Elis end break with two losses and a tie

After a weekend laden with penalties and missed opportunities, the women’s ice hockey team wrapped up Thanksgiving break with a hard-fought tie on Saturday.

Yale (3-3-2, 3-3-1 ECACHL) began their five-game home stand on Nov. 16 with a heartbreaking 3-0 loss to conference rival No. 5 Harvard (6-0, 6-0). The very next day saw them fall to No. 8 Dartmouth (7-1-1, 5-1) in a discouraging 4-1 defeat. But the Elis pulled themselves together, and last Saturday they staved off an offensive onslaught and battled to a 2-2 finish against Boston College (6-3-2).

The faceoff between the Bulldogs and the Crimson began sluggishly, and forward Bray Ketchum ’11 only managed a shot on goal for the Elis after four minutes had passed. Play heated up as the minutes flashed by, but despite double-digit shot tallies in the first period, the game was scoreless when the buzzer sounded.

It was not until the third period that the game finally broke open, when Harvard forward Sarah Vaillancourt slipped the puck past goaltender Shivon Zilis ’08 on a five-on-three power play at 1:40. Only 15 seconds later, the Crimson tallied another goal, skating five against four. And at 16:09, the Cantabs cemented their victory, scoring during yet another five-on-three power play and giving them the 3-0 lead that they would hold until the end of the game.

“We played great against Harvard,” head coach Hilary Witt said. “But we took far too many penalties. We simply can’t give them that many power play opportunities.”

The next night saw the Elis going toe-to-toe with another nationally ranked conference rival, Dartmouth. The Bulldogs broke onto the scoreboard less than three minutes into the first, when forward Sarah Tittman ’09 deflected in a slapshot, assisted by forward Crysti Howser ’09 and defender Carlee Ness ’09. It took the Big Green almost ten minutes into the second period to tie it up, when Dartmouth forward Maggie Kennedy beat out goalie Jackee Snikeris ’11 and knotted the score at one.

But Dartmouth didn’t stop there. A power play goal at 13:12 gave the Big Green the lead, and 9:53 into the third they pulled ahead by two when Dartmouth forward Sarah Parsons tallied another goal for the visitors. Snikeris, who finished with 23 saves, was pulled to give the Bulldogs an extra attacker, but Dartmouth took advantage of the maneuver and put away an empty-net goal to give them the 4-1 lead that became the final score.

“I thought we played a good game against Dartmouth,” Witt said. “They’re a good team, and we made a couple of mistakes that they took advantage of. We had plenty of scoring opportunities, but we just didn’t score. We need to put more pucks in the net.”

Saturday’s game started slowly for the Bulldogs, but after an early barrage of shots from Boston College, defender Helen Resor ’09 put the Elis on the scoreboard at 12:00 in the first, assisted by Tittman and Howser. The Eagles fought back with a power play goal of their own at 16:47, and took the lead in the second stanza with another goal at 5:16. But it was the last one Zilis would allow in the game. Howser tied things up at 11:48, and the two teams battled scorelessly for the rest of the game and through the overtime period. Zilis wrapped things up with an impressive 43 saves.

“We played really well during the Boston game,” captain and defender Ann-Renée Guillemette ’08 said. “We were communicating a lot more, which has been one of our main problems in the past. We definitely wanted to get a win out of that game, which makes a tie a little frustrating. However, it was a good game, and the fact that we earned one point instead of zero is definitely a plus.”

Although an 0-2-1 record over the week of Thanksgiving is somewhat disappointing, the team gained some valuable experience during their three games, faced some tough opponents — and continued to improve their level of play all the while, Zilis said.

“Though it was disappointing to come out of the weekend with only one point, we started generating more offensive chances as time went on,” she said. “I’m excited in the hopes that we will extend this trend to the future.”

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