Normally bringing fire to a hockey rink would be a bad idea.
The women’s hockey team didn’t get that memo and the Bulldogs (8-12-0, 4-9-0 ECAC) came to Ingalls Rink blazing on Friday night, torching Cornell (10-9-2, 6-6-2) in a 3-1 victory. But although they came out even sharper on Saturday afternoon, the Elis couldn’t sustain the fire and Colgate (14-9-2, 8-4-2) got the lucky bounces in a 3-0 win over Yale.
In their first game, the Elis came out with something to prove. Having lost their last five matches — all against conference opponents — the Bulldogs were looking to change their fortune.
“We wanted to prove to ourselves that we can score goals against a good team,” captain and forward Sarah Tittman ’09 said. “We played well defensively, which allowed us to generate offense.”
Less than one minute into the game, it appeared that the Bulldogs would not be so lucky. An interference penalty on defender Samantha MacLean ’11 gave the Big Red an early power-play opportunity.
After the Elis cleared the puck out of their zone, the Big Red regrouped behind their own net. But defender Heather Grant ’12 intercepted a Cornell pass just a few feet past the red line on Cornell’s half of the ice. She hit the puck back into Big Red territory, trying to kill more time of the clock and the puck went straight into the goal, catching Cornell’s goalie Jenny Niesluchowski by surprise.
But the Big Red would not go quietly.
In the second period, Cornell kept up the pressure after the Big Red put together several passes and got a few shots on goal in the first period. After a penalty by both squads, the two teams were even at 4-on-4.
At that point, Cornell’s Catherine White put the puck past Yale goalie Genny Ladiges ’12 to find the back of the net, tying the game at 1-1.
After that, the Yale was much stronger and played the rest of the game with more intensity.
In the third period, the Elis settled in Cornell territory on a power-play, and forward Crysti Howser ’09 put a shot on goal from the right circle. Danielle Kozlowski ’09 picked up the loose puck in the pile and put it in the back of the net, reclaiming the lead.
But the Elis did not want to leave anything to chance. In the final moments of the game, Cornell emptied their net to have an extra player on offense. Defender Helen Resor ’09 knocked the puck away from a Cornell player and forward Bray Ketchum ’11 quickly gained control of the puck. From her own blue line, Ketchum drove the puck down the middle of the ice into Cornell’s empty net for a goal that solidified Yale’s victory.
The next day, the Bulldogs came out blazing once again with even faster speed of play against Colgate. Although the Elis were up to the challenge, things just seemed to go the Raiders’ way.
Right off the bat, Colgate took the lead in the first period. After forward Maggie Westfal ’09 went to the penalty box for hooking, the Raiders took advantage of an early opportunity.
During the penalty kill, the Elis thought they had cleared the puck, which would have given them enough time for a line change. But the Raiders strung together two quick passes and Colgate’s Katie Stewart had on a one-on-one with Ladiges. Although the Yale goalie got a piece of it, the Raiders’ Elin Brown was there to give Colgate the lead.
“Colgate is a tough opponent because they play a defensive system unlike any other team in the ECAC,” Ladiges said. “They look for the long breakaway pass, which makes it tough on our defense to defend. What makes them so dangerous is their ability to capitalize on all of our mistakes and finish on all of their scoring chances.”
The second period followed a similar script. Yale had its opportunities, but simply could not convert, especially on their power plays.
The Bulldogs’ best opportunity to tie the game came after Ali Edell of Colgate was called for interference.
On the Yale power play, it looked as though the Bulldogs were about to even the score. As Resor skated down the ice, she slipped at the Bulldogs’ own blue line, leaving the puck floating on the ice. It was scooped up by Sam Hunt for another Raider one-on-one with Ladiges. The shorthanded goal pushed the Raiders lead to 2-0.
In the third period, Colgate’s Stewart added another goal, ending the game at 3-0.
“Colgate played well and was able to finish its chances when it got them, which was the difference in the game,” Howser said.
The win over Cornell helped lift the Elis into a tie for ninth place in the ECAC. The Bulldogs are now six points out of the final playoff spot and still have nine games left in the regular season.
The Bulldogs will be back in action next weekend when they travel to Princeton and Quinnipiac.