With teamwork, speed, and a goalie who has been compared to a Claymation character, the Yale women’s hockey team came out ahead of their once-dominant foes on Saturday.
The Elis (4-3, 3-2 ECAC) powered their way to a 2-1 victory at Brown (0-7, 0-5), snagging only their second win against the Bears in 17 years and proving themselves capable of holding their own even without two key members, Helen Resor ’09 and head coach Hilary Witt, both in Canada as part of Team USA.
Forward Kristin Savard ’07 netted the Bulldogs’ two goals in the first and third periods, triumphing over Brown goalkeeper Stacy Silverman, who finished the night with an impressive 32 saves.
“Kristin played a better game than I’ve seen anyone play all year,” said goalie Shivon Zilis ’08, who finished the game with 19 saves. “I was absolutely dumbfounded by each of her two goals. The first was a deke that must have left the Brown goalie dizzy from all the zigzags, and the second she put top shelf glove side.”
Assists from forwards Sheila Zingler ’07 and Denise Soesilo ’10 gave Savard the opportunities she needed to score. That kind of offensive teamwork and a strong showing by the team as a whole helped propel the Bulldogs to victory, forward Crysti Howser ’09 said.
“It was a good team effort on Saturday,” she said. “Although the team as a whole played pretty well, Kristin epitomized our team’s effort. She got two great passes for both goals and was able to make great finishes on both of them.”
As they have in earlier victories, players emphasized their team’s speed as a key factor in the win. Brown’s ice was also very fast, Zilis said, but that just gave the Bulldogs the chance to use their quickness to even greater advantage.
Although the Elis significantly outshot the Bears, the home team still managed a few serious attempts on the Yale net, beating Zilis once midway through the third period. But Zilis was up to the challenge for most of the night, associate head coach Harry Rosenholtz said, keeping a strong defense even in the most dire situations.
“[Zilis] has cat-like reflexes and can recover from apparently desperate situations in time to make remarkable saves,” he said. “She is also one of the most limber and agile goalies, and there are times she contorts her body in Gumby-like acrobatic fashion in order to keep the puck out of the net.”
Savard also made her mark in defensive play with a shorthanded third-period block that prevented a possible tying shot and kept the Bulldogs ahead until the end of the game. She threw herself down on the ice to block the shot, Rosenholtz said, setting an example for the rest of the team and proving once again why she is captain.
“Kristin epitomizes the kind of player teams search for,” forward Christina Sharun ’07 said. “She makes the best of her scoring opportunities, is not afraid to sacrifice her body to make a play, provides unparalleled leadership, and comes to play every day.”
With Resor and Witt set to return this week from the Four Nations Cup, Sharun said the Bulldogs are proud of the Team USA’s second-place finish as well as their own key victories while their coach and fellow player were gone.
Having beaten Brown for the second time since 1988, the Elis have another achievement to be proud of.
“As I see it, Brown won for the first 18 years,” Zilis said. “Now, it’s our turn to win for the next 18.”