W. HOCKEY | Tough time starting ’09

The women’s hockey team had one goal going into the winter break: come together as a team.

Yale did just that and opened its five games over the break with wins over Providence and Northeastern (10-8-2), before falling to Boston College (13-5-3), Dartmouth (11-5-2, 9-3-2) and Harvard (8-7-3, 8-4-2).

“The past couple of weeks were a great time for us to bond,” forward Maggie Westfal ’09 said. “We’ve been working hard to come together and find that time identity.”

In their last game in 2008, the Elis (7-9-0, 3-6-0 ECAC) opened the game a little sluggish, not getting a shot on goal until the eight minutes into the opening frame. They had not taken the ice in 26 days and found themselves trailing Providence 1-0 in the third period. Although the Bulldogs were on their heels, they played bend-but-don’t-break defense and tied the game with 13 minutes left in the game.

Down one goal in the third, forward Kristen Stupay ’09 kept a shot by Heather Grant ’12 alive. Friar goaltender Genevieve Lacasee could not fall on the puck and Westfal redirected it into the top right corner, tying the game 1-1.

It didn’t take long for the Bulldogs to seize an opportunity in overtime. Just 14 seconds into extra minutes, forward Crysti Howser ’09 won the faceoff and Grant played it down the boards. After Lacasee failed to clear the puck, two quick passes by the Elis ended with a wrist shot by Howser through the five-hole, snapping the Friars’ three game winning streak.

The Elis created a three game winning streak of their own a few nights later. They celebrated the New Year in Boston, defeating Northeastern 2-0 on Jan. 2. Coming into the game, the Huskies had lost six of their last eight games. Forward Aleca Hughes ’12 had what would be the game winning goal in the second period. Howser added an empty netter in the last stanza to squelch Northeastern’s hopes of pushing the game into overtime.

With three straight wins under their belt, the Elis hosted No. 7 Boston College the following night. The Bulldogs played the Eagles to a draw by the end of regulation. Although Yale won its last overtime match, they did not have the same fortune this time. The Elis had many opportunities including 32 shots and a pair of 5-on-3s.

Just shy of two minutes into overtime, Danielle Welch hit a shot past Genny Ladiges ’12 to avoid an upset.

The next weekend, the Bulldogs hosted another top 10 team as No 8. Dartmouth entered Ingalls Rink as the top team in the ECAC.

Against the Big Green, goaltender Jackee Snikeris ’11 had 39 stops at the net, but the Elis could not fully with stand the offensive onslaught that the Big Green brought, falling 5-2 against the powerhouse.

“We still are struggling with consistency,” Snikeris said. “We know no games are going to be easy and every game is winnable, so we need to make sure we show up for every single game if we want to be successful.”

On Saturday, the Bulldogs played their final game of the break against Harvard. The rivalry between the two teams was evidenced by the 14 penalties in the game.

In fact, it was during a penalty that the only goal of the game was scored. After a five minute major penalty was called on Harvard’s Jen Brawn, the Bulldogs found themselves on the power play. A missed shot by the Elis gave the Crimson a chance to clear the puck. The Elis were not able to get the puck back into Harvard territory as Cantab Kathryn Farni intercepted a pass and scored a short-handed goal.

“We have already put the past weekend behind us and are looking forward to bringing a good effort for a full 60 minutes both games [next weekend],” Howser said.

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