The women’s hockey team did not get the results it hoped for in Vermont this weekend and they may have caught a glimpse of a tough road ahead this year.
Rookies Jenna Ciotti ’14 and Patricia McGauley ’14 scored the only two goals of Yale’s trip north and the Bulldogs (0–1–1) opened their season with a 1–4 loss and a 1–1 tie against the Vermont Catamounts (1–2–3) this weekend.
The Bulldogs showed signs of rust at times in Friday’s opener, as they were outshot 33–18 and had twice as many penalty minutes as the Catamonts. The first of those penalties was especially costly, as Vermont’s Teddy Fortin beat goalie Jackee Snikeris ’11 late in the first period after Danielle Moncion ’13 was sent off for checking. The Bulldogs survived any further damage in the frame, although Vermont outshot them, 10-6.
The Catamounts widened their lead midway through the second period, when Saleah Morrison was alone in the slot and banked a shot off a Yale defender into the net.
“We just left girls wide open in front,” Snikeris said. “Our wings just led them slide past them. That’s something we have to work on.”
But Ciotti put the Bulldogs back in the game with a goal only seven minutes later. She picked up a loose puck off the skate of linemate Jackie Raines ’14 and sent a sharp wrist shot over the left shoulder of Vermont goaltender Roxanne Douville. That goal came with assists from Raine and Bray Ketchum ’11, the top scorer on last year’s team.
“[Ciotti and Raines] had chemistry together from day one, since they had the chance to play together on Team Ontraio,” said head coach Joakim Flygh. “They’ve been a little snakebitten in terms of scoring on the chances they generate, but as they continue to improve, they’ll complement [Ketchum] well.”
Ciotti’s goal was not enough. Vermont’s Peggy Wakeman added another goal early in the third, and the Catamounts sealed the game when Celeste Doucet scored shorthanded on Yale’s empty net with 30 seconds left on the clock.
Flygh cited a lack of consistent focus and energy as a primary reason for the Bulldogs’ troubles in the opener. But the Yale team regrouped Saturday morning and played Vermont to a hard fought, 1–1 tie.
“The main difference between the two games was our willingness not to lose battles, to not give up,” Ciotti said. “We won all the small battles and that really showed the effort we made as a team.”
Although the Bulldogs were once again outshot — this time 32 to 24 — goaltender Genny Ladiges ’12 stood on her head and turned 31 aside. Vermont outshot the women in blue and white by a wider margin each period, but neither Ladiges nor her Catamount counterpart allowed a puck to cross the goal line until a Vermont’s Peggy Wakeman blasted a slap shot past Ladiges half a minute into the final frame.
The Bullldogs refused to quit. With four minutes left in the game, Alyssa Zupon ’13 won a faeoff and McGauley notched her first collegiate goal with a snap shot that caromed off Vermont goalie Kelci Lanthier’s helmet and into the goal.
McGauley attributed her own success to the team’s efforts, and Flygh echoed the sentiment.
“Our kids have figured out how hard you have to play to be competitive in hockey games, and that was the big change from game to game,” he said. “We competed for 65 minutes Saturday and competed not necessarily for all of the 60 on Friday.”
The five extra minutes in Saturday’s game were overtime, when the Bulldogs continued to threaten. Aleca Hughes hit the crossbar for the second time in the game 30 seconds into the extra period, but the Bulldogs could not generate any further offense.
The Elis said they will go into their week of practice conscious of the weaknesses they showed in Vermont.
“We have to get open and support our teammates,” Snikeris said. “We have to compete and battle for every loose puck and get it out past the blue line. We created too many turnovers in our own zone this weekend.”
The Bulldogs will look to skate out strong in their league opener next Friday, when they take on Harvard in Cambridge, where Flygh used to assistant coach. The Crimson won both rivalry games last year. But this year’s Bulldogs are a young team who have learned many lessons already, according to Flygh.
“The kids now know what kind of effort they’re going to have to put in every week,” he said. “It doesn’t matter who we play — we’re going to have to work extremely hard to be successful. I told the kids before the game Friday: we have to jump into the water and learn how to swim again.”