Women’s hockey coach Hilary Witt thinks things are finally starting to come together for her team. And based on last weekend’s victories against Union and Rensselaer — the first time the Elis have strung together two consecutive wins all season — she just might be right.
“I think our players are working hard and doing the little things that we need to do to be successful,” Witt said. “We just take it one game at a time and don’t look ahead.”
After playing twice at Ingalls Rink last weekend, the Bulldogs (6-10-3, 4-7-1 ECAC) will continue their homestand with games against No. 3 Clarkson on Friday and St. Lawrence on Saturday.
Yale fell to both Clarkson and St. Lawrence when they first clashed in October during the season’s opening set of conference games. The Golden Knights (15-5-3, 9-1-1) have since earned 19 points and top the league standings along with Cornell.
Clarkson’s goaltender Lauren Dahm boasts the best goals-against average, save percentage, and winning percentage in the ECAC, with only nine goals allowed in nearly 664 minutes of competition, 233 saves, and nine wins in 11 conference games. The Golden Knights also have the top scoring defense in the league.
But Witt still believes the Elis have a shot.
“Clarkson is always a very good hockey team and they are difficult to play because of their style, but the last time we played them it was 0-0 with approximately seven minutes to go,” she said. “We just need to make sure we limit our mistakes and put a lot of pucks to the net.”
Witt added that the team has come a long way since facing Clarkson in the beginning of the season. She noted that the eight freshmen players now have considerably more experience under their belts, and said the line of forwards Aleca Hughes ’12, Bray Ketchum ’11 and Alyssa Zupon ’13 is also starting to click.
Goaltender Jackee Snikeris ’11 remains a standout player for the Bulldogs. Her .925 save percentage ranks her eighth in the league, and she earned her 11th career shutout when the Elis blanked Union 3-0 last Friday, putting her one shy of Yale’s all-time career record.
After taking on Clarkson, Yale will face its second test of the weekend in the following afternoon’s game against St. Lawrence. The Saints (10-7-6, 6-3-2) notched a 4-0 win against Yale in their previous meeting and currently sit in sixth place in the ECAC standings — just five points ahead of the Elis.
Witt said she expects the Saints, as always, to present a challenge. But she plans to keep both of this weekend’s contests in perspective.
“Every game is very important, but at the same time it’s not going to make or break us,” Witt said. “We just need to make sure that we don’t have any regrets at the end of any game.”
The puck will drop against Clarkson at 7 p.m. tonight.