Women’s hockey falls hard at home

It was a rough weekend at home for the women’s ice hockey team, which will take the road again after a painful 0-4-1 home stretch over the last three weeks.

Yale (3-5-2, 3-5-1 ECAC) took an agonizing 6-0 loss to Clarkson (12-4-2, 5-3) Friday night at Ingalls Rink thanks to two hat tricks by two Golden Knights players. But the weekend’s trials were not over yet. Although Saturday’s match against No. 5 St. Lawrence (11-3, 7-1) began more promisingly, two goals late in the game by the Saints proved to be too much for the Elis to overcome, and the buzzer sounded on a 3-1 Bulldog defeat.

“Both the teams we played this weekend are solid, successful teams, and unfortunately, we couldn’t put together a win,” forward/defender Kristen Stupay ’09 said. “I think that, notwithstanding the final scores, everyone worked very hard in both of the games, but Friday’s game went particularly poorly because our efforts weren’t concerted.”

Friday’s faceoff began evenly, as the Bulldogs and their Potsdam foes battled to break onto the scoreboard first. For 12 minutes, neither squad could manage a goal. But at 12:40, Clarkson forward Marie-Jo Gaudet slotted the puck into the upper left corner of the net, giving the Golden Knights an early lead. That was not the last the Elis heard from Gaudet — at 15:38, she snapped another shot past goaltender Jackee Snikeris ’11. And although the first stanza ended with Clarkson leading 2-0, Gaudet would resurface again barely two minutes into the second, when she put away a power play goal — not only extending the Golden Knights’ lead to 3-0 but also earning herself a natural hat trick.

But Clarkson’s offensive onslaught was only halfway through. As the Elis struggled to find the back of the net, Golden Knight forward Melissa Waldie made the score 4-0 with about four minutes left to play in the second. And in the final 20 minutes, Waldie put away another pair of goals at 4:59 and 6:11, garnering a natural hat trick of her own and giving Clarkson an insurmountable lead. Goaltender Shivon Zilis ’08 came in to relieve Snikeris with 13:49 left on the clock and managed seven saves, but it was too late, and the buzzer sounded on a dismal 6-0 defeat.

“The game started off really well for us,” captain and defender Ann-Renée Guillemette ’08 said. “We were connecting and playing together as a team. As the game progressed, we lost a little of that connection and had one too many penalties. Clarkson played very disciplined, which allowed them to score against our mistakes and made it difficult for us to capitalize on our opportunities.”

St. Lawrence brought one of the nation’s most powerful offensive lineups to the Whale on Saturday, but the Bulldogs were up to the challenge for much of the afternoon. The first period saw both teams battling scorelessly, nearly matching each other shot for shot. Neither the Saints’ 14 attempts on goal nor the Elis’ 12 found the back of the net, and the first stanza ended still knotted at zero. But three minutes into the second, St. Lawrence finally managed to get the puck past Zilis when it ricocheted off Saint forward Carson Duggan’s skate and slid into the net. The Bulldogs refused to give in, and 15 minutes later, forward Sarah Tittman ’09 tallied one for the home team on a five-on-three power play.

The Saints fought back, and just 1:34 into the third period, St. Lawrence defender Kirsten Roach scored again and handed the visitors a 2-1 lead. As the third period wore on, the Bulldogs tried in vain to solve the Saints’ defense again, until, one goal behind and with less than one minute remaining, Zilis was pulled to give the squad an extra attacker. But St. Lawrence proved capable of handling even an overloaded offense, and capitalized on the empty net at 19:21, giving them the 3-1 lead they would hold until the game’s end.

“We battled hard,” Tittman said. “Now, we just need to find a way to capitalize on our opportunities.”

Although the weekend was tough, the losses taught the Elis some valuable lessons about their own abilities and what they need to change, Guillemette said.

“Even after losing this weekend, we know we are a team that can compete against top teams like St. Lawrence,” she said. “We were able to keep up and even dominate that game at some points, and their win came from a few lucky breaks. However, we do need to improve our tendency to take too many penalties. Other teams have capitalized on this, and if we can minimize penalties, we will be successful.”

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