A winless weekend left the women’s ice hockey team clinging onto a playoff slot as it heads into the final week of the regular season.
The Bulldogs (9-12-6, 6-10-4 ECAC) took a painful loss Friday when they fell, 5-3, to No. 6 St. Lawrence (23-8-1, 16-3-1) in New York. Things did not improve Saturday afternoon when they faced No. 9 Clarkson (21-6-5, 12-5-3) and fell, 5-1, to the Golden Knights in a game in which the visitors were outshot by more than two to one.
The Elis started off ahead in their match against the Saints, when a penalty at the 9:21 mark helped them snatch away offensive control. Just over a minute later, forward Bray Ketchum ’11, assisted by forward Sarah Tittman ’09, found the back of the net to give the Elis a 1-0 lead in the first period.
But the St. Lawrence offense exploded in the second, and the Bulldogs simply could not keep up. At 4:25, Saint defender Kirsten Roach got one past goaltender Shivon Zilis ’08 to tie up the game. The Bulldogs quickly snatched back the lead, when, less than two minutes later, Ketchum knocked in her second goal of the game on an Eli power play.
They held onto their lead for another six minutes, but at 12:53, Saint forward Alison Domenico broke the game wide open with a deflection that went high into the net. Less than a minute later, Roach put away her second goal of the game — and after another minute, St. Lawrence widened its lead to two, courtesy of forward Marianna Locke. The Saints wrapped up the second period with a final goal at 16:45, leaving the Elis three down after a five-goal stanza for the home team.
“In the second, we got away from doing the little things right,” forward Danielle Kozlowski ’09 said. “Stopping and starting, keeping our sticks on the ice — that really makes a difference in big games against big teams.”
Zilis got a break after the tough period, and netminder Jackee Snikeris ’11 manned the goal for the final stanza. She made 10 saves for the period, keeping the Saints from pulling away any further. Although defender Helen Resor ’09 snapped in a powerplay goal at 17:44 in the third, the Bulldogs could not recover the ground they had lost, and the buzzer sounded on a disheartening 5-3 defeat.
The next day’s matchup began scorelessly, although the Golden Knights had a marked edge on shots. Snikeris stopped 17, and Clarkson goaltender Eve Grandmont-Berube held back seven, keeping the score at zero throughout the entire first period. It wasn’t until early in the second that Golden Knight forward Britney Selina broke onto the board, giving the home team a lead it would not relinquish for the rest of the game. Another goal at 16:37 and two more in the first 10 minutes of the third put Clarkson four points ahead, with the Elis struggling to catch up.
Forward Crysti Howser ’09 put the Bulldogs on the board at 11:41 in the third, but the visitors could not score again. One final Golden Knights goal by forward Marie-Jo Gaudet capped off a hard loss for the Bulldogs, and the final 5-1 score was a bitter pill to swallow. Clarkson had a total of 44 shots on goal to Yale’s 20 and two penalties to the Elis’ nine.
“Clarkson is a very disciplined team,” defender and captain Ann-Renee Guillemette ’08 said. “They are very defensive and tend to capitalize on the other team’s mistakes instead of creating their own opportunities. Our penalties gave Clarkson the chance to dominate in terms of offensive attacks. If we had been at equal strength for a longer period of time, we could have created better opportunities to score.”
The losses knock the Bulldogs down a peg in the conference standings to tie for eighth place with Rensselaer (13-13-5, 6-10-4), with 16 points. Seventh-place Cornell (12-13-1, 9-10-1) is now three points ahead — a tough gap to overcome with only a single week of play remaining — and going into the final weekend, the Bulldogs will need to turn things around to score a few final, critical points.
“Last weekend is over,” head coach Hilary Witt said. “Now we know what we have to do, we have the team to do it, and I am very confident in my kids’ ability to get the job done.”