Junior Forward Helps Bulldogs Rally Past Tigers
PRINCETON, N.J. – Junior forward Jackie Raines' four-goal outburst Saturday afternoon at Baker Rink helped the Yale women's ice hockey team rally past Princeton for a 5-3 win. The victory clinches a spot in the ECAC Hockey playoffs for Yale, the Bulldogs' first postseason berth since 2008. Junior goaltender Jaimie Leonoff made 47 saves, including 23 in the first period, for the win.
After an injury sidelined her prior to the 2012-13 season, Raines made her return to the ice this January and has been making up for lost time ever since. She now has eight goals and four assists in 10 games since returning.
"Jackie did a great job using her speed today," said Joakim Flygh, Yale's head coach. "Her determination gave her the opportunity to be successful. It was great to see. She was the best player on the ice today."
The Bulldogs' offense was limited in the first period due to three penalties that required killing, including one that began with an extensive amount of time on a delayed penalty with Princeton playing with its goalie pulled for an extra attacker.
Princeton (13-10-4, 9-8-3 ECAC Hockey) had a number of scoring chances in the first, and took advantage of two of them. Three minutes in, a forechecking forward Hilary Lloyd forced Leonoff out of the net to clear the puck. But after a turnover, Lloyd backhanded the puck into the empty net for a 1-0 lead at 2:57.
The Tigers' second goal came on their third power play, as forward Fiona McKenna scored to put Princeton up 2-0 at 19:27.
But other than those two goals, Leonoff was spectacular in the first, turning aside 23 shots. That included several from point-blank range, including a one-timer by forward Denna Laing that Leonoff gloved in the opening minutes and a backhander by forward Morgan Sly off a steal in the Yale zone that Leonoff covered five minutes in.
"Jaimie was focused today," said Flygh. "I know from talking to her that she felt that after losing to Princeton earlier in the year, she wanted another shot at them."
The Bulldogs finally got going immediately after the second Tigers goal. Freshman forward Krista Yip-Chuck won the faceoff back to sophomore defenseman Kate Martini, who then led Yip-Chuck with a pass into the Princeton zone. Yip-Chuck drew two defenders before sliding a pass across to Raines, who sniped one top shelf on the glove side of Princeton goalie Kimberly Newell to draw Yale within one heading into the first intermission.
McKenna extended the Princeton lead to 3-1 at 7:23 of the second, sneaking one inside the near post on Leonoff's stick side from the left circle. But once again, Raines and the Bulldogs responded immediately. Raines grabbed a pass from sophomore forward Janelle Ferrara in the neutral zone, skated in on the right side, then slipped one past Newell. Senior defenseman Tara Tomimoto got the second assist.
Yale (8-13-6, 6-8-6 ECAC Hockey) tied the game 3-3 when Yip-Chuck created a turnover on the forecheck, drove in from Newell's right and flipped in her ninth goal of the year.
After being so busy in the first period Leonoff did not have to make nearly as many saves in the second. A kick save to deny forward Sally Butler was Leonoff's 11th and final stop of the second.
While the Bulldogs were fighting to clinch a spot in the playoffs, the Tigers also had plenty at stake. They entered the day just two points behind the two teams tied for fourth in the standings, and the top four teams in the standings host the best-of-three ECAC Hockey quarterfinal series. That added to the tension for both teams as the tied game headed into the final period.
Yale got its first power play of the game seven seconds into the third, but the Bulldogs were unable to get any shots on goal. Two even-strength goals by Raines later in the period more than made up for that, though. Raines finished her hat trick, and gave Yale its first lead of the game, by knocking in the rebound of her own shot at 9:35 of the third. Yip-Chuck and Tomimoto assisted. She then scored on a wraparound with 4:38 left in the game to notch her fourth goal. Ferrara and Tomimoto assisted on that one.
"We sent a clear message as a coaching staff after the first period, when we didn't play with a lot of emotion," said Flygh. "Jackie did a great job responding. She kind of took over."
The Tigers pulled Newell for an extra attacker in the final minutes but could not get anything past Leonoff, who pumped her fists in celebration as the final seconds ticked off the clock.
The win capped a big day for the Yale women's ice hockey program in general, as earlier Saturday freshman forward Phoebe Staenz and Team Switzerland advanced to the semifinals at the Olympics with a 2-0 victory over Russia in the quarterfinals.
Staenz was the last Bulldog to score four goals in a game prior to Raines' effort at Princeton. Staenz scored four in a 5-1 win at Providence Dec. 6.
Yale will be on the road for the playoffs, but the Bulldogs' destination will not be known until the regular season ends next weekend. Yale hosts No. 6 Harvard Friday at 7:00 p.m.
Report by Sam Rubin '95 (firstname.lastname@example.org), Yale Sports Publicity