WOMEN’S HOCKEY | Strong defense not enough for Elis

Yale gave up only 43 shots in two games for the first time since 2009 this weekend.
Yale gave up only 43 shots in two games for the first time since 2009 this weekend. Photo by Jennifer Cheung.

Despite allowing a season-low 18 shots on goal, the Yale women’s hockey team was unable to pull out a win Saturday afternoon against Brown, losing 2-1.

Brown forward Janice Yang struck first for the Bears at the 5:37 mark in the period, and just 18 seconds later forward Monica Massucci slotted a shot past goaltender Jaimie Leonoff ’15 to take an early 2–0 lead. Ashley Dunbar ’14 managed a goal with 2:25 left in the first period, her first of the year, but that was all the scoring the Bulldogs (3—15—1, 2—9—1 ECAC) could muster.

“We were pretty solid, but we had two breakdowns which resulted in goals,” defender Kate Martini ’16 said, “and that was, ultimately, all Brown needed to win.”

The Elis surrendered just 43 shots in total between Saturday’s game and their 3–2 victory over the Bears on Thursday. While they have given up more than that two-game total in a single game five times this year, their improvement over last year is evident: The team had 17 such games last season.

“The biggest difference … was definitely our shot blocking, especially on the penalty kill,” Martini said. “This has been a big focus in practice and it has definitely paid off.”

Although Yale was unable to score enough to get a sweep of Brown, the team found plenty of things to take away from the weekend.

Leonoff said the team has been competitive and is close to getting the results it wants. Martini agreed, saying that there is a “sense of confidence” after playing two solid games.

Additionally, the Bulldogs outshot an opponent for the first time all season.

“We were really getting in shooting lanes and controlling offensive play,” Leonoff said.

Martini said that the games against Brown constituted “one of our strongest weekends of the season,” and the numbers back her up. The last time the Bulldogs allowed only 43 or fewer shots in back-to-back games was Nov. 14 and 20, 2009.

Yale also posted a penalty kill percentage of .833 in its games against the Bears, well above the Bulldogs’ season average of .711.

This weekend, No. 4 Cornell and Colgate will visit Ingalls Rink for Alumnae Weekend. The Colgate game on Saturday will also be the third annual “White Out for Mandi,” honoring Mandi Schwartz ’10, who died of cancer in April 2011 after a more than two-year fight with acute myeloid leukemia.

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