Connecticut Rivals Collide as Yale Hosts Nutmeg Classic

Dec. 21, 2006

NEW HAVEN, Conn. - A 27-day break for exams ends on Friday Dec. 29 with Yale hosting No. 8/9 UConn (3:00 p.m.) as part of the third annual Nutmeg Classic, the tournament that features three Connecticut rivals. The Huskies play at Quinnipiac on Saturday in the second game of the tournament, and Yale then hosts the Bobcats in the final game Sunday Dec. 31 (4:00 p.m.). Friday's game will be on USCHO.com as the Game of the Week (audio and possibly video). Friday and Sunday's games will also be broadcast on WYBC 1340 AM and www.wybc.com. Live stats from each game will also be available via GameTracker on yalebulldogs.com.

The Nutmeg Classic has quickly evolved into a hotly-contested rivalry amongst the three schools. The tournament is designed so that one school hosts two of the three games in the round-robin format, and this marks the first time Yale will be the host. In 2004-05, the Classic's first year, Yale and UConn both defeated Quinnipiac at the Northford Ice Pavilion before the Huskies bested the Bulldogs 2-1 at Ingalls Rink to claim the inaugural championship.

Last season, the opener was played at The Whale and the Bulldogs and Bobcats skated to a 2-2 tie. To determine a winner for tournament purposes a shoot-out was held and Quinnipiac prevailed 2-1. After UConn defeated Yale 3-0, the Bobcats upset the Huskies 3-2 to take the title.

In order for Yale to grab its first Nutmeg championship, the Bulldogs will have to get past two dangerous teams. No. 8/9 UConn is nationally ranked for just the second time in program history and comes to Ingalls with an impressive 11-4-1 record (7-1-1 Hockey East). The Huskies are five wins away from tying the school single-season record.

Jaclyn Hawkins leads the Huskies in scoring (11-9-20) and has seven power-play goals. Natalie Vibert leads the team in assists and is second in scoring (6-10-16). Brittany Wilson has played every minute in goal, posting a .927 save percentage and a 2.06 goals-against average.

Quinnipiac is better than its 5-12-0 (3-8-0 ECAC) record would indicate. Nine of the Bobcats' 12 losses have come against teams currently ranked in the top 10 or receiving votes. The Bulldogs pulled out a 3-1 win over QU at Ingalls Rink Nov. 4 despite being outshot 35-21. Junior goaltender Shivon Zilis (Markham, Ont.) made 34 saves, including 15 in the third period. Senior forward Sheila Zingler (Wausau, Wisc.), freshman forward Mandi Schwartz (Wilcox, Sask.) and freshman forward Denise Soesilo (Hamburg, Germany) scored Yale's goals.

Yale-UConn
The Huskies are one of five teams currently ranked in the top 10 that remain on Yale's schedule. The Bulldogs lead the all-time series 16-9-2, but UConn has won the last four. The Huskies were the opponent in Yale's first varsity game, a 5-2 UConn win on Dec. 3, 1977.

Yale-Quinnipiac
Yale and Quinnipiac first met Dec. 8, 2001, and the Bobcats won two of the first three meetings. Overall, though, Yale has a 7-2-1 advantage in the series and is undefeated in the last seven. When the two teams met earlier this year at Ingalls Rink, junior goaltender Shivon Zilis (Markham, Ont.) made 34 saves to help Yale to a 3-1 win. The teams meet again Feb. 2 at the TD Banknorth Sports Center.

Zingler a Finalist for NCAA Frozen Four Skills Challenge
Senior forward Sheila Zingler (Wausau, Wisc.) has been named a finalist for the East squad at the NCAA Frozen Four Skills Competition. The skills challenge will be held April 6 at the Scottrade Center in St. Louis, the site of the NCAA Frozen Four.

Notes
Yale is entering a stretch that includes nine home games in an 11-game span ... all 10 of sophomore defenseman Helen Resor (Greenwich, Conn.)'s points have come in conference games (2-8-10), placing her second among ECAC blueliners in points per game (1.25) ... head coach Hilary Witt is coaching at USA Hockey's Women's Holiday Camp Dec. 26 to Jan. 2 in Lake Placid, N.Y., but is returning to New Haven to coach Yale's games Dec. 29-31.

Broadcast Links:

  • USCHO.com (Friday, 2:50 p.m. Eastern)
  • WYBC.com (1340 AM, Friday 3:00 p.m. Eastern and Sunday 4:00 p.m. Eastern)

Related Links:

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

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