W. HOCKEY | Bulldogs looking to bounce back at home

ECAC play is coming to the renovated Ingalls Rink.

The Yale women’s hockey team will host Princeton (2–1–1, 1–0–1 ECAC Hockey) and Quinnipiac (4–3–1, 2–0) this weekend for its first home conference games of the season.

The Bulldogs (0–2–1, 0–2) are coming off a pair of losses on the road last weekend to No. 7 St. Lawrence and No. 2 Clarkson.

For head coach Hilary Witt, those games are not necessarily an indication of how the season will unfold.

“St. Lawrence and Clarkson had already played about seven games because they start before us,” Witt said. “Our kids responded very well after Friday night [against St. Lawrence] and played a lot better on Saturday [against Clarkson]. I think we’re going to be OK.”

The Elis will look to turn the momentum around starting with Friday’s 7 p.m. game against the Tigers. The Yale squad returns to take on Quinnipiac at 4 p.m. on Saturday.

Princeton will enter the competition riding a streak of offensive success. The team has notched 18 goals in its first four games.

Quinnipiac also comes into this weekend’s matches with positive momentum. The Bobcats have already scored 18 goals in eight contests and are on a two-game win streak, after defeating both Union and Rensselaer.

The Bobcats will play at Brown on Friday before Saturday’s game against Yale.

Preseason polls picked the Bulldogs to finish 10th in the ECAC this season, but Witt said the team hopes to prove that prediction wrong, adding that her squad secured ninth place last year.

“We look young, but I like how we are playing together,” Witt said. “We’re playing as a group instead of individuals and I’ve never seen a group work so hard during preseason in my nine years here.”

Forwards Bray Ketchum ’11 and Aleca Hughes ’12 have led the team’s offense so far this season.

Ketchum has notched five goals in just more than 10 periods of play, while Hughes has racked up three goals over the first two weekends.

Goaltender Jackee Snikeris ’11 has anchored the team defensively, making 59 saves last weekend. Snikeris’ .931 save percentage ranks her eighth in the nation.

Witt hopes that with so much young talent, the newer team members will step up and start to contribute.

“It’s always nice when you have fresh young kids to come in with a lot of enthusiasm,” she said. “This year we have a very small team, so they’re going to play a lot and gain a lot of experience.”

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