January 16th, 2010 | Uncategorized

W. HOCKEY | Elis one step closer to playoff spot

Caroline Murphy '10 makes a game-winning goal against the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in the last 33 seconds of Saturday's game.
Caroline Murphy '10 makes a game-winning goal against the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in the last 33 seconds of Saturday's game. Photo by Alison Griswold.

The Yale women’s hockey team (6–10–3, 4–7–1 ECAC) jumped to a three-way tie for eighth place in the ECAC — the last spot that qualifies for a Tournament seed — with wins this weekend against Union and Rensselaer.

Defender Samantha MacLean ’11 scored the game-winning goal against the Engineers with 33 seconds left on the clock. RPI goaltender Sonja Van der Bliek bobbled the puck inside the crease and players on both sides scrambled to recover possession, but MacLean got there first — poking it through and into the net and bringing her team to the 4–3 final. It was MacLean’s first goal this season.

“Sam is the ultimate gamer,” coach Hilary Witt said. “She’s not flashy, but she just does the little things you have to do to be successful.”

Yale took control first in Saturday’s contest when forward Aleca Hughes ’12 capitalized at 13:55 in the first period. The Engineers equalized less than five minutes later, but Eli forward Becky Mantell ’12 stuck again at 19:01 to put her team on top heading into the second period.

Both RPI and Yale scored in the second stanza — with forward Bray Ketchum ’11 taking advantage of a power play at 4:41 to notch her goal. The Elis held their 3–2 lead for most of the third period, but RPI’s Clare Padmore one-timed a shot past goaltender Jackee Snkikeris ’11 with only a minute and a half left to tie the game at three.

It looked like the game would head into overtime, but MacLean and the Bulldogs reclaimed the momentum in the final minute to score the tie-breaking and game-winning goal.

The Elis also defeated Union 3–0 on Friday, earning them two points this weekend and tying them with Colgate and Dartmouth — who each have nine points — for eighth place in the league standings.

“It feels good to know we really have a chance,” Witt said. “It makes me feel confident these kids will continue to battle for a playoff spot.”