The women’s hockey team has won five of its last six games, with the latest two victories coming during an exciting home-and-home series against Brown that included an overtime victory against the Bears on the road and a new Yale record.
Goaltender Jackee Snikeris ’11 notched her record-breaking 13th career shutout as the Bulldogs (9–11–3, 7–8–1 ECAC) defeated the Bears (2–16–4, 0–13–3) 3–0 at Ingalls Rink but needed an extra three minutes of overtime to claim a 3–2 victory on the road.
The two wins bring Yale’s record to 7–8–1 in the ECAC, good enough for eighth place and the final league playoff spot.
Snikeris was busy early on Saturday, making 12 saves in the first period including a glove save in traffic. The Elis’ high-scoring duo of forwards Bray Ketchum ’11 and Aleca Hughes ’12 notched a pair of goals in the first four minutes of the second frame to take control of the game.
Ketchum netted a deflected shot from defenseman Samantha MacLean ’11 at 1:34 and assisted Hughes from behind the net a minute and a half later.
Forward Caroline Murphy ’10 sealed the victory for the Bulldogs with an early score in the third period.
“I feel like we’ve been coming together a lot lately,” forward Jen Matichuk ’13 said. “The coach has made some changes with lines recently and I feel like that really helped.”
Snikeris fended off three Brown power plays in the game and racked up 30 saves to secure the shutout. The junior had been tied with Sarah Love ’06 for the Yale career record prior to the game. It took just 49 games for Snikeris to surpass Love, whose 12 shutouts came over the course of 113 games.
“That was great,” head coach Hilary Witt said of Snikeris’ record. “It’s well deserved. It was such a big game for us and that was just the icing on the cake. For her to break that record in so few games played was just incredible.”
Coming off the big win, the Elis headed to Providence, R.I., for the second leg of the home-and-home series on Sunday. In a back-and-forth contest, the two teams found themselves tied 2–2 at the end of the third period, meaning that a five-minute sudden-death overtime period was needed to decide the outcome of the game. Hughes scored with two minutes remaining in overtime to prevent the scrappy Bears from earning their first conference victory of the season.
“It’s always tough playing a team back-to back,” forward Alyssa Zupon ’13 said. “They can get adjusted to our style and it’s hard to stay focused and get pumped up for the same opponent. It’s easy to become complacent [against] a team you’ve just beaten.”
Things started out promising for the Bulldogs when Murphy, the team’s third-best scorer, put one away against Brown goalie Katie Jamieson on the power play. She raced onto the ice after a line change and picked up a loose puck to score her seventh goal of the season.
The Bears responded quickly with a goal of their own on the man-advantage as forward Erica Kromm notched her third goal on the season and team-leading eighth point at 14:07.
Zupon scored the third goal of her collegiate career with less than two minutes remaining in the frame to put the Elis back on top heading into the intermission.
Brown made the best of its 11–10 shot advantage during the second period with a power play goal with three minutes remaining on the clock to even the score for the second time.
The third period was scoreless but both teams played with heightened intensity as they sought to break the tie. Solid efforts from Jamieson and Snikeris — who stopped 10 and 12 shots during the period, respectively— kept the score knotted at two at the end of regulation.
Brown almost ended the game early on in overtime when the Bears almost capitalized on a loose puck after an initial save by Snikeris on Katelyn Landry. But it was Hughes who won the game for the Elis as she scored her ninth goal of the season with just two minutes remaining on the clock on a shot that bounced around in front of the net before sneaking under Jamieson’s left leg.
“We just needed to get the puck to the net and crash and do whatever it took,” Zupon said of the goal. “Everyone was crashing the net and everyone was just whacking at anything they could see.”
Hughes’ game-winner sent the Bulldogs back to New Haven with a three-game winning streak heading into a tough weekend against Dartmouth and the ECAC’s third-place team, rival Harvard.
“Hopefully we can keep up this winning habit,” Matichuk added. “We’ve been working hard in practice and that definitely goes into games.”
The Bulldogs take the ice against the Big Green in Hanover, N.H., on Feb. 5 at 7 p.m.