The Yale women’s hockey team was able to eke out its second win of the season in exciting fashion, defeating the University of Connecticut 4–3 in overtime at Ingalls Rink on Friday.
The Bulldogs (2–10–0, 1–5–0 ECAC) faced off against the Huskies (2–12–2, 1–5–0 WHEA) in the semifinals of the Nutmeg Classic, overcoming a 2–0 deficit, before succumbing to No. 5 Boston College 5–0 in the tournament finals. The win over UConn was Yale’s first victory in a game in which the Elis trailed by two goals in over five years.
The first period was one all too familiar to the Bulldogs, as Connecticut picked up goals from Stephanie Raithby and Michela Cava to take an early 2–0 lead. Defender Kate Martini ’16 answered early in the second period, but a power-play goal from the Huskies with 17:10 left in the second period put the Elis down 3–1.
Captain Alyssa Zupon ’13 started the Bulldog comeback in the third period by corralling the rebound from defender Madi Murray’s ’15 shot and slotting it into the net. Forward Paige Decker ’14 deflected a shot from Martini to tie the game for her first career goal.
“It was great to get a goal in such a close game,” Decker said.
Goaltender Jaimie Leonoff ’15 kept UConn scoreless all the way through Martini’s game-winner, a long-range slap shot with 2:45 left in overtime.
“We had a tough draw of games since the start of the season, and it was definitely a great win for team confidence and morale,” Leonoff said.
Shot disparity has been a thorn in Yale’s side this year — opponents have outshot the Elis 482–216 — but the Bulldogs matched the Huskies shot-for-shot in the third period.
“We kept it positive, and in between periods we talked about staying focused and playing hard,” Decker said.
Yale lost the Nutmeg Classic Championship to Boston College despite Leonoff’s season-high 50 saves. The Eagles (8–3–2, 5–2–1 WHEA) have the third-highest scoring offense in the country and Yale surrendered 55 shots in the loss.
A week before, the Bulldogs played a pair of games against No. 4 Mercyhurst on Nov. 16 and Nov. 17 and lost both 4–0. Defender Aurora Kennedy ’14, who missed the entire 2011–’12 season due to injuries, made her season debut in the matchups against the Lakers.
“Aurora is a really talented defenseman,” Leonoff said. “We’ve had several injuries to our defensemen this year, so having someone as talented as Aurora will really make a difference in our game.”
Team members said the squad needs to keep playing smart hockey to maintain the team’s momentum.
“We need to keep our confidence high and believe in each other,” Decker said.
The Elis do not play this weekend, but they will return to the ice for games on the road against Union and RPI on Dec. 7 and Dec. 8.