Playing at Ingalls Rink for the last time this year, the Yale women’s hockey concluded its regular season with a tie against No. 5 Harvard and a loss to Dartmouth.
The Bulldogs (8–14–7, 6–9–7 ECAC) were leading Harvard (21–4–4, 16–3–3) for most of the game on Friday, but a late comeback to make the score 3–3 prevented them from upsetting their rival for the second time this year.
The next day, Dartmouth (9–18–1, 8–13–1) poured 42 shots on Yale goalkeeper Jaimie Leonoff ’15 and came away with a 2–1 victory.
“We played very well against Harvard and played alright [against Dartmouth],” Leonoff said. “It came down to the fact that Dartmouth needed to win to make playoffs, and they really brought it.”
Leonoff worked hard to keep her team in the game in both contests, with 33 saves against the Crimson and 40 against the Big Green. Leonoff finished the regular season with a .922 save percentage.
Yale ends the season seeded seventh in the ECAC and will play in the first round of the conference championship tournament against second-seeded Harvard in a best-of-three series next week.
The Crimson took the lead early on Friday night with a goal just four minutes into the game. Harvard committed its first penalty soon after the goal, and the Bulldogs capitalized immediately to tie the score.
Forward Stephanie Mock ’15 won the faceoff following the penalty and passed the puck to forward Hanna Åström ’16. Åström sent it to defender Taylor Marchin ’17, who fired a long slap shot into the net just four seconds after the faceoff.
Near the end of the first period, forward Jackie Raines ’15 again scored on the power play. Defender Aurora Kennedy ’14 started the play with a hard slap shot off the pads of Harvard goalie Emerance Maschmeyer. The puck rebounded to the side, leaving Raines with a wide-open net.
After those two power-play goals against the best penalty kill unit in the country, Yale has scored seven power-play goals in seven games.
“We’re gelling together, just at the right time, too,” captain and defender Tara Tomimoto ’14 said. “We’ve been practicing our power play a lot in practice, so I think it’s paying off.”
Five minutes into the second frame, Yale extended its lead with another creative method of getting the puck past Maschmeyer, who was second in the nation in save percentage prior to the game.
Defender Madi Murray ’15 ripped a long slap shot to the left of the net, and the puck bounced off of the boards directly to forward Krista Yip-Chuck ’17 on the other side of the goal. Yip-Chuck easily netted a one-timer for Yale’s third goal of the night.
Harvard had almost a full two periods to recover, and that is exactly how long the comeback took, as Yale allowed one goal midway through the second period and another in the final minutes of the third.
The Bulldogs killed off two penalties in the third, and at the end of the second penalty they were just a minute and a half away from taking the victory. But 10 seconds after Yale went back to full strength, Crimson forward Sydney Daniels fired a shot off the post and in, sending the game into overtime.
Yale could not score in overtime despite a power play midway through the five-minute period, and the game ended with the score still tied.
Of the six conference games that the Crimson has not won, the Bulldogs have been the cause of two of them.
“Whenever we play Harvard, it’s a rival game, and it changes things,” Leonoff said. “We really bring it.”
Yale’s seventh seed in the ECAC playoffs was official before the team’s next game against Dartmouth, and so the Bulldogs had nothing to play for except to keep momentum going. The Big Green, however, needed a win to clinch a playoff spot.
Dartmouth’s offense was threatening right from the start, putting 19 shots on Leonoff in the first period, more shots than Yale would have in the entire game.
“I definitely think Dartmouth wanted it more than us,” Tomimoto said. “We didn’t have the same motivation.”
Leonoff stopped all but one Dartmouth shot in the first period, and a goal by Mock late in the first tied the score.
Yale went on the power play in the beginning of the second and came close to taking the lead when defender Kate Martini ’16 fired a slap shot off the post. The Bulldogs got four more power play opportunities in the second and third periods but could not capitalize on any of them.
The Big Green continued to take shot after shot on Leonoff, and a Dartmouth forward eventually put a hard slap shot past her in the second period.
Yale was unable to score for the remaining period and a half, mainly because Dartmouth’s offense dominated possession of the puck in Yale’s zone.
When the clock ran out, the Dartmouth players rushed to the net to celebrate their playoff berth. Yale’s best-of-three series with Harvard will begin on Friday in Cambridge.
“[Our play] seems to be getting better every weekend,” Leonoff said. “I’m very confident right now, and I know that we’re definitely in Harvard’s head.”
After the game, the Yale players lined up along the blue line for a ceremony honoring the Eli seniors after the last home game of their careers.
Tomimoto, Kennedy, forward Patricia McGauley ’14 and forward Paige Decker ’14 have appeared in a combined 335 games in their Yale careers.