Roommates, parents, anxious state-level pee-wee hockey players and the men’s hockey team were all on hand for the women’s hockey team’s last home game Sunday at Ingalls Rink. But the Maine Black Bears were unfazed by the Yale crowd and skated to a 5-1 victory.
In Yale’s final home weekend of the season, the Bulldogs (3-21-2, 2-19-1) fell to the Bears (14-13-1, 9-12-1) 5-1 Sunday and to the University of New Hampshire (17-14-0, 13-9-0) 2-0 Saturday. Early goals by the opposing teams set the Elis back in both games, and the Bulldogs could not recover in either contest.
On Sunday, after a small award ceremony recognizing the players from the Class of 2001, an all-senior line took the first shift against Maine. But the heightened emotions of the afternoon seemed to distract the players, and Yale got off to a slow start.
“People were very emotional and it was a lot to swallow before the game,” goalie Nicolette Franck ’04 said. “It felt weird to go into a game after such a ceremony and get focused on the game.”
Both teams’ coaches summarized this unpredictable competition as being three periods — and three completely different games.
The Bulldogs, solid on the penalty kill through most of the season, fell behind early after giving up an uncharacteristic power play goal to the Bears in the fourth minute of play.
Franck was critical of her own play and cited her goaltending for the early goal.
“I felt like I let the team down, especially the senior class,” Franck said. “I just wasn’t focused, especially in the first period, which was too bad because the team had a really good game.”
But the Elis rebounded quickly as forward Gabrielle Goodfellow ’04 knocked in a shot only a minute later.
But the tie game did not last long. The Bears once again had the man-advantage in the eighth minute, and the red-hot power play line of Meagon Aarts, Karen Droog and Lauren Steblen connected for their second goal of the period.
Maine would add a third goal before the period was over.
“Maine’s third goal was a really weak goal, and I think that’s what really deflated the team,” Franck said.
But the Bulldogs showed resilience and dominated the second period, holding the Bears to only two shots. Unfortunately for the Elis, they couldn’t find the back of the net — a problem that plagued them all weekend.
“We just didn’t play hard enough to get that goal we needed in the second period when we dominated,” head coach John Marchetti said. “That was the turning point in the game.”
The third stanza exhibited yet another style of hockey as both teams played well in the fast-paced period. But it was Maine that capitalized on its opportunities.
Droog, who had already notched two assists on the afternoon, skated up the left boards untouched and let a rocket of a shot go toward Franck. The puck sailed in right over Franck’s shoulder to pull the Bears out into the lead 4-1 less than two minutes into the third period.
Maine would score again to seal the game at 5-1.
“The fifth one was just academic,” Marchetti said.
In Saturday’s match, it did not take long for the Wildcats to open up the scoring, either. The Wildcats tallied a goal on their first shift.
The Bulldogs looked flat in the first stanza and it showed in the shot totals, with the Elis sending only two shots on net all period.
But after a lackluster first 10 minutes of the game, Yale would skate the next 50 minutes to a 0-0 tie.
“We had more quality scoring chances in that game than they did,” Marchetti said. “Their goaltender just came up with some very good saves.”
Even though the Bulldogs utilized a wedge forecheck, bringing the defense into the offensive zone to create more scoring chances, the team just could not get any momentum built up in the Wildcats’ zone.
The Bulldogs had one chance to pull back into the game late in the third when New Hampshire’s Randi Hickox hauled down forward Deanna McDevitt ’03 and drew an interference penalty with six minutes left in regulation.
“We were trying to get a lot of shots from the point because their goalie gave up a lot of rebounds,” McDevitt said.
But the Elis could put nothing in the net, and the Wildcats skated away with the shutout victory.
“Compared to playing New Hampshire in the past, we did much better,” defender Jane Resor ’01 said. “We’re so much more competitive than we were my freshman year.”