January 22, 2014

Home-and-Home vs. Brown Starts Friday at Ingalls

Bulldogs on Three-Game Unbeaten Streak

NEW HAVEN, Conn. – The Yale women's ice hockey team hosts Brown Friday night at 7:00 p.m. at Ingalls Rink, then travels to Meehan Auditorium Saturday at 4:00 p.m. to finish off the home-and-home series.

The Bulldogs will look to earn four crucial points in the conference standings. After a pair of ties last weekend vs. No. 5/6 Clarkson and St. Lawrence, Yale (6-10-3, 4-5-3 ECAC Hockey) is in eighth place in the ECAC Hockey standings. The Bulldogs are just seven points away from the two teams tied for third/fourth in the standings (Clarkson and Quinnipiac). The top four teams in the conference host teams five through eight in the ECAC Hockey playoffs' best-of-three quarterfinal series.

Yale has already surpassed its win total from a year ago (six this year, five last year) and its goal total from a year ago (45 this year, 41 last year). The Bulldogs are averaging 2.37 goals per game, their highest average since the 2006-07 team averaged 3.10 goals per game. The team's leading scorer, freshman forward Phoebe Staenz (Zürich, Switzerland) (8-12-20), was named ECAC Hockey Rookie of the Week on Tuesday after scoring a goal and adding two assists in the team's weekend ties. Staenz, a member of the Swiss Olympic Team, has at least one point in nine of the last 11 games she has played. She is 12th in the nation in assists per game and points per game, and second in the nation in points per game among rookies.

Besides Staenz, four other Bulldogs have already reached double digits in points: sophomore forward Janelle Ferrara (Winthrop, Mass.) (4-10-14), sophomore forward Jamie Haddad (Wilbraham, Mass.) (5-7-12), sophomore forward Hanna Åström (Örnsköldsvik, Sweden) (4-7-11) and junior forward Stephanie Mock (Cape Coral, Fla.) (3-7-10). Åström and Haddad are two of the three skaters for the Bulldogs who have appeared in all 19 games and incurred two or fewer penalties -- the other is freshman forward Krista Yip-Chuck (Whitby, Ont.).  

Senior defenseman Aurora Kennedy (Mississauga, Ont.) leads Yale in +/- at +7. If she maintains that number, she will finish with the best +/- by a Yale player since Bray Ketchum finished at +9 in 2008-09.

Junior goaltender Jaimie Leonoff (Montréal, Québec), who was named ECAC Hockey Goaltender of the Week for her performance against Clarkson and St. Lawrence, has been on a roll since becoming the first Yale goalie in 34 years to shutout Harvard (2-0 on Jan. 11). Including a 52-save effort last Friday vs. Clarkson, she has stopped 111 of 115 shots in the last three games (.965) and posted a 1.26 goals-against average. Heating up down the stretch is nothing new for Leonoff -- last season she posted a .933 save percentage and a 2.37 goals-against average from the start of December through the end of the year.

Leonoff has a .925 save percentage this season, which would place her sixth on Yale's single-season list -- 16 points away from the school single-season record (.941, Jackee Snikeris '11 in 2010-11). She has been a key part of the Yale penalty killing unit, which has killed off 15 of 18 penalties over the last five games (.833).

Brown (2-13-4, 1-9-2 ECAC Hockey), which snapped a 15-game winless streak with a 4-2 win vs. St. Lawrence last Friday, is in its second season under head coach Amy Bourbeau. The Bears feature one of the top goaltenders in the conference in Aubree Moore, who was one of three finalists for ECAC Hockey Goalie of the Year in 2011-12. She has a .922 save percentage and a 2.73 goals-against average. She has made 30 or more saves in a game 10 times this year, including a season-high of 54 in a 2-1 win at RIT Oct. 26.

Forward Sarah Robson (4-7-11) leads Brown in points, while forward Janice Yang -- a Connecticut native -- leads the team in goals with seven. The Bears have struggled on the power play, converting just four times in 62 attempts, but have killed off 10 of 12 penalties in the last three games.

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Brown was the opponent that the Yale women's ice hockey team played in what turned out to be the last game ever for Mandi Schwartz '10 (1988-2011). She had an assist in the Bulldogs' 4-1 win over the Bears on Dec. 4, 2008 and was diagnosed with cancer just four days later. This weekend, the Bulldogs take on Brown in a home-and-home series that starts Friday night at Ingalls Rink (7:00 p.m.) with the "White Out for Mandi" game, Yale's tribute to Mandi. The Bulldogs then visit Meehan Auditorium Saturday at 4:00 p.m.

This year's "White Out for Mandi" will feature some very special guests, as the NHL's St. Louis Blues are making an appearance. Mandi's brother Jaden plays for the Blues, and this will be his first time visiting Ingalls Rink. The Blues moved their practice Friday afternoon to Ingalls (3:00 p.m., open to the general public) to accommodate the trip to New Haven. For more on the Blues' visit, click here.

The goal Friday is to fill Ingalls Rink with fans wearing white, breaking the attendance record for a women's hockey game at "The Whale" (1,539, set on Nov. 1, 2005 when Team USA played an exhibition game against the ECAC Hockey All-Stars). The game is a fundraiser for the Mandi Schwartz Foundation, started by Mandi's Yale teammate Aleca Hughes '12. No admission will be charged, but donations will be accepted at the door.

Fans are encouraged to purchase one of the special white sweatshirts that are on sale for the event, and there will also be a silent auction of memorabilia -- including an autographed Jaden Schwartz item, an autographed USA Women's Hockey Team stick, Boston Bruins tickets and more. A special Mandi Schwartz "Heroic Inspirations" card from Upper Deck, which includes a piece of one of her game-worn Yale jerseys, will be on sale as well. There will be a ceremonial puck drop and then a special on-ice ceremony at the first intermission where Mandi's parents, Carol and Rick, will present Yale with the Be The Match Partnership Award that they accepted on Yale's behalf this past fall in recognition of the impact of the annual Mandi Schwartz Marrow Donor Registration Drive at Yale.

 

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

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