White Out for Mandi a Success, but Game Goes to Princeton

NEW HAVEN, Conn. – The Yale women's ice hockey team had the inspiration, but Princeton had the scoring punch Friday night at Ingalls Rink for the second annual "White Out for Mandi". With donations still coming in, the Bulldogs raised at least $18,000 for the Mandi Schwartz Foundation and brought hundreds of fans out to The Whale, but in the end the Tigers came away with a 5-1 win. Freshman goalie Jaimie Leonoff made 42 saves, and senior defenseman Heather Grant scored Yale's lone goal.

The night, in memory of Mandi Schwartz '10 (1988-2011) and her courageous battle with cancer, began with former Bulldog Denise Soesilo '10 addressing the crowd in a special pregame ceremony that also included a ceremonial puck drop from Giana, the 10-year-old brain tumor survivor that the team adopted at last year's "White Out for Mandi". The National Anthem was sung by sophomore forward Patricia McGauley, who is from the same home town (Wilcox, Sask.) and high school (Athol Murray College of Notre Dame) as Mandi.

Both teams struggled to get any offense going in the early stages, as Yale did not get its second shot on goal until halfway through the first period. Princeton broke on top on a goal by forward Denna Laing at 15:43.

Yale nearly tied it less than a minute later, but sophomore forward Jackie Raines' wrister sailed just past the far post. A Bulldog power play at the end of the period saw a couple of slap shots from freshman defenseman Madi Murray, including one that junior forward Danielle Moncion nearly deflected in. Senior forward Lauren Davis also set up Grant for a slapper, but nothing got past Princeton goalie Rachel Weber.

A pair of penalties in the first six minutes of the second kept Yale on the defensive, and though Leonoff made a series of glove saves on the second one it came to a frustrating end as a puck deflected in over her glove just a second after the penalty expired. Princeton defenseman Brianne Mahoney got credit for the goal.

A pair of chances for Yale to get right back in the game went by the wayside midway through the second, as Raines missed a deflection attempt on a pass from junior forward Alyssa Zupon and sophomore forward Paige Decker's wraparound try was denied.

Raines almost knocked in a rebound with eight minutes left in the second, and right after that a Princeton penalty gave the Bulldogs their second power play. Moncion just missed deflecting in a pass from freshman forward Lynn Kennedy, and after that power play ended the Bulldogs got another one with 5:12 left. Raines spun off her defender in the right circle but sent a wrister wide, and Murray sent a shot wide as well. After killing off the penalty, the Tigers increased their lead to 3-0 on a goal by forward Brianna Leahy at 17:06.

Zupon's diving effort to knock in a puck three minutes into the third went high, and shortly after that Laing knocked in a rebound to make it 4-0 Tigers. Weber made a save on a tricky backhander in front by senior forward Aleca Hughes, and a series of penalties midway through the period then turned the game over to special teams. That ultimately led to a power play goal by forward Danielle DiCesare at 12:15 to make it 5-0.

Leonoff continued to make some great saves, kicking away a shot by forward Paula Romanchuk from point-blank range after the Bulldogs turned the puck over in their own zone. After calling timeout with 2:49 to play, the Bulldogs had an extended possession in the Tiger zone during a delayed penalty on Princeton and were finally able to take advantage of it when Kennedy got the puck to Hughes low in the left circle. She sent it back up top to Grant for a slapper that got blocked in front but trickled in behind Weber at the left post.

That provided a positive finish to a night that was about more than just a hockey game. After the second intermission the Bulldogs finished off a silent auction of memorabilia that included items such as an Alex Ovechkin hat and a stick autographed by the 2011 Stanley Cup champion Boston Bruins. The Yale Youth Hockey U-12 girls' hockey team was also on hand selling cupcakes to raise money, and those efforts, combined with the "White Out for Mandi" t-shirt sales and other donations, left the evening's final donation total for the Mandi Schwartz Foundation at $18,000 and counting.

Yale hosts Quinnipiac Saturday afternoon in the final game before winter break. The Bulldogs will also soon begin work on the annual Mandi Schwartz Marrow Donor Registration Drive at Yale, which is tentatively scheduled for April 2012.