W. hockey heads to Hamden

With its Olympian on the mend and its goalie back to full strength, the women’s ice hockey team takes to the road in the hopes of clinching a spot in the ECACHL playoffs.

The Bulldogs (12-10-1, 7-8-1 ECACHL) venture from Ingalls Rink for this weekend’s games for the first time since early January, heading about 10 miles north to the Bobcats’ (7-20-1, 4-12) brand-new TD Banknorth Sports Center. Quinnipiac is on a three-game losing streak, and its less-than-impressive record means that this could be a chance for the Elis to pick up some badly-needed league points. With just three weeks and six games to go until the ECAC Quarterfinals, the squad, hanging on at seventh with 15 points, will need to snag every point it can get.

Forward Kelsey Johnson evades Cornell defenders in a 5-1 win over the Big Red at home on Jan. 19.
Chris Young
Forward Kelsey Johnson evades Cornell defenders in a 5-1 win over the Big Red at home on Jan. 19.

“We’re definitely thinking about the quarterfinals,” forward Sheila Zingler ’07 said. “This time of the year is crunch time, where everything we’ve been working on all year starts to come together. Right now we’re fighting for a better [playoff] spot than [our current one], and we’re looking to really make an impact in the last six games of the regular season.”

That kind of impact may be easier to make now that the squad is back to full strength. The Bulldogs have been playing without defender Helen Resor ’09 while she recovered from an injury that has kept her off the ice for the last five games. But last night she said that as far as she knew, she would be back in the rink this weekend.

Goalkeeper Shivon Zilis ’08 was also under the weather last weekend, though that didn’t stop her from saving 50 shots on goal in one game and eking out a shutout in the other. Now, she is feeling much better and is “ready to go,” head coach Hilary Witt said.

Saturday will bring a 4 p.m. match against Princeton (12-9-2, 10-5-1), which, with 21 points, is holding steady at fifth in the ECACHL standings. But the Bulldogs have more motivation than just league points to take down the Tigers, Zingler said.

“Princeton is one of our biggest rivals, and we lost to them earlier in the season,” she said. “We are ready for a little payback.”

The earlier game took the form of a 3-1 loss at the Whale back in November. Looking at the team now, there is no reason that the same thing should happen again, Zilis said.

“Practices have been going well; everyone seems confident,” she said. “There is not a doubt in our minds that we can take both of these games if we play as the team we know we can be.”

The Bulldogs’ recent stellar offensive play speaks to that ability, especially as far as the line of Zingler, Crysti Howser ’09, and Jenna Spring ’07 goes. Together, they have 52 points in the last 11 games.

Defense has not been lacking, either, as Zilis has posted four shutouts in those same 11 games. Furthermore, the senior class has already broken the record for most victories in its four-year career, and the Bulldogs are just four games shy of tying the school record for wins in a season. A list of accomplishments like this makes Witt’s optimism entirely understandable.

“We always have a positive outlook for our games,” she said. “We will be ready to go, [although] both games will be a battle.”

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