13 May, 2017

Hanna Mandl Maintains Proud Tradition of Great Goaltending for Yale Bulldogs

Successfully combining proficiency on the ice and in the classroom, Bulldogs goaltender Hanna Mandl has assembled a body of work that exemplified the capability of student athletes to inspire and achieve. Having only been introduced to competitive play at the rink at 11 years old, following a youth spent as a competitive skier and dancer, Mandl has blossomed into an accomplished all-around athlete, whose achievements also include ECAC Hockey All-Academic honors throughout her Bulldogs career.
Balancing both academic and athletic obligations is nothing new for the apt Mandl. At the high school level, she was a three-sport sensation, excelling in hockey, soccer and volleyball, while serving as an executive on the Student Council in her final two years (including President in her senior year). A series of awards bestowed upon her for strong performance in a wide range of topics, including civics, mathematics and science only added luster to a promising future ahead.

University life has seen the same remarkable and admirable juggling act, where athletics and academics intersect with an active involvement in campus activity. Having also occupied herself in causes such as the Yale Women's Leadership Initiative and Yale Scientific Society, among others, such activity is an extension of Mandl’s devotion towards bringing a meaningful impact and positively shaping the community around her. 

“It is very difficult to find the right athletic and academic balance, especially at a school as academically rigorous as Yale. I have certainly spent a lot of hours in the library, in class and in the laboratory so I am proud of my academic accomplishments.”

Majoring in Biomedical Engineering, with a specialization in Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Biology, Mandl has experienced many proud hallmarks during her undergraduate studies, which also included a research fellowship. In addition, her studies even took her across the Atlantic to Iringa, in the African nation of Tanzania. Shadowing a group of medical professionals in the region’s local hospitals and clinics, it was an opportunity that provided Mandl with a unique experience that allowed her to observe how health care is administered in other parts of the world. 

Athletically, Mandl has also carried on the program’s proud heritage of talented goaltenders. Adding to the legacies of her fellow goaltenders who have donned the Bulldogs colors, such a list includes the likes of her former teammate Jaimie Leonoff, who would go on to win the first game in the history of the NWHL. Others worthy of mention include the likes of Maureen Magauran, Laurie Belliveau, Sarah Love and Jackee Snikeris, to name a few.

In four seasons with the Bulldogs, Mandl appeared in 48 games between the pipes, taking on the mantle of starting goaltender during the 2015-16 campaign. Appearing in a career-high 28 games, Mandl compiled a 10-15-2 record, amassing more than 1500 minutes, recording 670 saves and posting a respectable 2.93 goals against average.

Supplying a series of valiant performances as a junior, Mandl’s season was highlighted by an early season win against eventual conference champion Quinnipiac. Gaining the start in back-to-back November games against the defending national champion Minnesota Golden Gophers, Mandl managed a series of gutsy performances, amassing over 30 saves in each game.

In the New Year, Mandl would be at her most brilliant. From January 9 to February 5, 2016, she would record six victories, including five in a row, highlighted by a sweep of the Ivy League’s Brown Bears and a road win against rival Dartmouth. During this remarkable run, Mandl also managed three wins in a span of merely five days, allowing only two even-strength goals. Beginning with a 17 save effort against Rensselaer, she recorded a cumulative 47 saves in the sweep of Brown.

For her efforts, Mandl was distinguished with the ECAC’s weekly honors. Garnering Goaltender of the Week recognition (awarded on February 2, 2016), this achievement was shared with Clarkson’s Olivia Howe, who was awarded Player of the Week, while Melissa Samoskevich from Quinnipiac emerged as the Rookie of the Week.

Such performances were not the only highlights in a memorable 2015-16 season. Of note, Mandl would see two articles published in the Yale Scientific Magazine. The first saw print in November 2015, a piece on cooperation patterns in children. Mandl’s second article focused on the desire to reach innovative breakthroughs in cancer treatment, gaining publication in March 2016.

Sharing goaltending duties in her senior season with freshman Tera Hoffman and sophomore Kyra O’Brien, Mandl was part of an All-Canadian goaltending trio. Like Mandl, an alum of the Brampton Jr. Thunder, Hoffman and O’Brien also honed their goaltending skills in the PWHL; Hoffman with the Durham West Junior Lightning and O’Brien with the Burlington Jr. Barracudas. Coincidentally, O’Brien is also an ECAC Hockey All-Academic, having also established herself as a hockey humanitarian, giving her time to the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society of Canada.

Although Hoffman won the starter’s job, appearing in 23 games, Mandl’s experience provided a positive influence, helping to groom the next generation of goaltending talent. With great maturity and a strong sense of fidelity, establishing Mandl as a model teammate, it was the type of mentoring through example that shall allow these two younger goaltenders to maintain the peerless goaltending tradition at Yale, while fostering the sense of teamwork and friendship that allows for an effective culture.

