NEW HAVEN, Conn. – Conference play starts in earnest for the Yale women's ice hockey team this weekend at Ingalls Rink, as two of the top teams in ECAC Hockey visit. On Friday night it's No. 4/5 Quinnipiac (6:00 p.m., Ivy League Digital Network) and on Saturday it's No. 9 Princeton (3:00 p.m., Ivy League Digital Network). Both teams played in the NCAA Tournament last season, and Quinnipiac won the ECAC Hockey Championship while Princeton won the Ivy League Championship.
SEASON OFF TO GOOD START
Yale (2-0-0, 0-0-0 ECAC Hockey) got the regular season off to a good start last weekend with a sweep of RIT at Ingalls Rink, outscoring the Tigers 12-3. Senior goaltender Hanna Mandl (Nobleton, Ont.) took a shutout into the third period each day, and allowed only one goal at even strength all weekend. A total of 15 players had points, led by five points each from senior defenseman Taylor Marchin (Algonac, Mich.) (2-3-5) and senior forward Krista Yip-Chuck (Whitby, Ont.) (2-3-5). Three players scored their first career goal: freshman forward Laura Anderson (Lino Lakes, Minn.), freshman forward Kirsten Nergaard (Stamford, Conn.) and sophomore forward Emma Vlasic (Wilmette, Ill.).
Thanks to the offensive outburst, Yale enters this weekend second in the nation in scoring offense (6.00 goals per game).
POWER PLAY STARTS STRONG
Yale converted three of 11 power play opportunities on opening weekend (.273). That puts the Bulldogs fourth in the nation on the man advantage. The Bulldogs' power play goals came from senior defenseman Taylor Marchin (Algonac, Mich.), senior forward Phoebe Staenz (Zürich, Switzerland) and sophomore defenseman Julia Yetman (Pierrefond, Qué.).
Five of the Yale's top seven scorers from last season return, including the top two scorers: junior defenseman Mallory Souliotis (Acton, Mass.) (4-21-25) and junior forward Eden Murray (Medicine Hat, Alta.) (7-16-23). The Bulldogs lost their No. 3 scorer, forward Janelle Ferrara '16, to graduation, but scorer No. 4 is back: senior forward Krista Yip-Chuck (Whitby, Ont.) (5-15-20). All told, players who return accounted for 42 of 71 goals (59 percent) and 93 of 117 assists (79 percent) from last season.
SOULIOTIS SEEKS TO BUILD OFF BREAKTHROUGH SEASON
Junior defenseman Mallory Souliotis (Acton, Mass.) is coming off a breakthrough season in which she led the team in scoring (4-21-25). That was a remarkable a 16-point improvement over her total from the previous year, and her assist total placed her third on Yale's single-season assists list. Souliotis earned second team All-Ivy League honors.
MURRAY A RISING STAR FOR YALE AND CANADA
Junior forward Eden Murray (Medicine Hat, Alta.) finished second on Yale in points last season (7-16-23) and followed that up this past summer by earning an invitation to Hockey Canada's National Team Development Camp for the fourth year in a row. Murray, who established career highs in all three scoring categories, was an honorable mention All-Ivy League selection. She is the younger sister of Yale defenseman Madi Murray '15, and has two other sisters who played at the collegiate level as well: Kelly Murray was a defenseman for Cornell and Logan Murray was a forward for McGill.
YIP-CHUCK CAPTAINS BULLDOGS
Senior forward Krista Yip-Chuck (Whitby, Ont.) was fourth on the team in scoring (5-15-20) last season, and extended her streak of consecutive games played to 92. Last spring the team voted her captain, a role which reflects her leadership both on and off the ice. She established a career high in assists last season while earning ECAC Hockey All-Academic honors for the second time.
