February 15, 2006

Fired-Up Bulldogs Make History With 3-1 Win at Brown

Feb. 14, 2006

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PROVIDENCE, R.I. - The sound echoed throughout Meehan Auditorium, drawing the attention of everyone in the arena. The Yale Bulldogs were gathered at the door to the ice as the third period was about to begin, and they were making their presence known with an unusual amount of noise. Captain Lisa Jacque applied the finishing touch, banging her stick loudly on the glass behind the bench as the team took the ice. The fired-up Bulldogs then came alive for three goals to pull off a 3-1 victory, their first win over Brown since 1988.

"They got themselves ready," said Yale head coach Hilary Witt. "I've never seen them so pumped up to play a period in the five years I've been here. They were psyched."

Yale had been 0-36-1 in its last 37 games against the Bears, dating back to a 1-0 win on Feb. 10, 1988.

In addition to snapping that skid, the victory represented the 47th for Yale's senior class (Jacque, Deena Caplette and Sarah Love), making them the winningest class in school history. Those three played a major role in getting the team ready for the decisive third period.

"The seniors said they wanted to win, they wanted to beat this team," Witt said. "They've beaten every other Ivy team in their four years here. It was time for them to beat this team. I think the emotion from the seniors really drove the team."

The victory also extended Yale's unbeaten streak to seven games, establishing a new school record.

The first two periods were dominated by defense. A Yale penalty at 7:40 of the first gave Brown the opportunity to get on the board, as Keaton Zucker took a long pass from goalie Nicole Stock and beat Love at 8:26.

A pair of penalties on Brown near the end of the first gave Yale a 5-on-3 for 18 seconds, but the Bulldogs were unable to take advantage of it.

After some saves early on by Brown's Nicole Stock, neither team could generate much offense in the second period either. The first penalty did not come until over nine minutes had elapsed, when Brown was whistled for contact to the head -- elbowing.

Yale was unable to score on that power play and soon had to switch to penalty-killing mode. The Bulldogs were whistled for checking at 11:37, but Ann-Renee Guillemette cleared away a dangerous rebound and Kristin Savard broke up a cross-ice pass to disrupt the Bears' offense.

Another checking penalty on the Bulldogs gave Brown a 5-on-3 for 16 seconds, but the lone shot on that sailed wide. The second period ended as it began, 1-0 Brown.

The Bulldogs immediately established that the third period would be different from the other two. With the puck in the Brown zone after the opening faceoff, the Bulldogs crashed the net and found paydirt a mere 16 seconds in. Jenna Spring stuck in a rebound off a Deena Caplette assist to tie the score at one.

"You couldn't ask for much more than that," Witt said. "They were so fired up to come out of that lockerroom, I'm so happy they did score that early because you want to keep that momentum going. The confidence that went through that bench after that goal was unreal."

The Bulldogs continued to apply the offensive pressure, and even being forced into penalty-killing mode six minutes in did little to deter them. Crysti Howser actually had a chance at a short-handed goal, and Love gloved a blast from the point by Myria Henhuis to end the Bear power play.

With just over 11 minutes left in the game a rush up the right side by Kristen Stupay generated a delayed penalty on the Bears. The Bulldogs pulled Love, sent in an extra attacker and controlled the puck for several seconds, passing it around until finally Spring and Savard were able to work it to an open Howser for a slap shot that beat Stock and gave Yale a 2-1 lead.

"I thought in the third period they all picked it up, but Kristin Savard made some great plays," Witt said. "The pass she made over to Howser in the 6-on-5 on the delayed penalty was amazing. She was a big part of that win."

Shortly after assisting on the go-ahead goal, Savard delivered the crushing blow. Yale was whistled for checking again with 6:55 to play, giving the Bears a chance to get back in the game. But on a faceoff in the Brown zone to Stock's left, Caplette won the draw over to Savard, who quickly unleashed one that snuck past Stock's right leg for a short-handed goal at 14:34.

"That was just a heads-up shot that fooled everybody," Witt said. "It was a great play. She didn't stick-handle, she didn't wait. When you do that, the goalie has a chance."

This was the rare big Yale win where few heroics were required from Love, who finished with 14 saves and has stopped 125 of the last 127 shots she has faced. Two Brown penalties helped ensure that the Bears could generate little in the way of offense as the third period dwindled down.

Stock was pulled for the final 40 seconds, but the only puck that got near Love was a harmless one that drifted into the crease and was covered by the Yale netminder with 18 seconds to play. Brown registered only three shots on goal in the third period.

"Our defense started to get more confident as the game went on," Witt said. "They stepped up a lot more - they didn't let Brown attack them."

The Bulldogs have now ended two long streaks against them in the last 12 days, having beaten Dartmouth for the first time in 20 years on Feb. 3.

Yale hosts No. 8 Clarkson (Friday, 7 p.m.) and No. 2 St. Lawrence (Saturday, 3 p.m.) this weekend.

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

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