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The Power of Two

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Courtesy: Sam Rubin, Yale Sports Publicity

NEW HAVEN, Conn. - It was the spring of 2004, and defenseman Ann-Renée Guillemette had just seen her team's bid to make the finals at the Ontario Women's Hockey Association provincials derailed by a shutout at the hands of the Aurora Panthers. As Guillemette recalled, "that long-haired goalie" for Aurora had cost her a shot at the finals. And then Guillemette's mother, Carmen, provided a twist to the story: that long-haired goalie was coming to Yale, and she and Guillemette were about to become teammates.

Thus the two members of the Yale women's hockey Class of 2008 received their informal introduction. Now, four years later, Guillemette and Shivon Zilis enter the final stage of their careers as close friends and key parts of the turnaround that Yale has accomplished during their careers.

"We hit it off pretty well," Guillemette recalled. "Our class was really small. Shivon and I bonded."

The two had much in common, starting with the fact that they came from Ontario (Zilis is from Markham, Guillemette is from North Bay).

"It's been really rewarding to have Ann here in the sense that we have the same basic heritage," Zilis said. "We're both from Ontario and have grown up with an extreme love for hockey. Things change so drastically when you come to the States and come to college. It's been very grounding ... I always have Ann to remind me of my heritage."

The two knew what they were signing up for. The Bulldogs had struggled on the ice in previous seasons, losing 20 games seven times between 1994-95 and 2002-03.

"The greatest challenge is to turn a team that is below.500 into a winning team," Zilis said. "I was really excited to come to Yale at a time when the program seemed to hit a turning point."

To read the rest of Sam Rubin's feature, in its entirety, please click here.