W. HOCKEY | Elis end ’09 with best weekend yet

Goaltender Jackee Snikeris ’11 knew No. 6 Cornell was a force to be reckoned with. But so, it turned out, was Snikeris.

The Eli junior racked up 38 saves against the Big Red to lead the women’s hockey team to a 2–2 tie against the powerhouse squad on Friday night in Ithaca, N.Y. And Snikeris wasn’t done there — she tallied 43 more saves as the Bulldogs (3–8–2, 2–7–1 ECAC) blanked Colgate 3–0 on Saturday in Hamilton, N.Y.

“Jackee Snikiris was just fantastic in net,” head coach Hilary Witt said. “She is amazing — she is a fantastic goaltender, and she played with a tremendous amount of confidence this weekend.”

The Big Red (8–4–2, 7–1–2) struck first on Friday after a scoreless opening 14 minutes, but it took forward Aleca Hughes ’12 only 27 seconds to respond. Hughes won the faceoff and sent a low, blocker-side shot past goaltender Amanda Mazzotta at 14:59.

The teams were still tied 1–1 when the buzzer signaled the end of the first period, with Cornell outshooting Yale 11–8.

And Hughes put her team ahead in the second period.

Hughes and forward Bray Ketchum ’11 capitalized on a 2-on-1 situation at 10:48 when Hughes collected a pass from her teammate and sent the pack past Mazzotta.

Snikeris made another eight saves in the second period to deny the Big Red any additional goals.

“Snik[eris] played unbelievably,” Hughes. “She was so aggressive and just coming up with huge saves … It’s the worst feeling in the world when she holds us in the game and we’re not able to produce offensively. It felt good to be able to provide offense this weekend.”

The Bulldogs almost preserved their win for the remainder of the game, but Cornell’s extra-attacker gamble paid off when forward Melanie Jue scored from near the crease with 13 seconds left in the third period after the home team had its pulled its goalie.

Hughes said the last minute equalizer was disappointing after Yale had led for much of the game, but added that a tie against Cornell — one of the nation’s best teams — was certainly an accomplishment.

The Elis finished the day 3-for-3 in penalty kills, shutting down a Cornell squad that entered the game with the third-best power play conversion rate in the country at 21.3 percent. The Big Red outshot the Bulldogs 40-16 overall.

“They definitely had a lot of shots,” Snikeris said. “But I felt a lot more comfortable and confident because I could see all the shots and the ones I couldn’t see we did a better job blocking.”

The 38 saves Snikeris notched against Cornell marked her best effort of the season up to that point, but she exceeded that tally on Saturday, making 43 saves to lead the Elis to a 3–0 win against the Raiders (4–12–3, 2–5–3).

Ketchum scored a pair in the game and defender Samantha MacLean ’11 added her first goal of the season. The win gave Snikeris her 10th career shutout.

The Elis got on the board right away when Ketchum sent a shot sailing through the goaltender’s legs at 2:25 in the first period.

MacLean scored her goal in the ninth minute of the second period to give the Bulldogs a 2–0 lead.

Snikeris totaled 27 saves during the first two periods to keep Colgate scoreless. One of her best saves came midway through the second period, when she stuck out her stick to foil a shot taken by a wide-open Raider attacker just before the puck crossed the goalline.

Ketchum put the game away on the power play at 8:50 in the third period, using a Colgate defenseman as a screen and sending a low shot into the blocker side of the net.

The tie and win on the road earned the Elis three league points and inched them up from 11th to 10th place in the conference standings.

“It was a big momentum swing for us, and it was a big step for us going forward,” Witt said, adding that the team will continue to practice hard during the winter break. “I think it’s a big confidence boost for us.”

The Bulldogs resume season play Jan. 1, when they take on Northeastern in a non-league contest at 3 p.m. at Ingalls Rink.

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