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Women's Ice Hockey January Recap: Ivy Title Race Coming Into Focus

Sally Butler and Princeton have a crucial pair of Ivy League games this weekend at Dartmouth and Harvard.
Sally Butler and Princeton have a crucial pair of Ivy League games this weekend at Dartmouth and Harvard.

PRINCETON, N.J. -- With January drawing to a close, the Ivy League women’s hockey Championship chase is heating up as all six teams have played at least seven of 10 Ivy League games. Currently, Cornell is in control with 14 points from eight games played.  

Princeton is second with 11 points, also in eight games played. Dartmouth, Harvard, Brown and Yale have all played seven Ivy League games and the Big Green leads that group with nine points.  

Both Princeton and Dartmouth remain in the title hunt as each could reach 15 points in the Ivy League standings. However, those two rivals will square off with a chance to eliminate each other from Ivy contention at 7:00 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 3 in Hanover, N.H. If there is a loser in the Princeton-Dartmouth game, that team would be eliminated from Ivy title contention. If the two teams were to tie, they would remain capable of tying Cornell in the standings but the Big Red would be assured at least a share of the 2012 Ivy League title.  

After playing Dartmouth on Friday, the Tigers take on Harvard at 4:00 p.m. on Saturday afternoon in the weekend’s only other Ivy-Ivy matchup. If Princeton comes away with two wins this weekend or a win versus Dartmouth and a tie to the Crimson, the Ivy title would still be up for grabs. But if Princeton were to defeat Dartmouth and then fall to the Crimson, Cornell would claim the 2012 title in outright fashion.

At 14-2-0, the Big Red are also in the ECAC Hockey lead, followed by second-place Harvard (11-4-1). Dartmouth is tied for third (10-4-2). All three of those squads are currently in the national polls, with Cornell checking in at No. 2 in both the Jan. 31 releases of the poll and the USA Today/USA Hockey Magazine polls. Harvard and Dartmouth are ranked ninth and 10th, respectively, in the poll, while USA Today/USA Hockey Magazine has Harvard eighth and Dartmouth 10th.

In Ivy games only, the Cornell duo of freshman forward Jillian Saulnier (six goals, four assists) and senior forward Catherine White (four goals, six assists) are tied for the League lead in points with 10. Saulnier’s six goals are tied for the Ivy lead with Dartmouth senior forward Kelly Foley, while Cornell sophomore forward Brianne Jenner leads in assists with seven. In net, Princeton senior Rachel Weber has the top mark in goals against average (0.87) and save percentage (.969).

Aside from chasing the Ivy title, the teams enter February jockeying for position in the ECAC Hockey standings as the 2012 Tournament draws closer. The top-eight teams will make the tournament and play best-of-three quarterfinals series at campus sites as determined by the higher seeds the weekend of Feb. 24-26. The semifinals and championship games will then take place the following weekend on March 2 and 3.


The Bears are fifth in the Ivy standings (2-5-0) and tied for eighth in ECAC Hockey (4-8-4) … Brown is 2-2-1 over its last five games and went 3-4-2 overall in the month of January … most recently, the Bears dropped home games to Dartmouth (3-1) and Harvard (3-0) on Jan. 27 and 28 … Brown is back in action on Feb. 3 and 4 when it makes a two-game road trip to play at ECAC foes Clarkson and St. Lawrence.

The Big Red lead the Ivy League (7-1-0) and ECAC Hockey (14-2-0) standings and are ranked second in the nation … Cornell went 9-1 in January, with the lone loss coming at Clarkson on Jan. 28 by the score of 5-3 … the night before, Cornell snapped St. Lawrence’s nine-game winning streak with a 6-4 victory for its ninth-straight win … Cornell plays host to ECAC foes Rensselaer and Union this weekend.

The Big Green is third in the Ivy League (4-2-1) and in ECAC Hockey (10-4-2) … coming off a weekend sweep of Brown (3-1) and Yale (6-0) on Jan. 27 and 28, the Big Green closed out the month with an impressive 8-1-1 record … Dartmouth’s lone loss was a 1-0 overtime game that then third-ranked Cornell won … dating back to Dec. 11, Dartmouth has won nine of its last 11 games (9-1-1) … the Big Green hosts Princeton in a an important Ivy League showdown at 7:00 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 3, and then Quinnipiac at 4:00 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 4.

The Crimson is fourth in the Ivy standings (3-4-0) and second in ECAC Hockey (11-4-1) … Harvard went 6-3-1 in January including winning three of its last four games … most recently though, Harvard dropped a 5-2 decision at Boston Univ. on Jan. 31 in the first round of the Beanpot … the Crimson offense has come alive as of late and averaged over four goals a game over its last four contests (4.25) … Harvard plays host to Quinnipiac and Princeton on Feb. 3 and 4.
The Tigers are second in the Ivy standings (5-2-1) and seventh in ECAC Hockey (7-7-2) … Princeton went 3-1-1 in the month of January … the Tigers closed out the month with a 3-2 home win over Robert Morris on Monday night … freshman defenseman Ali Pankowski scored the game-winning goal in the second period and senior Rachel Weber made 22 saves in net to lead Princeton … the Tigers play an important Ivy set of games this weekend at Dartmouth on Feb. 3 and at Harvard on Feb. 4.
The Bulldogs are sixth in the Ivy League (0-7-0) and 12th in ECAC Hockey (1-15-0) … senior goaltender Genny Ladiges has made 40 or more saves five times in the last seven games for Yale … the Bulldogs are looking to snap a 16-game losing streak at St. Lawrence and Clarkson this weekend on Feb. 3 and 4.