After getting shutout by No. 3 Clarkson and St. Lawrence earlier this season, the women’s hockey team knew competing against its New York opponents for a second time would be difficult. But this weekend, the results turned out quite differently.
Despite narrowly falling 3–2 to No. 3 Clarkson on Friday night, the Bulldogs (7–11–3, 5–8–1 ECAC) rallied to upset St. Lawrence in a 1–0 thriller at Ingalls Rink on Saturday.
“They are both really good teams, and it’s usually a really tough weekend for us,” goaltender Jackee Snikeris ’11 said. “It was great to get two points and to play so well in both games.”
The Eli goalie earned her 12th career shutout with a 33-save day against the Saints (11–8–6, 7–4–2), officially tying Sarah Love ‘06 for Yale’s all-time record. The win also marked the Bulldogs’ first win against St. Lawrence in team history — ending a 25-game losing streak and a stretch of 36 consecutive winless contests against the Saints.
“It’s great to finally get that done,” coach Hilary Witt said of breaking the winless streak. “I’ve been here nine years, so it’s certainly nice for me, and for the kids it’s certainly nice to be able to snap a streak like that.”
While the Bulldogs were able to celebrate the Saturday victory, the aftermath of Friday’s contest against Clarkson left a different atmosphere in Ingalls Rink. Despite looking poised to take down one of the nation’s top teams, a fluke goal late in the third period gave the Golden Knights (17–5–3, 11–1–1) the opportunity to win in overtime.
The Elis got on the board first when defenseman Alyssa Clarke ’10 scored from just inside the blue line at 2:04 in the second period, her shot slipping through traffic and into the net.
The Bulldogs were unable to capitalize on two power plays in the middle of the second period but successfully killed off a penalty with only three minutes remaining before intermission. Clarkson’s attackers did not let up their pressure, outshooting Yale 26–20 in the first two periods, and the Golden Knights finally put one away at 17:21 when defenseman Hailey Wood’s slap shot whipped past Snikeris.
Yale pulled ahead again at 9:38 in the third stanza, when forward Alyssa Zupon ’13 deflected in a blue-line shot from defenseman Tara Tomimoto ’13.
The Elis were still leading 2–1 with less than three minutes left in regulation when a bad bounce helped Clarkson to tie the score. Snikeris gloved a high shot that defenseman Carlee Eusepi had sent from the neutral zone but was unable to control the puck as it slipped behind her and into the net.
“It was definitely one of the worst bounces I’ve ever seen,” Snikeris said. “It was just a bad goal — I felt awful for letting my team down. It happens, and you have to forget about it, but the timing and the situation made it that much worse.”
It only took 17 seconds of overtime for the Golden Knights to put the game away, 3–2.
Witt said the loss was disappointing but added that the Elis fought well against Clarkson — currently the top team in the ECAC.
“The kids played so well, it was probably the best hockey that we’ve played in two years,” Witt said. “The way Clarkson tied it up was unfortunate, but it’s hockey and things like that happen.”
And the Elis didn’t let the late-game loss to Clarkson interfere with their focus against St. Lawrence the following day.
Forward Danielle Moncion ’13 scored the unassisted game-winning goal with less than two minutes left in the first period, sending in a hard, low snipe from the right circle at 18:02.
“To get ahead like that was awesome,” Moncion said. “[The puck] just kind of popped out in front, and I took a snapshot.”
Moncion gave her team the lead, but Snikeris led the effort to preserve the Bulldogs’ edge.
Then the match was interrupted at about 5:15 p.m., during the intermission between the second and third periods, when an automated message prompted attendees to evacuate the rink due to a “fire emergency.” The commotion proved to be a false alarm caused by a water leak.
Play resumed around 5:45 and St. Lawrence came close to scoring when a tripping penalty was called on Yale at 16:24 in the third period. The Saints pulled their goalie for an extra attacker 51 seconds into the power play and fired four shots at the Eli net. But Snikeris and the Yale defensemen foiled each attempt. The Elis killed off a total of three penalties during the contest to keep the Saints scoreless for 60 minutes.
“It’s really great to know that they can step it up like that,” Snikeris said of the defensemen. “They’ve been playing well all year, and it’s finally coming together for us. It’s great to be able to have confidence in them.”
The win against St. Lawrence gave the Bulldogs two more conference points — maintaining their eighth-place spot in the ECAC standings, and continuing the positive momentum the team has built since just before winter break.
“We definitely have just gotten a surge of confidence, and you could see it when we played Clarkson and St. Lawrence,” Snikeris said. “Just playing with that much more confidence gives you the ability to stay in games and win games. The team chemistry is also really coming together lately… We’re all getting along, and everything is clicking.”
The Elis are 3–1–1 in their last five games.
Yale returns to Ingalls Rink for the first of the weekend’s two games against Brown at 2 p.m. on Saturday.