Five games in nine days is a tough test for any team, but it is one the Yale women’s hockey team has passed with flying colors.
The Bulldogs (7–14–3, 6–9–2 ECAC) are unbeaten (2–0–1) in its last three games, its first streak since November. The team will have to pass another test this weekend when they travel to No. 2 Cornell and Colgate as they try to make up the mere two points in the ECAC standings they need to get back into the playoff picture.
In their last outing, the Bulldogs pulled off a brilliant third-period comeback against an R.P.I. team (10–12–7, 8–8–2) that is currently holding down the seventh spot in the ECAC standings, just four points ahead of the Blue and White. In that game, Jenna Ciotti ’14 tallied the game-tying goal, completing a six-point, five-goal week in which she earned both ECAC Player of the Week and Rookie of the Week honors. Before that, Ciotti and her teammates had experienced an offensive explosion, lighting the lamp 11 times in just three games. Perhaps most revealing of the Bulldogs’ progress this season, however, is that the tie in Troy avenged a 4–1 loss at the hands of the Engineers earlier this season.
With the challenge of a date with the nation’s No. 2 team looming Saturday, Friday night’s game against Colgate (9–17–2, 6–10–2) is a crucial one for Yale. The Raiders and Bulldogs are tied for ninth, just two points outside the eighth and final playoff spot. Yale took the teams’ last meeting 3–1 on Jan. 8, a game that saw forwards Aleca Hughes ’12, Bray Ketchum ’11 and Ciotti find the back of the net.
Cornell (23–1–1, 17–0–1) is currently first in the ECAC, their lone non-win in conference coming in an overtime tie with Clarkson last weekend. The Big Red’s lone loss came in an overtime contest before winter break against Mercyhurst, a team that has hovered at No. 5 in the nation.
After this week, the Bulldogs’ final three games are all at Ingalls Rink, and two of the teams, Princeton and Brown, are teams the Bulldogs have already taken down this season. The third, Quinnipiac, is having a strong season, and has already beaten the Elis twice.
“We’ve been in this situation many times before when it comes down to the last game or two and we need to win to hold onto a playoff spot,” captain Sam MacLean ’11 said after last weekend’s games. “In the past we’ve waited ’til it was too late to pick up the effort and then we had to depend on other teams to lose to make a playoff spot. This year I think we were more aware of how close it would get … and we’ve really picked up the effort in the past couple of games.”
Yale’s game at Colgate is slated to start at 7 p.m. tonight, while their Saturday game against Cornell is set to begin at 4 p.m.