WOMEN’S HOCKEY | Elis cling to playoff hopes

The Bulldogs need at least one win and one tie in the three games remaining in their season in order to keep their bid for an ECAC tournament berth alive.
The Bulldogs need at least one win and one tie in the three games remaining in their season in order to keep their bid for an ECAC tournament berth alive. Photo by Jennifer Cheung.

This weekend, the Yale women’s hockey team embarks on its final home weekend with its postseason hopes on the line.

After a tough weekend in which the Bulldogs (4–19–3, 3–13–3 ECAC) picked up one out of a possible four points, the team needs to win at least two out of its final three games to make the conference playoffs.

“Honestly, it doesn’t really change our preparation,” defenseman Kate Martini ’16 said. “We go into every weekend wanting to come away with four points, and this weekend is no different.”

The Elis take on Quinnipiac (17–10–4, 11–6–3 ECAC) on Friday night. In the teams’ last meeting just three weeks ago, the Bobcats came back for a 2–2 tie after Yale took a two-goal lead into the third period. Quinnipiac forward Kelly Babstock, the ninth-ranked scorer in the country, scored with 30 seconds in regulation left to tie the game.

“Since we already played them [so recently], we have a better idea of how they play and we know what to expect,” goaltender Jaimie Leonoff ’15 said.

Since Princeton (10–15–2, 5–13–2 ECAC) currently holds the eighth and final playoff spot with 12 points, three points and three spots ahead of Yale, the Tigers can eliminate the Bulldogs with a victory at Ingalls this weekend.

When the Tigers visit Ingalls Rink on Saturday, the game will have special meaning as the Bulldogs’ Senior Night. Seven seniors will be playing their final home match on Saturday night.

“Getting to know the seniors this year has been one of the most enjoyable parts of being a member of this team,” Martini said. “They are all such amazing people and players … and they will be greatly missed by our team next season.”

Leonoff agreed, saying that while Alyssa Zupon ’13 has done a great job as captain, all the seniors have been instrumental in guiding the team in the right direction.

One of the Elis’ biggest problems this season has been their struggles in close games. The Bulldogs have held a lead or been tied during the third period in five of their 13 conference losses this season.

“Mental toughness [is what] it’ll take for us to finish off games and to make sure that we win,” Leonoff said. “If you have the mentality that you can do your job perfectly, you’ll do it that way.”

In Yale’s last game against Princeton on Feb. 1, the Tigers scored three goals in the third period for a come-from-behind, 3–1 victory. That kind of comeback is exactly what the Elis want to avoid.

Although the Bulldogs wrap up their home season this weekend, they will play one additional game when they travel to Cambridge on Tuesday to take on No. 5 Harvard in a match rescheduled due to the recent snowstorm.

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