Scoring first has been the key for the Yale women’s hockey team all season, and Tuesday night was no exception.

When Jenna Ciotti ’14 tallied her second goal in two games just 61 seconds into the first period at Brown Tuesday night, she and the Bulldogs were well on their way to a crucial conference win. Following Ciotti’s goal, Yale (6–14–2, 5–9–1 ECAC) got three more, one of their best offensive outputs of the season, and combined that with 32 saves from Jackee Snikeris ’11 to move to defeat the Bears (2–17–3, 1–11–3), 4–0.

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“Snik is by far the best goalie in our league.” Bray Ketchum ’11 said. “We know she is going to perform her best every game. It was nice to see her finally get rewarded last night for a shutout.”

The shutout was Snikeris’ 14th career blank slate – improving on her own Yale record – and the senior has made 30-plus saves in five of her last six contests. Her hot play came in handy just after Ciotti’s goal as the Bulldogs committed back-to-back penalties and needed some clutch saves to keep their lead. A few minutes after killing the second penalty, however, Bray Ketchum ’11 set up Jackie Raines ’14 for Yale’s second goal.

The Bulldogs weren’t done scoring in the first, though. Heather Grant ’12 fired a slap shot on Brown’s net, which was deflected by Brown goalie Katie Jamieson. But Ketchum picked up the rebound, lit the lamp and extended Yale’s lead to three.

Thanks to some big defensive plays from not only Snikeris, but also the Yale penalty kill unit, the Bulldogs maintained that three-goal lead heading to the third. In 5:32 of the third frame, Raines upped that lead to four, capitalizing on a turnover in the Brown zone with her second goal of the game.

Raines’ three-point performance pushes her to 14 on the season, three behind Yale’s leader, Ketchum (17). Ciotti’s seven points are good for fifth on the team, meaning that the Bulldogs have two freshmen among their top five scorers. Alyssa Zupon ’13 and Aleca Hughes ’12, who had two goals in a loss to Harvard Saturday, round out the top five.

“It’s nice to see the second line really stepping up.” Ketchum said of Raines, Ciotti, and Danny Moncion ’13. “They’ve been working hard and using their speed to generate offense. They are a very talented line and we need them to score goals to be successful.”

The win keeps Yale in the hunt for the eighth and final ECAC playoff spot, just three points behind St. Lawrence, which currently holds it. The Bulldogs play Union and RPI this weekend, and as the Dutchwomen are one of two teams behind Yale in the ECAC standings, the Bulldogs need a big weekend as they head into the last stretch of the season.