PRINCETON, N.J. – Two high-octane women's ice hockey offenses collided Friday night at Baker Rink as Yale visited No. 9 Princeton -- and in the end it was the goalies that shined. A power play goal by Yale senior forward Phoebe Staenz late in the third proved decisive, as the Bulldogs tagged on an empty-netter for a 3-1 win. Princeton came in with the fifth-best offense in the nation, averaging 3.39 goals per game, but ultimately was stymied by Yale freshman goaltender Tera Hofmann's 30 saves. Princeton's Steph Neatby stopped 28 of the 30 shots she saw in the loss.
Both teams were on a roll coming into the game. Princeton (14-7-3, 10-5-2 ECAC Hockey) was unbeaten in its last 11 games (9-0-2). Yale (10-11-3, 8-8-1 ECAC Hockey) had a four-game winning streak -- the team's longest since winning five in a row Jan. 22-Feb. 5, 2016 -- and had scored 12 goals in those four games.
The game-winner came on a power play late in the third, as sophomore defenseman Julia Yetman sent a pass along the left boards in the neutral zone to senior forward Krista Yip-Chuck at the Princeton blue line. She fed Staenz, who skated into the left circle and sniped one from a tough angle past Neatby's shoulder at 19:09.
"We changed up our breakout heading into this game, knowing how good Princeton is on the penalty kill," said Joakim Flygh, Yale's Susan Cavanagh Head Coach of Women's Ice Hockey. "The way that we drew it up is the way that it happened, which is always good."
Leading up to that dramatic finish there were 59 action-packed minutes. The Bulldogs broke up the Friday-Saturday goalie rotation that they had used to great success the past two weekends, sending Hofmann in for her first Friday start since Jan. 13. She made 11 saves to keep the Tigers scoreless in the first.
A turnover at the Bulldog blue line led to the game's first goal. Yetman poked the puck away from a Princeton player, sending it to sophomore forward Jordan Chancellor in the neutral zone. She skated the puck into the Tiger zone before sending a pass over to sophomore forward Emma Vlasic in the left circle. Vlasic's one-timer eluded Neatby for a 1-0 Yale lead at 8:28 of the first.
"We're starting to get some secondary scoring," Flygh said in noting the play of Yale's second line. "I think that's a big reason we are having more success."
Early in the second Yale killed off the first penalty of the game, but the Tigers struck shortly afterwards. Hofmann made a great save to deny a point-blank shot from forward Kiersten Falck on a 3-on-2, but forward Cassidy Tucker was in position to poke home the rebound and tie the game 1-1 at the 9:14 mark.
The Bulldogs killed off another penalty later in the second, and the teams started the third tied 1-1.
Neatby made the first big save of the third, sliding over to deny a shot from the slot by junior forward Kaitlin Gately four minutes in. The Tigers had a golden chance of their own on a 2-on-1 with 2:30 to play, but forward Carly Bullock sailed a shot wide.
A rush by Gately then forced a Princeton penalty with 1:45 left in regulation. That set up Staenz' heroics.
"This was a great game both ways," said Flygh. "Our kids played really hard, blocking shots and coming back and picking people up. All our kids committed to both ends of the ice."
Yale returns to Connecticut and visits No. 10 Quinnipiac Saturday at 3:00 p.m. (SNY TV).
HEADWAY CONCUSSION AWARENESS WEEKEND
Games across ECAC Hockey this weekend will help raise awareness of concussions as part of a partnership between the conference and the Headway Foundation. Over the weekend, all male and female ECAC Hockey student-athletes will be wearing Headway stickers on their helmets to promote the "New Tough Campaign", which challenges athletes to handle concussions properly by encouraging symptom reporting, offering avenues for teammates to support each other and promoting safe play. Teams are also raising funds for Headway, a recently formed nonprofit which has two co-founders who were Yale hockey players: Paige Decker '14 and Danny Otto '12.
"This event is really about promoting a safer sports culture surrounding concussions. As athletes who have experienced long-term post-concussion symptoms, we understand how important it is to handle this injury properly," said Decker. "This includes everything from prevention and timely symptom reporting to proper treatment, support and recovery. We understand that removal from play when a concussion is suspected is often the mentally tougher but necessary thing to do, and we want to facilitative a productive dialogue around this subject."
More information is available at http://headwayfoundation.com/ecachockey
Report by Sam Rubin '95 (email@example.com, Yale Sports Publicity)