The women’s hockey team was eliminated from playoff contention this weekend despite coming out firing in two home contests.
The Bulldogs (10-15-1, 5-14-0 ECAC) brought plenty of offense to Ingalls Rink with a 1-1 tie with Rensselaer (14-13-4, 9-8-3) on Friday followed by a 4-0 rout of Union (2-27-3, 0-19-1) on Saturday. But it was not enough to keep their postseason hopes alive.
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Heading into the weekend, the Bulldogs were down by eight points in the ECAC for the last playoff spot. Although the Elis closed the gap after earning three conference points, a win by RPI over Brown and a tie by Cornell with Dartmouth ended the Bulldogs’ chances at making the playoffs.
Despite this, the Elis’ play over the weekend proved that they can play strong hockey on both sides of the ice.
“I was really impressed with the effort our team gave throughout the weekend,” forward Crysti Howser ’09 said.
YALE 1, Rensselaer 1
In their first game, the Elis immediately started on the attack against the Engineers. But the home team simply could not find the back of the net.
After the first intermission, the Elis were just a touch slower than the period before. The first goal of the game came when the Engineers’ Kendra Dunlop had a one-on-one with defender Carry Resor ’09. Dunlop’s first shot hit off Resor’s leg, but she was able to get her own rebound and hit a low shot past goalie Jackie Snikeris ’11.
The Elis finished the period much stronger, though struggled to generate quality shots on goal on their two power play opportunities. Still, the Bulldogs maintained their momentum, and in the third period they were able to tie the score.
Down in RPI territory with seven minutes left to play, the Elis strung together a series of passes and shots where every Bulldog on the ice got a chance at the puck. After a few minutes on the attack, the puck finally slipped out of the pile, and defender Heather Grant ’12 was there for a one-timer. This time, the puck found the back of the net, and the teams found themselves tied 1-1 at the beginning of overtime.
Thirty seconds into the extra period, Snikeris stopped another RPI atempt at the goal. Yale got a power play, but the Bulldogs were not able to capitalize, as Howser’s goal was rejected form the net. With just 40 seconds left on the clock, Snikeris made a dramatic save and denied the Engineers from scoring a game-winning goal, thus tying the final score at 1-1.
“RPI is a good team and although we aren’t satisfied with a tie, we played good hockey and brought a consistent effort,” Howser said.
YALE 4, UNION 0
On Saturday, the Elis came out much stronger than they did the day before. Perhaps it was that every game was a must-win situation, or maybe they had finally settled in at home. Whatever it was, they put the stranglehold on Union from the start and ended the game with a decisive 4-0 win.
“We knew we have a tendency to play down to the other team’s level, so we emphasized getting 45 shots on goal which helped us to stay energized and always in an offensive mind-set,” Snikeris said. “We slowly chipped away at that goal, maintaining composure when we didn’t score right away, and soon enough we buried our chances.”
Just 10 minutes into the game, the Elis already had 11 shots on goal. Players have said in the past that seizing opportunities was the most important key to their success, and the Elis were certainly creating those opportunities on Saturday. Overall, the team tallied 42 shots on goal on the day.
Although the Elis were primarily on offense throughout the game, it was Union that almost scored the first goal. Dutchwoman Molly Kate Devin slipped behind the Bulldogs for a fast break, but forward Lauren Davis ’12 skated her down and took a “professional foul,” tripping Devin before she could get a clean shot off. The Elis killed the power play that ensued.
The Bulldogs finally got on the scoreboard in the second period. Howser came from the right circle to the top of the ice and ripped a hard shot just wide that hit the boards. On the rebound, defender Alyssa Clarke ’10 slipped it inside the near post above Lundy Day’s shoulder for Yale’s first goal.
Moments later, the Elis were back in Union territory to add insult to injury. Forward Bray Ketchum ’11 brought the puck in from center ice and put a shot on goal that missed just wide. But forward Aleca Hughes ’12 passed the puck to the top of the crease, where Ketchum was there to finish what she started.
In the third period, the Elis were quick to strike and demonstrated how seemingly easy it was for them to find the back of the net. Less than a minute into the period, Howser came onto the ice for a line change. Defender Helen Resor ’09 hit a through pass from the top of the right circle and Howser hit it past Day on the left post.
The Elis fourth goal was Ketchum’s second on the night. Defender Samantha MacLean ’11 hit a shot from the left circle and Ketchum deflected the puck past Day.
THE ROAD AHEAD
Although the Bulldogs got three conference points this weekend, it was not enough to propel them into the playoffs. Even if the Bulldogs win all three of the remaining regular season games, they stand to lose on a tiebreaker against Cornell (11-11-5, 7-8-5).
“I’ve never been on a more competitive team. Whether it’s in practice or in a game, we always compete and will continue to until the very end no matter what,” Snikeris said. “Our team has gone through so much this year and it would feel good to finish out the season on a high note, for the seniors and for Mandi, who gives us motivation to play every single day.”
The women’s hockey team dedicated their games to teammate Mandi Schwartz ’10, who was diagnosed with leukemia in December, as part of their “Pink at the Rink” cancer fundraiser this weekend.
Competition will continue for the Bulldogs as the travel to Providence, R.I., to play Brown on Tuesday.
Contact efren bonner at