CAMBRIDGE, Mass. — The women’s hockey team’s three-game win streak and recent burst of ECAC success came to an abrupt end this weekend.
The Elis (9–13–3, 7–10–1 ECAC) suffered a 6–3 loss to Dartmouth in Hanover, N.H., on Friday before falling 4–3 in Boston to the No. 6 Crimson. The Big Green are now tied with the Bulldogs for eighth place in the ECAC after winning both of their games over the weekend.
“Going into [the weekend] we knew it was going to be tough, so it was a little mentally and physically draining,” defenseman Alyssa Clarke ’10 said. “I think we can still bounce back from it.”
On Friday, the Bulldogs were more competitive with the Big Green (10–12–2, 7–10–1) than the final score indicated. Yale remained within striking distance, just one or two goals, for the majority of the contest.
Dartmouth grabbed the lead at 3:42 in the first period when forward Sarah Toupal slipped the puck past goaltender Jackee Snikeris ’11. But it didn’t take the Elis long to respond: forward Alyssa Zupon ’13 knocked in a rebound on a Yale power play at 9:45 to tie the score.
The rest of the period didn’t see any more goals, but Toupal tallied her second goal of the night just 51 seconds into the next frame. Teammate Camille Dumais added another one at 3:19 to make the score 3–1. But Yale would not go scoreless for those 20 minutes, as Clarke netted the puck in the 13th minute to narrow the gap back to one point.
Dartmouth opened its lead up again two minutes into the third period, but Zupon struck back on another power play — tapping in a rebound from forward Bray Ketchum ’11 at 6:06 for her fifth goal of the season.
“Every chance she had she went to the net and she got the rebounds in front,” Ketchum said of Zupon. “We were trying to create traffic in front of the net and she did exactly what coach told her to do. They were both scrappy goals. She was in the right place at the right time.”
Down by one, Yale was unable to tie things up for the rest of the period. The contest still looked close until the Big Green scored a pair of goals in the 15th minute to put the game out of reach.
“It was basically really close throughout the whole game. It was back and forth and then [Dartmouth] got a couple breaks at the end,” Clarke said. “We had a lot of chances that we didn’t capitalize on and then I think we weren’t able to cash in our opportunities and we kind of lost our composure.”
The Elis had only one fewer shot on goal than the Big Green after two periods but were outshot 19–7 in the final frame.
The next day’s competition against the Crimson (15–5–4, 11–5–2) proved equally tough for Yale.
It seemed like both teams would finish the fast-paced, back-and-forth first 20 minutes tied at zero, but Crimson forward Randi Griffin scored a power play goal 21 seconds before the buzzer to give her team the lead heading into intermission. The Bulldogs were down two players at the time, after penalties were called on the Elis at 18:27 and 18:49 in the period.
And penalties were Yale’s undoing in the second frame.
The Cantabs scored three goals — two of which were on power plays — and kept the Elis battling in their defensive zone for nearly the entire period. Even when Yale got its own power play with a minute left before intermission, the Crimson still managed to shut down Eli offenders and had outshot Yale 16–5 by the end of the second stanza.
“Against Harvard, the entire second period was penalties so we had no flow, no rhythm,” coach Hilary Witt said.
Harvard remained up 4–1 for most of the third period, but the Elis tightened things up late in the game.
Ketchum started the rally at 15:41, knocking in a rebound from forward Aleca Hughes ’12. Defenseman Samantha MacLean ’11 continued to close the gap with another goal at 18:58.
Yale pulled Snikeris from net with 20 seconds left for an extra attacker, and the Elis rained shots on Harvard’s net as the final seconds ticked away. But time expired before the Bulldogs could capitalize again, and the Crimson recorded the win.
“We wanted the game and I think we definitely came out and played with a lot of heart in the third period,” Ketchum said. “I think had we had one or two minutes left, we would have tied it up and it just shows that we have to play with that intensity and heart throughout the 60 minutes.”
Clarke also said the Elis battled at the end, but added that Yale’s penalties and mistakes ultimately tipped the scale in Harvard’s favor.
“We’re going to need to play more consistently throughout the game if we’re going to have success, especially against teams like Harvard and Dartmouth who will capitalize against your every mistake,” she said.
The Bulldogs have only two weekends of ECAC play remaining. They need to remain in eighth place or better in the league standings to earn a spot at the postseason ECAC playoffs, which begin in late February.
Yale takes the ice next on Friday in a 7 p.m. home contest against Colgate.
“We just have to show up on Friday night and take it one game at the time,” Witt said. “I think our kids are excited to be in the hunt. Right now every game is a playoff game.”