January 6, 2007

Johnson & Johnson: Sisters' Four Points Highlight 5-0 Win at Union

Jan. 6, 2007

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SCHENECTADY, N.Y. - The last time Yale senior forward Kelsey Johnson and freshman defenseman Berit Johnson combined on a goal, they were teammates at the Blake School and helping their team to the 2003 Minnesota state championship. On Saturday afternoon at Messa Rink, the sisters teamed up at the collegiate level to help Yale to a 5-0 win over Union. Kelsey had two goals and an assist, and Berit picked up an assist on Kelsey's second goal to give the sisters a four-point day.

"It was really fun to watch Berit take that shot and have Kelsey get the rebound," head coach Hilary Witt said of Yale's fifth and final goal, a Johnson-to-Johnson connection at 6:44 of the third. "That was exciting to see. Kelsey played the systems, and that's why she got those goals."

The Bulldogs (8-7-0, 4-6-0 ECAC) saw contributions from several other players en route to their fourth win in six games. Yale had a 58-11 shot advantage on the day, and junior goaltender Shivon Zilis made 11 saves to get her second shutout in the last three games.

The first 75 seconds were spent with the puck in Yale's zone, but once freshman forward Denise Soesilo grabbed the puck at the Bulldog blueline momentum changed quickly. Soesilo flew down the right wing, cut in on Union goalkeeper Alex Zirbel and deposited her fourth goal of the year unassisted at the 1:16 mark.

Zilis did not see a shot on goal until just over 10 minutes remained in the first period. That would also be the Dutchwomen's only shot on goal for the period, with Yale holding a 20-1 edge in that category for the frame.

A hooking penalty gave Yale a power play 12:28 into the game but Zirbel stopped all three Yale shots. Just as that power play came to an end the Bulldogs were whistled for tripping. Witt sent out sophomore forward Danielle Kozlowski, senior forward Kristin Savard, sophomore forward Sarah Tittman and sophomore defenseman Helen Resor to kill that one off, and that quartet kept the puck in the Union zone for a full minute.

After Union's Gabi Wintner was helped off the ice with an injury (she would return later), the power play resumed but Yale killed off the remainder of it.

The Bulldogs then grabbed two quick goals before heading into the locker-room. With 3:25 left, sophomore forward Crysti Howser took a pass from Kelsey Johnson right in front of the net and, after a series of dekes got Zirbel out of position, backhanded the puck back to Johnson. She knocked it home for her second goal of the year.

Twenty-eight seconds later, the Bulldogs got back on the scoreboard. Kelsey Johnson had an assist as sophomore forward Kristen Stupay potted the rebound of freshman forward Caroline Murphy's shot.

The goal was Stupay's first since the second game of the season.

"That was just a hustle goal," Witt said. "She pounced on that rebound. She's been working really hard, so it's really nice to see her rewarded with a goal like that."

That ended Zirbel's day after 15 saves and three goals allowed. Amanda Hanson came on in relief and ended the period with two saves, including one on a wrister with 1.6 seconds left from Resor.

Union's best chance to get back in the game came early in the second period when the Bulldogs were whistled for a pair of penalties just 12 seconds apart. Howser, Tittman and Resor were deployed to kill off that 5-on-3, with Savard, senior defenseman Regan Gilbride and sophomore defenseman Maggie Westfal coming on in relief. The Dutchwomen did not get a shot on goal.

A turnover in Yale's zone gave Lauren Muske a golden opportunity on a shot from the slot later in the period, but Zilis blocked that one with her right leg.

Union (4-13-0, 0-9-0 ECAC) was whistled for tripping at 5:32 of the second. The Bulldogs did not score on that power play, but 14 seconds after it ended Howser took a feed from senior forward Sheila Zingler and sent a shot on net that Hanson could not control. She left the rebound behind her and to her left, where senior forward Jenna Spring swooped in and backhanded it in despite a tough angle. Yale's lead was 4-0 at the 7:46 mark.

Zilis made her fourth save of the game on a Union power play with eight minutes left, sticking aside a shot by Suzy Pocock. Yale had a power play of its own with three minutes left in the period, but Berit Johnson's wrister past Hanson's glove side hit the post.

After Kelsey Johnson's second goal, in which she charged down the middle to position herself for the rebound of her sister's shot from the wing, the only question was whether Zilis could finish off the shutout. Union continued battling, putting seven shots on goal in the third period after totaling only four in the first two periods. Amanda Rucinski hit the post with 12:30 left in the game, and after that the only threat came when Union got another 5-on-3 with 6:35 to play. Savard, Tittman and Resor once again started that kill, which wound up being two of seven successful penalty kills for Yale on the day.

"We were pretty aggressive on the PK and did a good job," Witt said. "We jumped on loose pucks and took care of it in our zone."

Zilis has allowed just three goals in her last 189:15 in net (0.95 GAA).

While the Johnsons enjoyed their best day on the scoreboard, another Yale family -- the Resors -- got good news before the game even started. Senior defenseman Nina Resor, Helen's cousin and the sister of sophomore defenseman Carry Resor, returned to the Yale lineup for the first time since the second game of the season after being sidelined by illness and injury.

"It was nice to see her back out there," Witt said. "She has some way to go to get back in hockey shape, but this was a first step. She did a good job. Being a senior, it's important to get her healthy."

Yale returns to action Sunday at RPI (2:00 p.m.).

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

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