The Yale women’s hockey team will look to continue its climb up the ECAC standings this weekend when it travels to No. 6 Cornell and Colgate.
The Bulldogs (7–10–4, 5–5–4 ECAC) will enter the weekend riding a five-game unbeaten streak for the first time since the 2005–06 season.
“I’m excited that we’re playing more competitively now, but we’ve still been riddled with some inconsistencies throughout our current streak,” forward Jamie Haddad ’16 said in an email to the News. “I’m definitely excited to see that we’ve improved this season, but there’s always more work to be done.”
A year earlier, in the 2004–05 season, was the last year that the Elis posted a record of 0.500 or better in the ECAC, a feat they can accomplish this year if they win more games than they lose in their final eight games.
The Bulldogs also played Cornell and Colgate on the same weekend earlier this month. That weekend, the Bulldogs beat the Raiders 6–4, but fell 3–0 to the Big Red the next day.
They were without top-scoring forward Phoebe Staenz ’17 for those two games and will be without her again this weekend. Staenz, who currently leads the Bulldogs with nine goals and 14 assists — despite playing in just 17 of Yale’s 21 games — will miss the rest of the regular season to represent Switzerland at the Olympics in Sochi. Staenz has been ECAC Rookie of the Week four times, ECAC Rookie of the Month one time and ECAC Player of the Week once in her freshman campaign.
“Phoebe is our biggest offensive contributor, and it’s disappointing that she won’t be in the lineup,” Haddad said. “We’re just going to have to work harder to get more shots off and make up for her absence. It won’t be easy, but we’re a team, and we’re not made up of just one person.”
Haddad herself as emerged as a new high scorer in recent games. She has netted four goals in the past six games and held a +3 plus-minus rating in that span.
Yale currently stands in seventh place in the ECAC, four points behind Quinnipiac in fourth but only one point ahead of the eight and ninth-place teams. The top eight teams make the conference playoffs in late February.
“Our goal is to finish within the top four of the ECAC,” captain Tara Tomimoto ’14 said. “I think this is very achievable and would put us in a good position for playoffs.”
Although the Big Red are ranked in the NCAA and shut out the Bulldogs earlier in the season, they have struggled in their past three games, with losses to Harvard and Clarkson and a tie at St. Lawrence.
Led by forwards Jillian Saulnier and Emily Fulton, Cornell’s offense is third in the nation with 3.57 goals per game.
If Yale hopes to win in this rematch, it will most likely need more offensive production against Cornell’s 11th-ranked defense. In the shutout earlier this year, the Bulldogs managed to put just 16 shots on net in the entire game, their second-lowest tally all season.
“We weren’t as prepared the first time we played Cornell,” Haddad said. “That was early in our season, and we’re a different team now.”
The game against Cornell will also serve as the second annual “Do It For Daron” event at Lynah Rink.
Daron Richardson, the younger sister of Big Red defenseman Morgan Richardson, took her own life at the age of 14 four years ago, and the “Do It For Daron” organization was founded in her memory to increase conversations about youth mental issues and prevent teenage suicide, according to Cornell’s website.
The expectations are higher for Yale in its matchup at Colgate, the last-ranked team in the ECAC.
Though Yale came out on top 6–4 against the Raiders earlier this month, the Bulldogs have had an issue playing low-ranking teams this season.
“I think it’s more about not playing with intensity for the entire game against weaker teams,” Tomimoto said. “We’ve changed up our warm-ups to help us get more ready to play with intensity from the drop of the puck. I think we just have to approach every game with the same mentality.”
The puck will drop at Cornell at 7:00 p.m. tonight, and the next day’s contest at Colgate will begin at 4:05 p.m.