WOMEN’S HOCKEY | Third period woes continue to plague Elis

Although the women’s hockey team held third-period leads in both of its games this weekend, it only came away with one point combined and further endangered the Elis’ chances of making the ECAC playoffs.

On Friday Yale fell 4–2 to RPI before drawing last-place Union 1–1 on Saturday at Ingalls Rink. With just three games remaining in the regular season, the Bulldogs stand in 11th place, three points out of 8th place — the final playoff spot.

“Our team has demonstrated that we have the individual and collective skills to be competitive with any team in this league,” forward Lynn Kennedy ’15 said. “It’s time we bear down, put those 60 minutes together, and come out with some wins next weekend.”

The Elis (4–19–3, 3–13–3 ECAC) started off the weekend against RPI (10–18–4, 8–10–2 ECAC) on Friday night. In the first period, defenseman Kate Martini ’16 scored after 7:03 of game action, but RPI’s Mari Mankey tied the game with less than a minute remaining in the period. After a scoreless second period, forward Danielle Moncion ’13 scored off an assist from defender Tara Tomimoto ’14 to retake the lead for the Elis early in the third period.

However, the lead did not last long. Alexa Gruschow scored twice in a 4:14 span and Jenn Godin put the nail in Yale’s coffin at the 14:52 mark to give the Engineers the 4–2 win.

Saturday’s game against Union was even more heart-breaking for the Bulldogs. The Dutchwomen (7–21–4, 0–16–4 ECAC) entered the game winless in conference play. They had lost 12 straight conference games. And after Martini scored to put the Elis on top 1–0 with 14:27 left in the third period, it seemed that Union’s streak would continue.

After pulling its goaltender and adding an extra attacker in the final 1:27, though, Union hit the jackpot when forward Rhianna Kurio fired a long shot past Yale goaltender Jaimie Leonoff ’15, who was screened on the play, with 16 seconds left in the game.

“It was definitely disappointing to let a goal in with such a short amount of time left in the game,” Kennedy said. “It’s important to take the positive that we were able to get energy going, but it was really tough to be so close and have the other team catch us in the third period.”

The teams then played a scoreless extra frame, giving the Bulldogs a bittersweet point in the ECAC standings.

In order to reach their season goal of making the ECAC playoffs, the Elis need to make up some major ground in the conference ladder. Princeton, Colgate and Brown all stand between Yale and the final playoff spot.

“This isn’t a position that we wanted to be in,” forward Jamie Haddad ’16 said. “Everyone knows we have to win every game left to make playoffs … but it’s an exciting challenge and it’ll provide us the motivation we need for the games ahead.”

Just two weeks ago, the Bulldogs found themselves in a similar predicament. The team lost two different third-period leads, falling 3–1 to Princeton on Feb. 1 and tying Quinnipiac 2–2 on Feb. 2.

“We’ve been getting out-worked in the third period and making mental errors due to fatigue,” Haddad said. “Our real struggle has been holding off goals and defending against other teams.”

Yale takes on Quinnipiac and Princeton this weekend at Ingalls Rink, followed by No. 5 Harvard on Tuesday in a makeup for a game snowed out by last weekend’s blizzard.

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