After Princeton scored a short-handed goal in the second period to put the Tigers up 2–0 on Saturday, all hope seemed lost for the women’s hockey team.
One day before, the Bulldogs had suffered a big 4–0 loss to Quinnipiac. Also on Friday, Princeton topped Brown 2–1 to eliminate the Elis from ECAC playoff contention.
However, on Saturday’s Senior Night, the class of 2013 stepped up and rallied the Bulldogs (5–20–3, 4–14–3 ECAC) past Princeton 4–2 to cap a huge comeback victory and end their home season with a bang.
“We’ve always tried to lead by example, just going out there and working hard for a full 60 minutes and staying positive no matter what,” goaltender Erin Callahan ’13 said. “Everybody did their job and contributed, and it combined for a great result.”
Friday’s game against Quinnipiac (19–10–4, 13–6–3) was not nearly as smooth as the teams’ first meeting, a 2–2 draw on Feb. 2 in which the Bobcats’ backup goalie, Chelsea Laden, yielded two goals in the first period. This time, however, Quinnipiac scored on a short-handed goal near the end of the first period and added three more in the final frame. Goaltender Jaimie Leonoff ’15 had 48 saves, but Yale mustered only 12 shots on goal.
“Collectively, we didn’t play well with each other,” forward Jamie Haddad ’16 said. “We have good team chemistry in general, but we didn’t on Friday.”
Despite the Bulldogs’ elimination from playoff contention, team members said there was still a lot to play for.
“We knew that if we won, we would eliminate Princeton,” Haddad said. “We were definitely trying to give it our all … for revenge, for our last hurrah and for our graduating class [of seniors].”
That motivation was not evident until later in the game, however. With 4:43 left in the first period, Princeton’s Olivia Mucha took a pass from Rose Alleva in center ice, skated around Yale defenders and blasted the puck past Callahan, who was making her second start of the season.
A golden opportunity turned into what seemed like the death knell for the team. On a Yale power play in the second period, the Tigers stole the puck in their own zone and converted the ensuing breakaway to push the lead to 2–0.
Just a few minutes later, the Bulldogs began to strike back. Seven seconds into a power play, forward Aurora Kennedy ’14 had a shot redirected into the net by captain Alyssa Zupon ’13.
In the third period, Yale put it all together, starting with a goal from forward Natalie Wedell ’13 at the 6:48 mark of the period to tie the game 2–2. It was her first career goal.
“We desperately needed that goal, but [the goal] meant so much more than just tying the game,” Haddad said. “Getting her first goal at such an important time fired up the team for the rest of the game. It changed the entire momentum.”
Less than five minutes later, forward Lynn Kennedy ’15 converted off a pass from forward Hanna Åström to deliver the first Yale lead of the game. An empty-netter from defenseman Tara Tomimoto ’14 sealed the deal with 35 seconds remaining. After the 4–2 win, the team mobbed Callahan, who posted 34 saves to get her first career win.
“It was unreal. … I couldn’t have asked for better support from my team,” Callahan said. “The whole thing felt kind of like a fairy tale ending.”
Other seniors playing in their final home game were defenseman Jamie Gray ’13 and forwards Danielle Moncion ’13 and Jen Matichuk ’13. Defenseman Emily DesMeules ’13 dressed but did not play for the first time since her career-ending injury earlier in the year.
The Bulldogs take on No. 5 Harvard on Tuesday night in their final game of the season.