February 22, 2008

Yale Survives Scare from Union, 2-1, to Set Up Showdown with RPI for Playoff Spot

Feb. 22, 2008

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NEW HAVEN, Conn. - The playoff-like atmosphere arrived at Ingalls Rink a little earlier than anticipated this weekend. Trailing 1-0 against a Union team they had never lost to, the Bulldogs had to rally for two goals in the third period to hold off the upset-minded Dutchwomen 2-1. After junior defenseman Helen Resor tied the game, sophomore forward Caroline Murphy scored the game winner with 3:20 left. Senior goaltender Shivon Zilis made 17 saves to outduel Union's Lundy Day, who made 40.

With the win, the Bulldogs move into sole possession of the eighth and final playoff spot in the ECAC Hockey standings. Yale still must beat or tie RPI in the regular season finale Saturday afternoon, because the Engineers are only two points behind Yale and would have the tiebreaker edge if they win Saturday's game.

The Bulldogs peppered Day with 10 shots in the first period as they attempted to find any way possible to get the puck on net. That included Resor poking her stick into a pile in front of the net and managing to jar the puck loose, sending it just wide of the net. Shortly after that junior forward Crysti Howser had two straight deflections in front denied by Day.

The Dutchwomen got the first power play of the game but junior forward Danielle Kozlowski served as a virtual one-woman penalty kill on that one. She blocked one shot right at the start and dove to the ice to knock the puck out of the zone. She then got a piece of back-to-back shots in one sequence, then added another block later. Zilis made a kick save on defenseman Elsa Perushek, and Howser added a block of her own to finish off the Union power play. The teams were scoreless at the end of the first.

Union did not get a shot on goal in the second period until 13 minutes in. When the Dutchwomen got their next shot they made it count, as forward Suzanne Ostrow backhanded the puck in off a feed from forward Brenna Malnar at the 13:14 mark. The Bulldogs nearly tied it three minutes later, but forward Marissa Gentile swept away a rebound that was loose in the crease after a shot from the point by senior defenseman Ann-Renee Guillemette. Union's lead remained 1-0 heading into the third.

Disaster nearly struck the Bulldogs during a Yale power play with 12 minutes left in the game. Resor unleashed a slap shot that was so hard the rebound caromed all the way out to center ice. Perushek happened to be coming out of the penalty box right at that point, and there were no Yale defenders back, so she gathered in the loose puck and headed in all alone on Zilis.

Zilis came out of the net to meet her as the crowd at Ingalls held its breath, and Perushek's attempt to stuff the puck past her was denied.

"We made a bad play on the power play, and that gave them a breakaway," said Yale head coach Hilary Witt. "That was a huge save by Shivon."

The play loomed even large six minutes later. Yale tied the game when Murphy and Howser worked the puck off the boards to Resor in the right circle. Resor's initial shot was blocked but she stayed with the play and managed to knock the puck past Day at the 13:55 mark.

"That's what we've been preaching all year," Witt said. "Helen got the puck in front of the net and didn't try to stop. She just kept going, and that's how she scored."

Resor also started the game-winning sequence by blocking an attempted clear by the Dutchwomen. She and Ketchum kept the puck alive behind the net before the Dutchwomen again attempted a clear, sliding the puck along the boards toward the blue line. Murphy was coming off the bench right at that time, so she was all alone when she grabbed the loose puck and teed up a slap shot that slid along the ice before bouncing off a skate past Day at the 16:40 mark.

"It started with a smart change by Maggie Westfal," said Witt. "She got off the ice so Murph could get on and give us some fresh legs. Murph got a great shot off with traffic in front of the net."

Yale controlled play for most of the rest of the way, but Union did pull Day in the final minute and Zilis came up with a big save on Perushek's shot in traffic with eight seconds remaining. Howser won a pair of faceoffs in Yale's zone to ice the victory.

The Bulldogs are now one point behind seventh-place Cornell, which lost to Dartmouth Friday night and plays Harvard Saturday. Here is the full list of scenarios for Yale heading into Saturday's game:

Yale:

  • Finishes 7th with a win and a Cornell tie or loss.
  • Finishes 7th with a tie and a Cornell loss.
  • Finishes 8th with a win and a Cornell win.
  • Finishes 8th with a tie and a Cornell win or tie.
  • Finishes 9th with a loss.

Free live video of the 4:00 p.m. game between Yale and RPI is available through Yale All*Access on yalebulldogs.com. The game will also be broadcast on WYBC 1340 AM.

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

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