Cornell-Colgate weekend marked a turning point for the women’s hockey team way back in December — Yale emerged from a weekend pair of conference games without a loss for the first time all season. The Bulldogs (9–13–3, 7–10–1 ECAC) will quest for a similar comeback when they face the New York squads again, this time at Ingalls Rink, on Friday and Saturday.
After going 6–1–0 in the seven games between Jan. 15 and Jan. 31, the Elis finally saw their momentum end last weekend with 6–3 and 4–3 losses to Dartmouth and Harvard, respectively. Only four games remain in the regular season and Yale is clinging to eighth place in the league standings — the final spot that qualifies for the ECAC Hockey playoffs in late February.
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The Bulldogs currently have a one-point lead in the conference tallies on 10th-place Colgate, which makes Friday night’s game a crucial meeting for both sides.
“Basically to stay in the running for the playoffs we have to win these games,” defenseman Alyssa Clarke ’10 said. “I think if we stay loose and we stay focused, we can win both games.”
The Red Raiders (9–17–4, 5–9–4) have been inconsistent this season, most recently splitting a pair of home games with a win against Princeton and a loss to Quinnipiac the next day. Colgate forward Katie Stewart has led the team’s offense. She tops the ECAC in goals scored with 18 and has the second-most points in the league.
The Bulldogs blanked Colgate 3–0 in their first clash of the season.
In fact, the Elis almost got two wins from their last meeting with the New York teams. The Bulldogs were 13 seconds away from upsetting then-No. 6 Cornell, 2–1, but the Big Red pulled their goalie as the final frame wound down, and forward Melanie Jue capitalized with the extra attacker right before time expired. Goaltender Jackee Snikeris ’11 racked up 38 saves that day to preserve the 2–2 tie, an impressive tally that followed her 43-save effort against Colgate the day before.
“They both are teams that we’ve done well against in the past, so I think that gives us confidence going into it,” Clarke said of this weekend’s matchups. “We know that [Cornell] is going to be probably the tougher of the two games, so we’re going to go out there and give it our best.”
While the Big Red (11–8–6, 10–2–6) have since fallen to No. 14 in the country, they remain second in the ECAC with 26 points — just three behind league-leader No. 4 Clarkson. Cornell’s special teams also rank high in the national standings. The Big Red’s power play is the third-best in Division I hockey, converting at a 21.4 percent clip. Cornell’s penalty-kill squad tops the nation with 84 kills on 87 penalties this season — a 96.6 percent success rate.
This weekend also marks the final pair of regular-season home contests for the Eli seniors.
“It’s definitely kind of a more emotional weekend for our class, playing our last games at home and everything,” Clarke said. “We’re just hoping to finish strong.”
The puck will drop for Friday’s contest against the Red Raiders at 7 p.m. The Big Red come to town for a 4 p.m. start on Saturday.