind the net found sophomore forward Hanna Åström all alone low in the right circle. But Rossman got into perfect position to deny the shot and any chance of a rebound.

Down at the other end of the ice, Leonoff came up with some brilliant stops of her own as time wound down in the second. That included a pair with 2:30 to play on a back-to-back sequence in which she stopped an initial shot by forward Morgan Fritz-Ward and forward Nicole Brown's attempt to follow up. Just seconds later, Leonoff calmly sticked aside a blast by defenseman Kristen Tamberg. The teams went into the third period tied 2-2.

Quinnipiac took the lead at 3:22 of the third when defenseman Lindsay West's shot from the left circle slid along the ice through traffic and banged in off the far post. Leonoff went right back to work after that, making a spectacular glove save 30 seconds later on forward Kelly Babstock's shot from point-blank range off a feed from forward Shiann Darkangelo. Darkangelo had five points (three goals, two assists) in Saturday's 8-0 win over RIT, but was held scoreless on five shots on Saturday.

Special teams took over the game in the waning minutes. First, Yale got a power play with 8:11 to play. Senior defenseman Tara Tomimoto sent a shot just inches over the cross bar, and freshman defenseman Taylor Marchin had a slap shot blocked. Rossman then covered up an attempt from right in front by freshman forward Krista Yip-Chuck.

A penalty on the Bulldogs brought that power play to a premature end, and things got even tougher when another penalty was called on Yale immediately after that. Facing 90 seconds of 5-on-3, the Bulldogs got a key early save by Leonoff, followed by a clear from Yip-Chuck. After the Bulldogs got one skater back, sophomore forward Jamie Haddad blocked a shot and Leonoff added a save just as the second penalty expired.

Leonoff made one last great save, closing up the five-hole on Babstock with 3:30 to play. Yale then pulled her for an extra skater with just over a minute left, right as Rossman gloved a slap shot by Marchin. The Bulldogs generated plenty of offense in the final seconds, but could not get the equalizer. Their last best chance came when Ferrara tried to follow up the rebound of a shot by sophomore forward Jamie Haddad, but Rossman swallowed up that attempt with 2.7 seconds to play.  The Bobcats then tied up the Bulldogs on the final face-off to seal the win.

Leonoff finished with 33 saves, while Rossman made 24.

Saturday marked the seventh time in Yale's first 12 games that the Bulldogs played a team currently ranked in the top 10 nationally. They are 0-6-1 in those games, but three of the losses have been one-goal losses.

"I don't think our record is indicative of the type of team we are," said Flygh. "We played well today, and we feel we are going in the right direction."

Yale had advanced to the championship game with a 5-4 win vs. UConn Friday. This was the Bulldogs' eighth appearance in the championship game in the 10 year history of the tournament. Staenz, who had three points Friday in addition to her two points Saturday, was named to the all-tournament team.

Yale travels to Providence next Friday for its final game before winter break.

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

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