January 19, 2007

Women’s Hockey Hopes to Snap Skid Against Ivy Foes

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The women’s hockey team will take a road trip through Connecticut and Rhode Island this weekend looking to end a five-game losing streak, as the Red will face Yale tonight before stepping onto the ice against Brown tomorrow.

Yale started the season losing three of its first five games while Brown didn’t earn a victory until its eighth game of the campaign. But recently, both squads have been playing their best hockey.

Yale (10-8-0, 6-7-0 ECACHL) comes into its game against Cornell on a hot streak, having won five out of its last six games, including an upset victory, 3-0, against UConn at the Nutmeg Classic. The Huskies were a top-10 team at the time.

On offense, Yale is led by senior forward Sheila Zingler, who has recorded eight assists and a team-high eight goals this season. Zingler also recorded a hat trick in last weekend’s 5-1 victory over Clarkson. Sophomore forward Crysti Howser has also enjoyed a stellar season, picking up seven goals and nine assists, tying her with Zingler for the team lead in points with 16. Junior goalie Shivon Zilis has started most of the Bulldogs’ games in goal this season, recording a .905 save percentage with a 2.68 goals against average.

“Yale is a really fast team,” said head coach Doug Derraugh ’91. “They put a lot of pressure on your team and they forecheck real hard, so you really have to get the puck back quickly.”

Tonight’s contest against Yale will be the Red’s (2-16-1, 2-11-0) first chance to snap a five-game losing streak as it hits the road against their Ivy League foes.

“Our power play has struggled lately and we want to get that better,” Derraugh said. “We have recently worked on our defensive zone coverage as well.”

Yale beat Cornell, 4-1, earlier this season at Lynah Rink, with the Red’s lone goal netted by junior forward Brianne Schmidt. Bulldogs sophomore defenseman Helen Resor notched a goal and two assists to lead Yale. Resor is Yale’s first women’s hockey player to be selected to the U.S. Olympic team — earning a bronze medal during the 2006 Olympics in Torino.

“Yale got a lot of pressure on us [earlier this season] and we want to try and eliminate that this time,” Derraugh said. “[Resor] scored the game-winner against us at Cornell at the start of the year so we want to keep her in check.”

Brown (5-12-2, 2-10-1) has also been hot lately, going 4-1-1 over its last six games. The Bears are led by junior forward Hayley Moore, whose 13 goals rank seventh in the ECACHL. Freshman defenseman/forward Andrea Hunter leads the team with 11 assists. Brown has also relied on the strong play of sophomore goalie Nicole Stock. Stock has recorded a 2.75 goals against average and a .912 save percentage this season. Her save percentage ranks fifth in the league. Coaching the Bears is Digit Murphy ’83. Murphy posted her 293rd victory earlier this season, making her the winningest coach in Division I women’s hockey history.

“Brown has struggled quite a bit but they have played well recently,” Derraugh said. “They have won a couple of big games that they weren’t expected to win and they now have some players back that they didn’t have.”

The Red beat Brown earlier in the season by a score of 3-2. In that game, freshman forward Rebecca Flewelling scored the first two goals of her career. Junior forward Brittany Forgues also notched a goal for the Red.

“I think we match up well against Brown and I expect a close, hard-fought game,” Derraugh said. “They are very physical and you have to battle through the checks to beat them.”