The Yale women’s hockey team will end non-conference play at Providence this Friday in its final game of 2013.
The Friars (7–10–0, 3–5–0 Hockey East) boast a three-game win streak heading into the matchup, but the Bulldogs (3–8–1, 2–3–1 ECAC) ride a bit of momentum themselves, as they have won three of their last six games after starting the season with five straight losses.
“[Providence has] a lot of kids with size, and that’s how they try to play,” head coach Joakim Flygh said. “They cycle the puck a lot to use their size to their advantage.”
Flygh added that because of Providence’s size, Yale may have the advantage in speed. He said that the Bulldogs will use quick transitions to create opportunities against the Friars, who are sixth in the Hockey East with 3.5 goals allowed per game this season.
Of the Friars’ past three wins, one came against Brown, which currently has just one win, and the other two against winless Maine. Prior to the streak, Providence had lost seven consecutive games.
“I have no idea what to expect from them,” goaltender Jaimie Leonoff ’15 said. “They’re up, they’re down. They’ve been a pretty unpredictable team this year.”
In January 2013, the last time the two teams met, Providence came away with a 3—2 overtime victory.
The Friars finished 15–16–5 that year, while the Bulldogs were just 5–21–3. But Leonoff said this season is a different story.
“We’re a lot stronger this year, and they’re weaker compared to where they were last year,” Leonoff said. “We’ve definitely got the advantage this year.”
The Bulldogs’ offense has started to click recently, as it has scored at least two goals in four of the Elis’ last six games, with the other two games being losses to Minnesota, the number one team in the country.
Forwards Phoebe Stanz ’17 and Stephanie Mock ’15 both scored a goal in each of Yale’s past two games, against Connecticut and Quinnipiac.
Stanz also had three assists across the two games and was named ECAC player of the week for her efforts. She leads the team with 12 points this season despite missing two games when she played in a tournament for Team Switzerland in early November.
Yale’s ability to score on the power play may be a factor in the game, as the Friars are fourth nationally in penalty minutes with 236 and have allowed their opponents 14 power-play goals this season.
The Bulldogs are six for 44 on power-play opportunities thus far.
Flygh said that this week, the team’s forwards are focusing on burying their chances and getting rebounds off their shots.
“Especially in the Quinnipiac game this past week, we had some great opportunities but didn’t finish them,” Flygh said.
The Eli defense will need to work hard to keep the Friars out of its zone. Providence is third in the Hockey East in scoring, behind hockey powerhouses Boston College and Boston University.
Providence forward Corinne Buie is tied for third in the conference in points per game with 1.33, and forward Cassidy Carels leads the team with nine goals through the team’s 17 games.
Leonoff said that defense has been a focus for the Bulldogs in practice this week.
“We’ve been working on executing our systems a lot, and little things like decision-making, when to do what, little thinks like that,” Leonoff said.
The Bulldogs and Friars will face off in the Schneider Arena at 7:00 p.m. on Friday.