Thirteen — that’s the number of players on the Concordia women’s ice hockey team that have played on the U.S. or Canadian national or Olympic teams. And Yale takes the ice against this powerhouse tonight.
The Yale women’s hockey team (2-16-1, 1-14-1 ECAC) was hoping to take this weekend a little bit easier as the squad faces two non-conference opponents at Ingalls Rink. But the Bulldogs will have to be at the top of their game if they want to take down the Concordia Stingers (13-9-1) from up north tonight.
“We can’t just show up and expect a win,” team captain Lisa Meyers ’01 said.
However, the Wayne State Warriors (4-14), only in their second year of existence, will prove to be a more manageable opponent as the Elis round out the series Saturday.
But the daughters of Eli know they can count out no one.
Tonight the Whale will host an exhibition rematch from the Elis’ first game of the season. The Bulldogs fell 7-2 in that contest against the Stingers, and hope to show their improvement with a better performance this second time around.
“We can definitely do better than we did in the beginning of the season,” Meyers said. “This will give us a chance to show our improvement.”
Meyers, the team leader in goals with eight on the season, has the ability to jumpstart the offense with the scoring opportunities that she can create. The key tonight and tomorrow will be putting the puck in the net. Not being able to finish has cost the Elis many games in the past.
Yale played well against Niagara last weekend when the two teams skated to a scoreless tie Sunday, and if the squad can muster up another defensive stand like that one, the Stingers could have a tough 60 minutes.
“We played a pretty good game against Niagara so hopefully we can pull some of that momentum into this weekend,” Meyers said.
The second half of this homestead is somewhat of a mystery for the Bulldogs. Yale has never faced the Warriors before and Wayne State, in its infancy, has an inconsistent record thus far this season.
“We haven’t heard anything about Wayne State, so we don’t know what to expect — which is maybe sort of a good thing,” defender Lauren Gulka ’01 said. “We’ll be able to go into the game with clear heads, not worrying about how they did against this team or that team.”
Despite this pair of games having no bearing on the ECAC rankings, the Elis are not going to let up.
And although nobody on the team may sit out of the game because of injury, forwards Gabrielle Goodfellow ’04 and Deanna McDevitt ’03 will be cautious.
Goodfellow was knocked out of the Niagara game last Saturday with a second-degree concussion while McDevitt, who leads the team with nine assists and is second in points with 13, injured her knee several weeks ago.
McDevitt’s injury could have debilitated the team, removing one of its most potent scorers from the ice, but McDevitt’s perseverance in the weight room and at practice has allowed her to get right back in the lineup.
“She’s definitely come a long way from her first game back,” Gulka said. “She doesn’t seem to be hesitating anymore, which is a good sign.”
Even though these games will not impact the ECAC standings, the Elis know they are important. Momentum gained this weekend could translate into some energy for next weekend’s games against No. 1 Dartmouth and ECAC cellar team Boston College — a weekend where the Bulldogs could pick up some desperately needed points.
“We’re definitely not going to take things any easier,” Meyers said.
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