January 10, 2009

Short-Handed Goal Sinks Bulldogs vs. Harvard, 1-0

Jan. 10, 2009

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NEW HAVEN, Conn. - With 14 penalties called in the game, it was easy to see that Saturday afternoon's Yale-Harvard matchup at Ingalls Rink would largely be determined by special teams. And while the Bulldogs were able to kill off all five Harvard power plays, it was ultimately a short-handed goal that sunk them. Crimson forward Kathryn Farni's tally at 11:38 of the second was the game-winner as Harvard prevailed 1-0.

Yale (7-9-0, 3-6-0 ECAC Hockey) outshot Havard (8-7-3, 8-4-2 ECAC Hockey) 32-25, including six shots on goal from senior forward Crysti Howser, but the Bulldogs were stymied by Harvard goalkeeper Christina Kessler. The All-American and reigning ECAC Hockey Goaltender of the Year finished with her 16th career shutout, breaking a tie with Ali Boe for Harvard's career record in that category. Yale goalie Jackee Snikeris made 24 saves.

The first period was scoreless, though the Crimson had an early opportunity thwarted when Howser tied up Katherine Chute with an open net in front of her on a rebound attempt four minutes in. The Bulldogs then generated a flurry of shots down at the other end of the ice but could not get one past Kessler.

The middle of the period was dominated by special teams, as there were five penalties called in a span of five minutes. The first was on the Bulldogs, and senior defenseman Helen Resor dove to the ice to block a shot by Harvard defenseman Leanna Coskren. Howser then fought off a Crimson player to get the puck out of the Yale zone.

The Bulldogs had a short-handed chance when senior forward Danielle Kozlowski stole the puck in the Harvard zone and skated in alone on Kessler, but Kessler stopped her initial shot attempt and the rebound. Still, Kozlowski and senior forward Kristen Stupay were able to take advantage of the play to kill off the remainder of the Yale penalty by tying the puck up along the boards deep in the Harvard zone.

Another Yale penalty kill right after the first one was highlighted by Stupay diving to the ice to block a shot and clear the puck. Just 20 seconds later that Harvard power play came to a premature end with a penalty on the Crimson. Snikeris made a nice save on an attempt at tipping in the puck by forward Sarah Wilson during the 4-on-4.

Back-to-back penalties on Harvard in a span of 49 seconds gave Yale a chance to generate some offense, but Kessler denied a Resor slap shot and senior forward Maggie Westfal's try on the rebound. The teams went into the first intermission scoreless.

Yale had the first power play of the second period and nearly converted when a long pass found Howser behind the defense, but her hard wrist shot sailed just high. Shortly after that, during a Yale penalty kill, the Bulldogs lost junior forward Caroline Murphy when she blocked a hard shot with her knee.

Snikeris made a nice glove save with 12 minutes left in the period, and shortly after that the Bulldogs got their best power-play opportunity of the game. A hitting from behind call and game misconduct against defenseman Jen Brawn, who sent sophomore forward Bray Ketchum into the boards behind the Harvard net, gave Yale five minutes with a man advantage.

Senior forward Maggie Westfal tipped a shot wide, and Kessler made a save on a Resor shot after that. Sophomore defenseman Samantha MacLean just missed knocking in a pass from behind the net by Westfal.

The game turned after Harvard cleared the puck and the Bulldogs attempted to get it out of their own zone with two minutes left in the five-minute major. Farni stole a long pass at center ice and skated down the left boards, then cut across the crease and made one deke before slipping the puck past Snikeris.

The Crimson took that 1-0 lead into the third period, and Kessler kept it intact with a save on a backhanded attempt by forward Aleca Hughes from right in front after Hughes grabbed a loose puck with 16 minutes to play. Snikeris matched that by denying Harvard forward Sarah Vaillancourt, the 2008 Patty Kazmaier Award winner, and gathering in the rebound in front with her stick.

The Bulldogs outshot Havard 10-6 in the third, but struggled to get Grade-A chances. Yale killed off one more penalty, its 21st consecutive successful penalty kill, but also came up empty on a power play with 10 minutes to play.

Yale called timeout with 3:36 left, but Harvard controlled the puck in the Yale end for much of the final minutes of the game. Yale was unable to pull Snikeris until the final 30 seconds, but that did lead to a great scoring opportunity. Resor got the puck ahead to Howser and she skated in on Kessler. Howser took the puck all the way to the doorstep before putting it on net, but Kessler was able to get in front of it and eventually cover the loose puck for the last of her 32 saves.

With the win Harvard remains two points behind Dartmouth in the ECAC Hockey standings. Yale falls into 10th with Colgate's 2-1 win at Cornell, though the Bulldogs do have four games in hand compared to Quinnipiac, who is one of three teams tied for seventh just two points ahead of Yale in the standings. Yale travels to Clarkson and No. 5 St. Lawrence next weekend.

Saturday's game time was moved up an hour due to the inclement weather forecast. The Alumnae Weekend Festivities originally scheduled for this weekend were postponed to a later date, which will be announced on yalebulldogs.com shortly.

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

Video by David Dikranian

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