February 21, 2007

Bulldogs Head Back to Harvard for ECAC Quarterfinals

Feb. 21, 2007

NEW HAVEN, Conn. - Yale makes its seventh straight ECAC playoff appearance at a familiar site: Harvard's Bright Hockey Center, where the Bulldogs dropped a 4-3 decision in overtime to the No. 6 Crimson just one week earlier. Yale and Harvard have met 60 times in the regular season but only once before in the postseason, a 2-1 overtime victory for Harvard in the 2004-05 ECAC semifinals in Schenectady, N.Y.

Scouting Yale
Yale ended the regular season with a pair of one-goal losses to nationally-ranked opponents on the road in overtime, falling to No. 6 Harvard 4-3 on Friday and No. 3 Dartmouth 3-2 on Saturday. The Bulldogs have a school-record 94 goals on the season, and that offense has propelled them to a 10-5-2 mark since winter break. A good chunk of the scoring comes from the line of sophomore forward Crysti Howser (Wilmette, Ill.), senior forward Kristin Savard (Framingham, Mass.) and senior forward Sheila Zingler (Wausau, Wisc.), which has 33 points in the last five games. Howser scored her 21st goal of the season Saturday, the most by a Bulldog since 1987-88 (Maria Dennis, 24). Her 36 points are the most for a Yale player since 1985-86 (Dennis, 50). The Bulldogs have also seen junior goaltender Shivon Zilis (Markham, Ont.) step up to play some of her best hockey of late. Zilis made 77 saves on the weekend, including several stops of the acrobatic variety that had the opposing crowds gasping. She now has 224 saves in her last seven games, including a 50-save effort against No. 1 Mercyhurst Jan. 26. The Bulldogs remain one win shy of tying the school record, 16.

Scouting Harvard
Harvard is the No. 1 scoring offense in the country, checking in at a blistering 4.48 goals per game (130 goals, 29 games). The Crimson also feature the top two individual scorers in terms of points per game: U.S. Olympian Julie Chu (17-47-64 in 26 games, 2.46 points per game) and Canadian Olympian Sarah Vaillancourt (29-24-53 in 25 games, 2.12 points per game). Jenny Brine is 15th (23-16-39 in 23 games, 1.34 points per game). Harvard also has the third-best defense in the country, allowing only 1.48 goals per game (43 goals, 29 games). Brittany Martin is third in the country in save percentage (.943) and Christina Kessler is seventh (.929). The Crimson defense also features U.S. Olympian Caitlin Cahow, who has eight goals and 19 assists. Harvard is second in the country on the power play (26.8 percent) and seventh on the penalty kill (88.7 percent). The Crimson has gone 36 straight games without being shut out.

ECAC Playoff Pairings
Yale finished tied with Clarkson for sixth in the standings but won a tiebreaker to take the sixth seed. Harvard was tied for second with St. Lawrence but lost a tiebreaker to take the third seed. The other playoff matchups feature top seed Dartmouth hosting No. 8 seed RPI, No. 2 seed St. Lawrence hosting No. 7 seed Clarkson and No. 4 seed Princeton hosting No. 5 seed Colgate. The top remaining seed hosts the semifinals and championship next weekend.

Schedule
Game One: Friday, Feb. 23, 3:30 p.m.
Game Two: Saturday, Feb. 24, 2:00 p.m.
Game Three: Sunday, Feb. 25, 2:00 p.m. (if necessary)
All games will be broadcast live on WYBC 1340 AM and www.wybc.com. Alex Jenson '09 will handle the play-by-play.

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