Twice this weekend, the Yale women’s hockey team took a lead into the third period. And twice, the Bulldogs failed to hold on, losing 3–1 at Princeton on Friday and tying Quinnipiac 2–2 on Saturday.
The Elis (4–17–2, 3–11–2 ECAC) could not capitalize on their leads, and the team now sits in 10th place in the conference, two points shy of Princeton and the eighth and final ECAC playoff spot.
“If we’re going to make the playoffs, we have to be better in the third period,” defenseman Tara Tomimoto ’14 said.
In Friday’s contest against Princeton (4–10–2, 9–12–2 ECAC), Stephanie Mock ’15 broke a long scoreless streak for both teams just over a minute before the second period ended. But the Tigers were able to strike back with three goals on 14 shots in the final period, including an empty-net goal after the Bulldogs pulled goaltender Jaimie Leonoff ’15 in an attempt to generate more offense.
The outcome against Quinnipiac on Saturday was in many ways a tougher pill for the Elis to swallow. Yale struck first again, scoring twice in the first period on goals from forwards Hanna Åström ’16 and Patricia McGauley ’14.
After the period ended, Quinnipiac switched goalies, bringing in regular starter Victoria Vigilanti, who did not allow a goal the rest of the game.
“It’s always great when the opposing team realizes they’ve underestimated you and regrets putting their backup goalie in,” forward Jamie Haddad ’16 said.
The Bobcats finally broke through with two goals in the third period, including one from forward Kelly Babstock, the seventh-leading scorer in the nation. Babstock’s score, with just 30 seconds remaining in regulation, tied the game at two apiece, and after a scoreless overtime period, the game ended in a draw.
“Losing the lead in the last 30 seconds of a game is really hard,” Leonoff said. “I’d rather us tie a game coming back from a deficit than giving up a lead.”
Haddad agreed, saying that it was heartwrenching to let the win slip through the team’s fingers in the final minute.
The third period collapse undercut a strong performance from Yale’s penalty-killing unit, which stopped three Quinnipiac power plays and has stopped 19 power plays in a row over the past five games.
“We need to be tougher in the third period,” Leonoff said. “The opportunities that [Quinnipiac and Princeton] scored on in the third period — those are opportunities we prevented the whole game.”
In order to get back into the playoff hunt, the Elis will need to earn some points in this week’s games at No. 3 Harvard and Dartmouth.
“Hopefully we can take the fire that we came out with during the first period on Saturday and carry that through the whole 60 minutes this weekend,” Haddad said.
Yale has six games remaining in the season.