February 11, 2007

Class of 2007 Shines on Senior Day as Yale Beats Union 8-1

Feb. 10, 2007

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NEW HAVEN, Conn. - Yale's senior class has been responsible for many highlights over the last four years, so it was only fitting that the members of the Class of 2007 added a few more in their final game at Ingalls. The senior class combined for 12 points, including a natural hat trick from forward Sheila Zingler and five assists from forward Kristin Savard, as the Bulldogs beat Union 8-1 Saturday afternoon on Senior Day. The win moved Yale within one of the school single-season victories record, and the Bulldogs now have a school-record 89 goals on the season.

Yale broke open what was a 3-1 game with five goals in the third, including Zingler's second natural hat trick in the last four weeks.

"We were inspired today," Yale head coach Hilary Witt said. "I think in the beginning they were a little nervous about their last home game, and had a lot of emotions. I think in the third period they just said `Forget it, we want to win this game. We want to play well, we want to do the little things.'"

Suzy Pocock gave Union (4-24-0, 0-20-0 ECAC) an early lead with a power-play goal at 12:02 of the first, but after that it was all Bulldogs. Yale (15-10-2, 10-8-2 ECAC) started by tying the game at 14:24 of the first. While falling, sophomore forward Danielle Kozlowski backhanded the puck off the boards to senior forward Jenna Spring, who brought it up the right wing before finding freshman forward Denise Soesilo en route to the net. Soesilo skated the puck to the doorstep before tapping it across to a wide-open Spring, handing the senior her eighth goal of the year.

Kozlowski then picked up her second goal of the weekend, deflecting in a shot by senior forward Christina Sharun after a pass from sophomore defenseman Maggie Westfal at 19:06. Kozlowski now has five career goals and three of them are game-winners.

The Bulldogs had to kill off a 5-on-3 early in the second, and did so with Sharun, Westfal and Zingler. A Union penalty at 11:35 allowed sophomore forward Crysti Howser to extend the lead with a tic-tac-toe power-play goal. Freshman defenseman Alyssa Clarke's pass from the blue line found Savard open in the left circle, and she quickly moved it over to Howser in the slot for the score.

Amanda Hanson, who would finish with 36 saves, kept the Dutchwomen within striking distance until the third period. Sharun set the tone for that frame with a fantastic individual effort for an unassisted goal 54 seconds in. She warded off a defenseman with one arm while using the other to backhand the puck past Hanson while cutting in front of the net.

Yale freshman goalkeeper Ansley LaHue made one of the toughest of her 15 saves on the day three minutes later. A long pass from the Union zone took a funny bounce and found Brenna Malnar in stride towards the goal. LaHue got her pads down to deny that one. Right after that, at the 4:30 mark, Zingler rattled in the first of her goals, assisted by sophomore defenseman Helen Resor and Savard. Zingler scored again two minutes later, assisted by Savard and Howser.

At 9:50 Savard and Zingler combined to set up Howser for a nifty back-handed goal. At 14:51 Zingler completed her hat trick and capped the scoring, assisted by Howser and Savard. Zingler once again got to see hats headed down to the ice in her honor, having seen the same sight Jan. 13 in a 5-1 win over Clarkson.

Howser's 19 goals on the season have her tied for fifth on Yale's single-season list, while she and Zingler are tied for fifth on the single-season points list with 34. Savard's five assists for the game make her the first Bulldog to accomplish that feat since Nov. 22, 2002 (fellow Hockey Humanitarian Award finalist Deanna McDevitt vs. Union in an 11-0 win).

"We scored some nice goals," Witt said. "The power-play goal that Howser scored was beautiful. All of Zingler's goals were great goals - tip-in goals, going-to-the-net type goals. It was nice to see Christina Sharun put the puck in the net as well."

As the final minutes wound down, Witt made sure that her lineup on the ice consisted of all seniors -- defenseman Nina Resor, Sharun, Spring and Zingler were out there as the game came to an end (Savard squeezed in a final visit to the Ingalls Rink penalty box with 1:37 to play).

"Every time you have a senior class playing its last home game you want to do everything you possibly can to make it special for them," Witt said. "As a player, you only get one of these days. They've been such a phenomenal class. They've given everything they can to this program. It was special to be able to do that."

Yale's total of 89 goals for the season surpasses the school record of 87 sent in 1984-85. With 15 wins the Bulldogs have also assured themselves of a winning record, something the team has achieved just once since 1985-86 (2004-05). The win is the 54th of the Class of 2007's time at Yale, six more than any other class in school history.

Yale concludes the regular season at Harvard and Dartmouth next weekend. The Bulldogs can finish as high as fifth or as low as seventh in the ECAC standings. The top eight teams make the playoffs, with the best-of-three quarterfinals starting Feb. 23 at the top four seeds.

After the game ended the Bulldogs gathered in the Schley Room with their families to pay tribute to the seniors: defenseman Regan Gilbride, goaltender Carrie Horbatuk, forward Kelsey Johnson, Resor, Savard, Sharun, Spring and Zingler. Witt noted that that group will play a key role in determining just how many more highlights there are this season, especially with the emotions of Senior Day now behind them.

"I think that they'll be focused," Witt said. "The great thing about this class is their leadership. They want to go as far as they can in the playoffs, and do whatever they can to make that happen. They'll enjoy this past weekend, then when we come back out on Monday they're going to be ready to go."

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

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