Nov. 22, 2006
NEW HAVEN, Conn. - The first 18 times they faced the Northeastern Huskies, the Yale Bulldogs endured losses each time. Scores such as 6-1 were commonplace as the Huskies outscored Yale 101-13 during that stretch. Then last year, with a former Husky at the helm, the Bulldogs broke through for their first victory in the series. On Saturday, they will try to turn that victory into a winning streak when they travel to Matthews Arena for a 2 p.m. game.
Yale head coach Hilary Witt was a player at Northeastern for eight of those Husky victories from 1996 through 2000. A member of the Northeastern Hall of Fame, Witt still holds the school record for career goals (113) and points (208). Since she took over as head coach of the Bulldogs in 2002-03 Yale has set about ending several onerous losing streaks, including a 41-gamer vs. Dartmouth (ended with a 1-0 win Feb. 3, 2006), a 39-gamer vs. Harvard (ended with a 3-2 win Nov. 12, 2004) and a 35-gamer vs. Brown (ended with a 3-3 tie Jan. 28, 2005). Now, Yale (4-5-0, 3-4-0 ECAC) is trying to build winning streaks in each of those series, and Saturday represents the Bulldogs' first game vs. the Huskies since that historic 3-0 win Jan. 7.
Three different Bulldogs -- senior forward Jenna Spring (Cranbrook, B.C.), sophomore forward Crysti Howser (Wilmette, Ill.) and forward Deena Caplette '06 -- scored in that game, and junior goaltender Shivon Zilis (Markham, Ont.) made 16 saves for the shutout. The Bulldogs held the Huskies scoreless on six power-play opportunities, a level of penalty killing they have yet to achieve consistently this year. Half of the 24 goals Yale has allowed this season have come on opponent power plays.
Northeastern (2-10-1, 1-6-1 Hockey East) is in the midst of a rebuilding job of its own under head coach Laura Schuler, a 1994 NU grad. The Huskies won only three games in Schuler's first year on the job, 2004-05, but improved that total to eight last year. Freshmen have accounted for 14 of NU's 32 goals this year, including seven from leading scorer Chelsey Jones (7-7-14). Of the three players who have seen time in goal, Sarah Belliveau has played the most minutes and has a .874 save percentage.