STAENZ BRINGS INTERNATIONAL EXPERIENCE
Yale's resident Olympic bronze medalist is senior forward Phoebe Staenz (Zürich, Switzerland), who scored the game-tying goal in Switzerland's come-from-behind 4-3 win over Sweden for the bronze medal at the 2014 Olympics. At Yale, Staenz has been an impact player throughout her career despite missing multiple games while playing for the Swiss National Team. She tied for second on the Bulldogs in goals last season with nine, and was fifth in points with 17. She needs 25 points this season to become one of four players in Yale history with 100 or more career points.
MANDL RETURNS TO THE CREASE
Senior goaltender Hanna Mandl (Nobleton, Ont.) enters this season with a year of starting experience, after having spent her first two seasons as a backup to record-setting netminder Jaimie Leonoff '15. Mandl started 27 of the 29 games last season and made 30 or more saves in a game six times. She posted a save percentage of .897 and had a 2.93 goals-against average.
CLASS OF 2020
Yale welcomes five freshmen to the roster for 2016-17. The Class of 2020 includes three forwards, two defensemen and one goalie. The group includes three Americans and three Canadians.
The incoming freshmen have had many accomplishments on the ice, including one who won a silver medal playing for Canada's Under-18 team at the IIHF U18 Championship (defenseman Saroya Tinker (Oshawa, Ont.)) and another who was part of four straight trips to the National Tournament by the Mid Fairfield Stars (defenseman Kate Tewksbury (New York, N.Y.)). They have served in leadership roles, with five having been captains or assistant captains of teams. One was a semi-finalist for the prestigious Minnesota Ms. Hockey Award -- forward Laura Anderson (Lino Lakes, Minn.).
The incoming freshmen have also been recognized for their work in other fields, including one who earned honorable mention in the short story category from Scholastic Arts and Writing (goaltender Tera Hofmann (Toronto, Ont.)). They have also taken on significant projects such as inventing a product and bringing it to market (forward Kirsten Nergaard (Stamford, Conn.) and the "Kick-it Trainer").
The members of the Class of 2020 have been active in their communities as well -- for example, forward Sophie Veronneau (Ottawa, Ont.) has volunteered with both Do it for Daron (raising awareness of youth mental health issues) and at the at the Centretown Emergency Food Centre in Ottawa.
Yale routinely has some of the best teams in the country on its schedule, and that remains the case in 2016-17. The Bulldogs will play three of the eight teams that participated in the 2016 NCAA Tournament. The schedule also includes the 13th annual Nutmeg Classic tournament, which takes place at Quinnipiac Nov. 25-26.
The ECAC Hockey playoffs, which determine the recipient of the league's automatic berth in the NCAA Tournament, start Feb. 24. The top four teams in the regular season standings host teams five through eight in the best-of-three quarterfinal series. The ECAC Hockey semifinals and championship are held the following weekend. The NCAA Tournament selections get announced Mar. 5 and the NCAAs start Mar. 10. The NCAA Frozen Four is in St. Charles, Mo., Mar. 17 and 19.
Quinnipiac (5-2-1, 0-0-0 ECAC Hockey) has gone 1-2-1 since starting the season 4-0-0. The Bobcats won the ECAC Hockey Championship for the first time last season, and also won the ECAC Hockey Tournament to clinch a berth in the NCAAs. They enter this weekend fourth in the nation in scoring defense (1.38 goals per game) and were second in that category last season (0.92 goals per game). Forward Taylar Cianfarano, the reigning ECAC Hockey Player of the Year, leads the team in scoring (6-3-9). She is a two-time silver medalist with the US Under-18 team at the IIHF World Championships.
Yale was one of only three teams to beat QU last year, topping the Bobcats 4-3 Oct. 31.
Princeton (2-0-0, 0-0-0 ECAC Hockey) started its season with a road sweep at Providence last weekend, outscoring the Friars 11-5. Eight different Tigers scored goals, and forward Molly Contini led the team in points (3-2-5). Taking over in goal for the graduated Kimberly Newell (a first team All-Ivy League honoree last year), Alysia DaSilva has posted a .907 save percentage.
The Tigers play at Brown Friday night before coming to Ingalls Rink.