WOMEN’S HOCKEY | Bulldogs look to end skid

Yale will take on the No. 4 ranked team in the nation twice this weekend.
Yale will take on the No. 4 ranked team in the nation twice this weekend. Photo by Maria Zepeda.

After hitting a recent rough patch, the women’s hockey team hopes to turn it around this weekend with a pair of games against No. 4 Mercyhurst.

The Bulldogs (1–7–0, 1–5–0 ECAC) come into the homestand after losing five straight, three of which came against teams currently ranked in the top six in the nation.

Earlier in the year, the Bulldogs looked to be turning things around from last season, when the team won one game all year, after capturing a hard-fought win over Colgate and narrowly losing to No. 2 Cornell. Since then, Yale has surrendered at least four goals in each game.

After last weekend’s losses to Clarkson and St. Lawrence, the Elis agreed that it will take a team effort to gain a victory.

“The most important thing at this point in the season is that everyone buys into what we are trying to accomplish,” defenseman Jamie Gray ’13 said.

The Yale defense will be tested this weekend by the potent Mercyhurst attack, which is currently second in the country with 4.92 goals per game. The Lakers are led by forward Christine Bestland, who has the third most points among all players in Division I.

Stopping an opposing offense often comes down to penalty kills, and special teams has been a problem for Yale this year. Yale has a 73.5 percent success rate on penalty kills this year, which is 10th in the conference. Mercyhurst, meanwhile, has converted on 25.71 percent of their power plays and ranks second in the country in power play goals.

Mercyhurst has been a national power since moving into Division I in the 1999-’00 season — the Lakers advanced to the NCAA Quarterfinals in each of the past eight years.

Last year’s meetings between the teams did not go well for Yale. The Bulldogs lost 9-1 and 6-2 despite Jaimie Leonoff’s ’15 115 saves in the two games combined. Her 63 saves in the 6–2 loss were the most by a Yale goaltender since 1998. Forward Janelle Ferrara ’16 said Leonoff’s skill between the pipes is crucial to the team’s success.

This year, a large portion of Yale’s offense stems from the freshman class. The team’s three leading scorers are Ferrara, Jamie Haddad ’16 and Kate Martini ’16 and Hanna Astrom ’16 has also made significant contributions. Ferrara is also the only Eli with a positive plus/minus on the season.

“Her presence in net and some of the huge saves she’s made help us get the momentum back,” she said.

This year, a large portion of Yale’s offense has stemmed from the freshman class. The team’s three leading scorers are Ferrara, Jamie Haddad ’16 and Kate Martini ’16, while Hanna Astrom ’16 has also had significant playing time. Ferrara is also the only Eli with a positive plus/minus on the season.

The Bulldogs are 0-12-1 in their all-time series against Mercyhurst.

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