DHD Goalie Instructor Leonoff Plays Key Role in Yale Victory
Photo by Sam Rubin
It's always exciting for me to read about my goalies getting shutouts! Especially when it results in an upset win. Congrats Jaimie Leonoff and the rest of the Yale Bulldogs. Good luck in the playoffs!
Bulldogs Upset No. 5 Quinnipiac Behind 37 Saves by Leonoff
NEW HAVEN, Conn. - In the final weekend of the regular season and with the playoffs around the corner, the Yale women's ice hockey team just showed that it is peaking at the right time. Behind 37 saves from senior goaltender Jaimie Leonoff and a pair of goals from sophomore forward Krista Yip-Chuck, the Bulldogs knocked off No. 5 Quinnipiac for their fourth win in a row. Yale thus eliminated the Bobcats -- who entered the day tied for second in the standings -- from contention for the ECAC Hockey regular season championship in the process.
"This was a great team win," said Yale head coach Joakim Flygh. "Great goaltending, the defense played well and we found ways to score goals, which is important this time of year. We haven't won a game in this fashion -- getting outshot but finding ways to score -- all year."
Yale (14-13-1, 11-10-0 ECAC Hockey) took a 1-0 lead in the first thanks to a beautiful set-up from junior forward Hanna Åström, who deked her way past a defender in the right circle and got a shot on net that Quinnipiac netminder Chelsea Laden could not control. Yip-Chuck was right in front of the net and knocked in the loose puck at the 13 minute mark.
The Bulldogs killed off the lone penalty of the first late in the period and headed into intermission with the lead. Late in the second, they extended it. This one came on another great set-up. Åström left the puck behind the net for sophomore forward Phoebe Staenz, who rifled a perfectly-placed pass to Yip-Chuck for a one-timer that beat Laden on her stick side.
"Hopefully Krista is starting to get hot at the right time," said Flygh, noting that Yip-Chuck also scored a goal last weekend.
Laden (17 saves) made one of her best stops of the night to stop a shot by senior forward Jackie Raines in the final moments of the second, and immediately after that the Bulldogs' defense came up big. With a minute to play, Leonoff stopped a shot but the rebound popped up dangerously close to the crease. Senior defenseman Aurora Kennedy, Yale's captain, grabbed the puck out of the air and set it down off to the side of the net so that she could skate away with it safely.
"Quinnipiac had us on our heels in the second period," said Flygh. "Jaimie Leonoff made some great saves, and we did a great job clearing the puck. We had a decent push-back in the third."
Any chance of a comeback by Quinnipiac (23-7-3, 14-5-2 ECAC Hockey) dimmed very early in the third thanks to a goal by Åström at 4:09, assisted by junior defenseman Kate Martini and sophomore forward Gretchen Tarrant. A penalty on Staenz at 9:18 gave the Bobcats their third power play, but they came up empty. Shortly after that penalty ended Leonoff covered up a dangerous loose puck in the crease after a save on forward Erica Uden Johansson.
The Bobcats got another power play in the final three minutes but Leonoff reacted quickly with the blocker to turn aside a wrister by forward Nicole Connery.
"I didn't like how we killed in the first," said Flygh. "We were too passive. We did a much better job in the third. We took away time and space."
Yale had lost the two previous meetings between these teams earlier this season, 5-2 at the Nutmeg Classic in November and 4-1 in January. The Bulldogs host Princeton in the regular season finale Saturday afternoon.
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