The women’s hockey team enters the weekend playing not only to position themselves in the standings this weekend at Ingalls Rink with their first win, but also for something much bigger.
Tomorrow night, the Bulldogs are hosting “White Out for Mandi,” an event they hope will yield one of the biggest outpourings of support yet for their teammate Mandi Schwartz ’11, who has been battling leukemia since 2008. The Bulldogs have found donors to pledge money for every person who walks through the door of Ingalls Rink Friday night, so the more people who come, the more money to Mandi and her cause. The team has been selling T-shirts for the game with the number 17, Schwartz’s number, printed on them in order to raise additional money.
Anyone who attends tomorrow night’s contest will also be treated to an ECAC showdown between the Bulldogs (0–4–2, 0–1–1 ECAC) and RPI (3–6–2, 2–2). Yale has struggled early this season, but has shown flashes of brilliance, including a 3–3 draw at Harvard. The Bulldogs’ hadn’t tied or won in Cambridge since 1981. Erin Callahan ’13 stepped up to fill the void left by Jackee Snikeris, who went down with a knee injury early in the season, and made 32 saves in the Elis’ tie against the Crimson. Snikeris’ knee injury does not appear to be season-ending, and Genny Ladiges ’12 will likely be between the pipes Friday night, having made 65 saves in her past two games against Hockey East foes Providence and Northeastern.
Besides the loss of Snikeris, the Bulldogs have also had to contend with getting accustomed to a new coach and welcoming a promising group of freshmen into the fold. Over half the team’s goals have come from freshmen, and Patricia McGauley ’14 (who will be singing the national anthem at the White Out), Jackie Raines ’14 and Aurora Kennedy ’14 are all in the team’s top five in scoring.
McGauley, Raines, Kennedy and the rest of the Bulldogs will take on an RPI team that is coming to Ingalls fresh off a 2–0 win against Quinnipiac last Saturday. The Engineers are led by Jill Vandegrift, who has seven points, and their goalie, senior Sonja van der Bliek, who is one of the premier puck-stoppers in the ECAC. She has played to a .943 save percentage this season, and will pose a challenge to a Yale offense that is still settling in to a new system and set of personnel.
Union’s Dutchwomen (1–9–0, 0–4) come to town Saturday night having dropped an OT decision to Princeton in their last outing. Their top scorers are juniors Kelly Alyea and Lauren Hoffman, each with two goals.
But regardless of the outcome this weekend, Yale knows they have the support of a school and community behind them as they mobilize support for their Schwartz.
“We’re so pumped for the White Out,” junior Aleca Hughes ’12 said. “It’s so great to have the support of the school and the hockey community around us. It’s going to be a fun weekend.”