Nov. 25, 2006
BOSTON - Freshman goaltender Ansley LaHue made the most of her first career start Saturday afternoon at Matthews Arena, stopping 17 of 18 shots to help Yale to a 3-1 win over Northeastern. LaHue, who missed a shutout by 4:09, helped Yale hold the Huskies scoreless on eight power-play chances for the win. Sophomore forward Crysti Howser had a goal and two assists to lead Yale offensively.
"Ansley played great," said head coach Hilary Witt. "She pretty much won the game for us."
LaHue saw her first varsity action in relief of junior goaltender Shivon Zilis against Princeton three weeks ago, stopping all six shots she faced in one period of work. Other than that, her only game experience entering Saturday came in a preseason exhibition against McGill.
"She's been working really hard," Witt said of LaHue. "We decided to see what she could do with a start. She deserved a chance, and Shivon is going to need breaks as the season wears on."
LaHue was immediately put to the test when Yale (5-5-0, 3-4-0 ECAC) took a penalty 2:33 into the game. Howser executed a nice poke check to break up the Huskies' first scoring chance, and a LaHue save ended the second.
Five minutes later the Bulldogs were whistled for too many men on the ice, but managed to get off a nice short-handed shot when Howser fed senior defenseman Regan Gilbride. Northeastern netminder Sarah Belliveau made the stop to keep the game scoreless.
Midway through the period the Bulldogs got their first power play when, after freshman forward Mandi Schwartz fought her way through the Northeastern defense to put the puck on net, defenseman Brenna Frost hooked freshman forward Denise Soesilo while she was trying for the rebound. But Belliveau kept the Bulldogs off the scoreboard by stopping a shot from sophomore defenseman Helen Resor and Schwartz' attempt at the rebound.
LaHue covered up a dangerous puck loose in the crease after a flurry from Northeastern during the Huskies' third power play of the first period, and shortly after that the Bulldogs got the man advantage thanks to a checking call. That led to the game's first goal.
Off a face-off win by Howser in the circle to Belliveau's left, senior forward Sheila Zingler fought off a pair of defenders in the slot and slid the puck in with 1:41 left in the period for a power-play goal.
The penalties kept coming in the second period, starting with a checking call against the Bulldogs 33 seconds in. Five more whistles came and went without a goal as both goalies stood tall. LaHue made a nice stop after a Yale turnover gave Northeastern forward Amy Goodney a wide-open shot in the slot midway through the period. On another Northeastern power play 15 minutes in senior forward Jenna Spring just missed a short-handed tally. Right after that a long pass found forward Chelsey Jones alone at center ice; LaHue came out to force the breakaway chance wide.
Belliveau stopped a pair of shots from the point by freshman defenseman Berit Johnson near the end of the period, and a bad bounce on a Yale power play after that almost resulted in the game-tying goal for the Huskies. Resor's shot from the blue line was blocked and popped out toward center ice. Goodney grabbed it there and headed in on LaHue, but she got her left leg out to keep the Huskies off the board.
Northeastern (2-11-1, 1-6-1 Hockey East) got another power play after a high-sticking call against the Bulldogs two minutes into the third, but LaHue gloved a shot from defenseman Lindsay Berman to keep the 1-0 lead intact.
The Bulldogs had a goal waved off with 12:58 remaining after a loose puck in the crease was whistled dead. Ten seconds later LaHue gloved a tricky wrist shot from forward Annie Hogan down at the other end of the ice.
Belliveau, who finished with 24 saves, continued to keep her team in the game as the third period wore on. She got her left leg out to stop another shot from the point by Johnson that found its way on net through heavy traffic with 12 minutes to go. Three minutes later she closed up the five hole on sophomore forward Sarah Tittman.
The Bulldogs finally got back on the board when Howser stole the puck behind the Northeastern net and fed Spring just outside the crease. She banged it home for her third goal of the year with 4:27 to play.
Yale barely had time to celebrate before Northeastern finally solved LaHue. Jones knocked a pass from Goodney past LaHue's left shoulder 28 seconds after the Spring goal to make it 2-1 Yale.
The Huskies got their eighth and final power play with 3:25 left in the game and made the game's final moments interesting. Senior forward Kristin Savard broke up back-to-back sequences by getting her stick on Northeastern passes, but the Huskies eventually took control of the puck. LaHue made a stick save on Hogan, and a sprawling Soesilo blocked another Husky shot. Resor stopped another with her skate before Savard was finally able to clear the puck.
"If there was one thing we did well today, it was penalty killing," Witt said. "We didn't give them many good looks. Denise Soesilo and Kristin Savard did a great job. We just figured out a way to get it done."
Howser added an empty-netter with seven seconds to play, grabbing the puck at center ice and firing it in for her third goal of the year and third point of the night.
In addition to her scoring touch, Howser won 20 of 27 face-offs for the game.
"She's quick and she's pretty determined," Witt said in explaining Howser's dominance in the face-off circle.
The win is Yale's second in a row against the Huskies after losing the first 18 games of the series.
The Bulldogs return to ECAC play next weekend with a trip to Clarkson and No. 5 St. Lawrence.
report by Sam Rubin '95 (email@example.com), Yale Sports Publicity