Feb. 17, 2009

 

By Amy Farnum Novin

NCAA.com

 

A SPECIAL NIGHT: The second annual ECAC Hockey "Pink at the Rink" fundraiser event - a collaboration between the league and the American Cancer Society - had a special meaning for the Yale University women's hockey team this year.

Junior forward Mandi Schwartz was a regular contributor on the ice for the Bulldogs before receiving a diagnosis of leukemia in December at the age of 20. Schwartz, a native of Wilcox, Saskatchewan, returned home for treatment, but is never far from her teammates' thoughts as she provides updates of her progress on the web site CaringBridge.

Yale, along with the other ECAC Hockey members, will auction off special pink items the teams have used to raise funds to benefit the American Cancer Society and Hockey Coaches Care. Last weekend, Yale's participation in the event paid a special tribute to Schwartz as the program also sold T-shirts with her uniform No. 17 and collected donations rather than admission at the RPI and Union contests.

During the season, the Bulldogs have also shown their support of Schwartz by wearing special bracelets, leaving a space for her when they line up for pregame introductions and wearing stickers with her uniform number on their helmets. Letters and cards of support can be sent to Mandi Schwartz, c/o Allan Blair Cancer Center, 4101 Dewdney Ave., Regina, SK, CANADA S4T 7T1.

Donations can also still be made to show support for Schwartz by sending checks made out to "Yale University" to Jennifer O'Neil, Yale Athletics, P.O. Box 208216, New Haven, CT 06520. Fans who make a minimum donation of $15 U.S. dollars can also request one of the special "17" t-shirts by including their t-shirt size (price includes shipping and handling). More information about the annual ECAC Hockey "Pink at the Rink" event can be found at www.ecachockeycoachesvscancer.com.

`CATS POUNCE: Fifth-ranked New Hampshire claimed a share of the Hockey East regular season title for the sixth straight season as the Wildcats extended their 10-game winning streak with a sweep of Providence College in league action last weekend. UNH has won the league's regular season title every season since 2004.

Freshman Lindsey Minton provided a solid performance in goal against the Friars, posting a .923 save percentage and 1.50 goals against average in the sweep. The native of Richardson, Texas, tallied 20 saves in a 3-2 win against PC on Feb. 13, and followed it up with 16 stops in a 4-1 victory the next night as the Wildcats clinched the top seed in the Hockey East tournament.

Minton has started each of the last three games for UNH, improving to 7-0-0 with a 1.62 GAA and 9.16 save percentage in nine games this season. She was named Hockey East Mission Rookie of the Week for her efforts.

The Wildcats look to stretch the nation's longest unbeaten streak to 11 at Harvard University on Feb. 17.

HOLDING `COURT: Senior forward Sarah Vaillancourt sparked Harvard University to its second straight Ivy League title as she played a key role in the Crimson's 5-2 defeat of Cornell on Feb. 13.

The native of Sherbrooke, Quebec, exploded for four goals and an assist against the Big Red, including a natural hat trick in the third period. It was her third hat trick this season and ninth of her career. Vaillancourt was selected ECAC Hockey Player of the Week for her contributions. She has had a hand in 18 of the Crimson's last 21 goals, and leads the league with 30 points against conference competition.

Harvard, ranked No. 9 in the latest USCHO.com Division I poll, has won eight Ivy League titles in program history. The Crimson has won nine of their last 10 games and currently sits in second place in the ECAC Hockey standings just one point behind league-leading St. Lawrence. They will host No. 5 New Hampshire on Feb. 17.

CENTURY MARK: Mercyhurst junior Meghan Agosta became the seventh player in NCAA Division I women's hockey history to register 100 career goals as she tallied three goals in the No. 3 Lakers 5-1 win over Robert Morris in College Hockey America action on Feb. 13.

The forward Ruthven, Ontario, quickly added to her total with four more scores as the Lakers completed the sweep the next night. Agosta also recorded two assists in the second contest for nine points on the weekend. She was named CHA Offensive Player of the Week for her outstanding play.

The Lakers have won eight consecutive games and remained unbeaten in league action.