The Yale women’s ice hockey team’s push for the playoffs came up just short.
After a clutch 1–0 win Friday night against Quinnipiac, the Bulldogs fell to Princeton 4–1 on Saturday in a game they needed to win in order to secure the final playoff spot. The game was the final one for four Yale seniors, forward Bray Ketchum ’11, captain Sam MacLean ’11, forward Lili Rudis ’11, and goalie Jackee Snikeris ’11, and it was an especially tough one to swallow as the team came just one point from extending its season. The Elis were in a three-way tie for eighth place after Saturday’s loss, but RPI came out on top of the tie break for the last ECAC tournament berth.
“What stands out to me about the senior class is their grit, determination and commitment,” forward Lauren Davis ’12 said. “They have been through so much over the past four years, and they have always stood tall and been able to tough it out.”
Friday night’s game was the third meeting between the Bobcats and Bulldogs this season. Quinnipiac had taken the first two meetings — both in Hamden — by scores of 2–1 and 3–1, outshooting Yale by a combined 74–26 in those games.
QPac still outshot Yale on Friday night, but the Bulldogs were still able to keep the Bobcats off the scoreboard. Snikeris’s 35 saves, some huge clears from Yale defenders on Quinnipiac chances, and an assist or two from the goalposts kept the game scoreless until late in the third. It was then that MacLean fired a shot from the point that was deflected by forward Ashley Dunbar ’14 up and over the Bobcat’s standout goalie Victoria Vigilante to not only give the Bulldogs a 1–0 lead with five minutes to go, but also to tally her first career goal.
Yale held on in the last five minutes, sending itself into Saturday with a chance at the playoffs if it could take down a Princeton team that it defeated 3–1 earlier in the season — but also a team that had gone 12–2 since that game.
The Tigers got on the board first with a fluke goal on a shot from the point from forward Sally Butler that just snuck past Snikeris and into Yale’s net. But with less than two minutes to go in the period, defenseman Heather Grant ’12 threw a shot on Princeton’s net that snuck out to forward Danny Moncion ’13 who stuffed it in to tie things up heading into the second.
But Princeton came out strong in the second frame, scoring just 41 seconds into the period to take a lead they would not relinquish. The Tigers would add two more goals, one in the second and one in the third, to send Yale home with a tough loss.
The seniors will leave behind a strong statistical legacy. Ketchum, in addition to a number of ECAC accolades, accumulated 40 goals and 44 assists in four years, leaving her in Yale’s all-time top 12 in goals, assists, and points scored. Captain MacLean played 116 straight games — every single game of her career. Snikeris will leave with the single-season goals against average record (1.67 in 2008-’09) and the career shutouts record (16), to go along with multiple ECAC Hockey first-team selections.
Those seniors may be remembered more for what they brought off the ice than on it, their teammates said.
“Although our record may not always indicate it, the senior class has brought significant strides to the program,” junior goalie Genny Ladiges said of the class of 2011. “They’ve built a legacy of passion, hard work, integrity and competiveness that remains the cornerstone of YWIH and will no doubt be recognized as the turning point in the program someday in the future.”
Ladiges and classmates Grant, and forwards Lauren Davis ’12 and Aleca Hughes ’12 will lead the Bulldogs to that future. The Bulldogs still retain two of their top three point-scorers, freshmen Jackie Raines ’14, 19 points, and Jenna Ciotti ’14, 15 points. Raines and Ciotti tied for second in goals with nine apiece behind Hughes, who lit the lamp ten times to lead the Bulldogs in that category. Ketchum’s 12 assists were tops on the team. Snikeris finished second in the ECAC with a .940 save percentage.