The women’s ice hockey team saw a disappointing start to the season this weekend with back-to-back losses at Ingalls Rink.
The Bulldogs, who finished last season with a conference record of 8–12–2, challenged the Niagara University Purple Eagles on Friday night and the Northeastern Huskies on Saturday afternoon, resulting in losses of 1–5 and 0–7. Because neither game was a league game, the results will not count toward the team’s official standing in the Eastern College Athletic Conference, and team captain and forward Aleca Hughes ’12 described them as a “learning experience.”
“We can’t let these games define our season — even though we have a long way to go as a team,” head coach Joakim Flygh said.
Friday’s game started with a fast-paced first period: no penalties were incurred, and Niagara forward Kelsey Welsh managed to score off a rebound at 14:48. The second period opened with back-to-back penalties for the Bulldogs, giving the Purple Eagles over a minute of five-on-three play and the opportunity to score a second goal at 3:09. At the 6:50 mark, forward Kalli Funk managed to shoot the puck off the post and get it past Yale goalie Genny Ladiges ’12, sending the Bulldogs into the third period down by three points.
Yale’s game was marked by penalties. The Elis were whistled for their sixth under two minutes into the final period.
“We need to stay out of the box next time,” Hughes ’12 said.
However, the Elis soon got their own power play, allowing their first goal at 4:24, when forward Jackie Raines ’14, assisted by Alyssa Zupon ’13 and Stephanie Mock ’15, got the puck past Niagara goalie Abby Ryplanski. But any hopes of a Yale comeback were shot down as Niagara scored its fourth and fifth goals at 5:37 and 12:49.
On Saturday, Yale played well in the first two periods against Northeastern, the No. 8 ranked team in the country. Yale trailed 1–0 after the first period despite being outshot 9–16. Huskies forward Dani Rylan scored her team’s second goal at 7:11 of the second period, but at 17:43 and 17:55, a pair of goals for Northeastern brought the Bulldogs into the third period down 4–0.
Four Yale penalties in the final period gave Northeastern three power play goals against the Bulldogs resulting in the Huskies’ win, 7–0.
In both games, Yale had more penalty minutes (14–6 and 12–8) and fewer shots (30–42 and 21–30) on goal than either Niagara or Northeastern. The Bulldogs had a total of four power play goals scored against them this weekend.
“It was frustrating that we wound up in the penalty box more,” Ladiges said in an email. “At times it was due to circumstances out of our hands, but we need to keep on moving our feet and be smarter with our sticks and bodies. It’s tough to win games when you’re consistently a man down.”
Forward Paige Decker ’14 agreed that the team was disappointed with their losses, but added that the Bulldogs increased their shots on goal and had more scoring opportunities in Saturday’s game.
“We were pretty happy with that improvement,” she said.
The Bulldogs have to contend with several out-of-commission players in their early season, forcing Flygh to shift around players’ positions. He said he was “scrambling” with the injuries and illnesses facing the team.
Kelsey Summers ’15 is out with an illness, defenseman Emily DesMeules ’13 fractured her ankle halfway through Friday’s game, and Tara Tomimoto ’13 and Aurora Kennedy ’14 are both out with concussions.
Still, Hughes said Leonoff and the rest of the freshmen on the team are extremely talented and have potential. Goalie Jaimie Leonoff ’15 started against Northeastern and finished her first game for the Blue and White with 35 saves.
“This week we’ll focus on putting forth a consistent effort each and every day for the duration of our practices and hopefully build off of this next weekend,” Ladiges said.
The Bulldogs will play their first two conference games of the season next weekend at Cornell and Colgate.