“It has been so fun and such an honor to work with Kyra and Tera this past season. They are both hard-working, talented goaltenders and also two great teammates that I'm so happy to have had the opportunity to play with.

Our goalie coach, Chris Ardito, has contributed a great deal to the fantastic goalie dynamic during my time at Yale and I know that he is our greatest mentor. I work hard to set an example for Kyra and Tera on the ice, in the weight room and in the classroom because they both have so much potential!”

Part of a sensational senior class that included team captain Krista Yip-Chuck, Alaska native Abby Gahm, Choate Rosemary Hall alum Taylor Marchin, along with Swiss national team member Phoebe Staenz, Mandl participated in eight games during her senior season, posting the second best winning percentage of her time in New Haven, as the Bulldogs returned to the ECAC postseason. As a side note, Yip-Chuck grew up in King City, Ontario, in the same vicinity as Mandl, who was raised in Nobleton.
In spite of the fact that Yip-Chuck was unable to suit up for Senior Night, sidelined due to injury, there was a shared sense of achievement between the two. Taking to centre ice with their fellow seniors, it constituted a feeling of family as all relished the chance to have donned the Bulldogs colors. Representing more than just pride, it was a celebration that saw a collection of players from various backgrounds come of age, whose dutiful efforts over four fantastic seasons embodied the ideals and potential of Bulldogs hockey, paying homage to those who graced the ice at Ingalls Rink in times before.

Taking on the Colgate Raiders, the day after an admirable 2-2 tie with the Cornell Big Red, Yip-Chuck was not the only member of the senior class unable to participate. Staenz was absent due to her competition at the 2017 IIHF Women’s Worlds. While Colgate was able to capitalize with a 3-1 victory, there were indications that the future of Yalesgoaltendingpicturewas certainly in good hands. Hofmann’s assiduous efforts between the pipes resulted in a solid 35 save performance, definitely paid homage to her peerless predecessor, Mandl.

“Senior night is always an emotional night for Yale Women's Ice Hockey seniors. We are all so proud to have had the opportunity to strap on the skates at Ingalls Rink, so playing there one last time in front of our friends and family is something that we will carry with us for the rest of our lives. I was so excited on senior night because my older sister Stef, who goes to law school in England, surprised me at the game!

I will hands-down miss my teammates the most. We spend early mornings at the rink together, battle through fitness tests, sit on the bus for 9-hours at a time, do homework together, go on trips together and win and lose together. They really are my favorite people and it will certainly be difficult to not directly be a part of that next year.”
Mandl’s best performance this season consisted of back-to-back wins against the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, spearheading a two-game sweep. Although she was part of a pair of no-decisions in road games against Cornell and Merrimack in the month of November, she supplied shutout play in both appearances.

Serving as the backdrop for the denouement in Mandl’s Bulldogs career would involve the last game of the regular season. Fittingly, she gained the start in a road game against Ivy League rival Dartmouth, a most appropriate honor. It also marked her second straight appearance, having taking to the ice for a game the night prior, another road affair with Harvard. Although the contest would end up in Dartmouth’s favor, resulting in the final collegiate points for numerous players on both sides, it was a memorable weekend for Mandl, absorbing the sights and sounds for one more cherished time.

The highly cerebral Mandl enjoyed another special high point in her senior year, one that may stand as her greatest legacy at Yale. Enrolled in a course devoted to Medical Device Design, it saw Mandl embody the essence of teamwork. Part of a group known as Thoracic Part, she was part of an exceptional collaboration that displayed tremendous ingenuity. Crafting a unique flexible saw that was able to ensure a straight, midline cuts during a medical procedure known as a sternotomy (which cuts through the sternum to gain access to the heart and lungs); the objective was to provide quicker wound closure after a surgery, while reducing infection.

Highly organized, with a combination of tremendous resolve and determination, Mandl is destined to continue her stellar achievements in her post-hockey career. With ambitions aimed towards post-graduate work, the sense of teamwork and preparation that defined her years as part of the Bulldogs goaltending career shall certainly translate into a strong set of values to build upon.
Regardless of the path followed, Bulldogs hockey shall definitely hold a treasured place in Mandl’s heart. While reflections on her four seasons spent in New Haven definitely evoke several memories, one key quality that stands is her appreciation for the opportunity to share her hockey and academic odyssey with such a great group of individuals in a highly prestigious institution that evoked a remarkable sense of prestige and tradition,

“It is difficult to pinpoint a specific moment at Yale, because there are so many great ones. Some of my fondest Yale memories include going to Minnesota to play the Gophers, my teammate Phoebe Staenz winning a bronze medal with Switzerland at Sochi, building a medical device, doing research at the Yale School of Medicine and playing paintball with my teammates during my freshman year.”

“All quotes obtained first hand unless otherwise indicated”

Photo credits: Sam Rubin, David Silverman and Shelley M. Szwast

To read Mandl’s articles in Yale Scientific, please visit: http://www.yalescientific.org/author/hannamandl/

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