W. hockey splits in Empire State

With a victory snatched from its grasp in overtime on Friday, the women’s hockey team traveled to Ithaca on Saturday hungry to secure a win from the moment the players hit the ice.

The Bulldogs (1-2-0, 1-1-0 ECACHL) fell to Colgate (1-4-1, 1-0), 4-3, in Hamilton, N.Y., but rebounded the next day to beat Cornell (1-2-1,1-1-0), 4-1. Saturday’s victory was their first win of the season as all four lines worked together for an impressive team effort.

Despite Yale’s getting on the scoreboard first with a goal by forward Ann-Renee Guillemette ’08 midway through the first period of Friday’s game, Colgate quickly responded to knot the score at one. The Red Raiders added goals in the second and third periods to jump out to a 3-1 lead. Near the end of the third period, the Elis turned it around when forward Kristen Stupay ’09 and forward Jeanna Spring ’07 both hit the net to tie up the game. But unfortunately for the Elis, Colgate was able to score off a rebound at 3:28 into overtime to take the victory.

The Elis have had a tendency to come out flat in the first period and to play more aggressively in the second and third periods.

“Going into the third period, we were definitely frustrated in the locker room,” forward Christina Sharun ’07 said. “We made a concerted effort to step up the game and turn things around. We made that decision and came out flying in the third period, but it ended up not turning out in our favor. We fought really hard and showed a lot of guts to dig out and put forth that effort to come back.”

Shivon Zilis ’08 said the Elis’ energy and momentum from Friday night’s third period carried over into Saturday’s game against Cornell.

“We came out on all cylinders for 60 minutes,” Zilis said.

Within the first three minutes of Saturday’s game, Sharun scored the first goal of the afternoon with an assist from Caroline Murphy ’10 and defenseman Helen Resor ’09.

“Personally, it was the best game technically and mentally that I’ve seen since I’ve been here,” Sharun said.

Resor also said it was one of the best Eli performances she has ever seen because everybody was focused and knew their role in the game.

“Best our team has played since I’ve been at Yale,” Resor said. “It was a complete team effort by running all four lines pretty equally.”

In the second period, the Elis continued to dominate the game. Off assists from Resor and Stupay, captain Kristin Savard ’07 found the back of the net to increase the Elis’ lead to 2-0 at 7:14. The Big Red responded with a power play goal, but with less than two minutes remaining, Resor secured the Elis’ two point lead with her first goal of the season.

“Shivon [Zilis] played phenomenally and helped our confidence level,” Sharun said.

Zilis made 26 saves in the Cornell game and 28 saves in the Colgate game.

Cornell was unable to hit the net for the rest of the game. Forward Danielle Kozlowski ’09 increased the Elis’ lead to three at the beginning of the third period with a goal assisted by forward Mandi Schwartz ’10 and forward Kesley Johnson ’09.

Coming off a strong win, the Elis will continue to work hard this week in practice. Defensively, Zilis said they will focus on moving the players out in front and playing a tight game. Offensively, Resor said, they will focus on getting the puck to the net and perfecting one-on-one and two-on-two plays. Sharun said the team is clicking well and thinks the key to success will be for the Elis to keep running the four lines like they did on Saturday.

Next weekend, the Bulldogs will face Quinnipiac on Saturday and Princeton on Sunday at Ingalls Rink.

“It is going to take continuing to make the best of the scoring chances that we get, crashing the net hard and taking care of the defensive zone,” Sharun said. “We need to focus on playing the smart hockey that we proved this weekend we are able to play.”

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