Much of the focus this weekend will be on The Game at the Yale Bowl, but the women’s hockey team will also be on campus playing in two games that have important implications.
This Saturday and Sunday, the Bulldogs will get a chance to prove themselves against the number one team in the country, Minnesota (13–1–0, 11–1–0 WCHA). The Gophers had won 62 consecutive games before their 3–2 loss to North Dakota last Sunday.
“We know it’s definitely going to be a battle,” forward Jamie Haddad ’16 said. “Minnesota is not just going to hand it to us. I don’t think we’re going to be shocked at all.”
While the Gophers are hoping to rebound with a win, the Bulldogs (2-5-1, 2-3-1 ECAC) are looking to continue their momentum. They won their first two games of the season this past weekend against Rensselaer and Union and had earned their first point the weekend before by tying Quinnipiac 0–0.
Both Haddad and captain Tara Tomimoto ’14 said that the Elis are expecting a faster pace of hockey than what they saw this past weekend.
The Eli defense will need to curb the attack of Gopher forwards Hannah Brandt and Rachael Bona, who are tied for fourth in the nation with 20 points each.
“[Minnesota is] going to be very talented up front, and a very fast and skilled team,” Tomimoto said.
Yale is no stranger to tough competition, however, as four of the team’s eight games thus far have been against ranked opponents.
The Elis opened their season with losses to No. 7 Boston College and No. 9 Boston University by just one goal each game, but a week later they fell 7–0 to No. 8 Clarkson.
Haddad said that the team became too comfortable with its performance after the games against BC and BU and that the wins last weekend indicated a return to intense play.
“We took this weekend to really recollect ourselves and prepare for this coming weekend,” Haddad said.
Despite Yale’s recent success in the win-loss column, the team has seen a decline in its discipline on the ice. Last Sunday, the Elis faced 25 penalty minutes, leading to three Union power play goals.
The Bulldogs will play back-to-back games against the Gophers on Saturday and Sunday, a common scheduling format in the WCHA.
Tomimoto said that the consecutive games will be a good opportunity for Yale to get a victory.
“We’ll be able to get a sense of them playing on Saturday, and that will only be to our advantage on Sunday,” she said.
Haddad noted, however, that the fast pace may cause more fatigue on Sunday.
The Bulldogs took Tuesday off from practice in order to rest their legs in preparation.
“Having to play that type of game two nights in a row definitely takes a toll on your body, but that’s also something we’re anticipating and preparing for,” Haddad said. “Everyone knows that there’s no chance we’re going to win if we don’t show up to play.”
The two teams will face off at Ingalls Rink on Saturday at 4:00 p.m. and Sunday at 12:00 p.m.