The women’s hockey team capped its 2001 season against two New York rivals with two disappointing losses.
Yale (3-23-2, 2-21-1 ECAC) was shut out 4-0 March 3 by St. Lawrence (23-7-3, 18-4-2) before falling 4-2 March 4 to Ivy foe Cornell (10-18-1, 7-16-1).
At Cornell, the Bulldogs hoped to secure their second Ivy League win of the season, but the Big Red had other things in mind.
“Cornell is a tough place to play, that’s for darn sure,” head coach John Marchetti said.
Capitalizing on two first period power plays, Cornell jumped out to a two-goal lead and tripled Yale’s shot total 15-5 in that period. The Big Red’s leading scorer, Erica Olsen — who had a hand in all four Cornell goals — tallied the first goal six minutes into play before assisting teammate Patricia Kemp on the second goal eight minutes later. This was a rare sight for Yale’s usually strong penalty-killing unit.
“They played like they knew what they needed to do to win,” goalie Nicolette Franck ’04 said. “We didn’t play well at all. It was embarrassing.”
Two ill-timed penalties on the Cornell side of the puck gave Yale a golden five-on-three comeback opportunity late in the first period, but the Bulldogs failed to convert.
Olsen posted another goal and an assist in the second stanza before Yale forward Deanna McDevitt ’03 broke the shutout with only seconds left in the second.
“The catalyst was we played our fourth line with forwards Tara O’Donnell ’04 and Michelle McGoey ’03, and that got things going,” Marchetti said.
McDevitt’s line was on fire as she and linemates Lisa Meyers ’01 and Sara Wood ’02 battled back to score a quick goal in the third period.
But that was as close as the Bulldogs came.
“I thought the momentum had finally turned in the third and then we got four straight penalties,” Marchetti said. “And many of them didn’t look like penalties to me.”
Franck replaced Katie Hirte ’02 between the pipes for the last 20 minutes.
“We felt Nicky could shut the door and she did,” Marchetti said, as Franck turned away eight shots in the final stanza, but to no avail.
The Bulldogs’ slow start against Cornell came in part because of their 4-0 shutout the night before, against St. Lawrence. The Saints showed their visitors no mercy.
In a painful second period, the Elis were only able to post one shot on net, and St. Lawrence slid a shot past Hirte. But Hirte turned away 15 Saint shots to keep the game within reach at 1-0.
“We did a great job keeping them on the perimeter,” Franck said. “Holding them to one goal for the first two periods was quite an accomplishment for us.”
But Yale could not find the back of the net in the third while St. Lawrence knocked in three more goals in the final 10 minutes.
“We played the first 40 minutes strong, but then they really started to dominate,” Marchetti said.
Despite the losses, McDevitt said she was still glad the team earned its first Ivy League win in over a decade.
Overall, Marchetti described this season as an enigma.
“This is the best team we’ve ever had step on the ice,” he said. “There’s no question about that.”
What the Elis lacked all season was the explosive goal-scoring power. The team’s leading line of McDevitt, Meyers and Wood provided leadership and accounted for almost half of the team’s goals, but the second and third line’s production was not there to support them.
“We haven’t found the right chemistry,” Marchetti said. “When we needed the big goal, it just never came.”
Although the loss of five key seniors to graduation may hurt the team, this year’s crop of freshmen was the strongest in years, and everyone is looking to next year’s recruiting class with high hopes.
“Every year the freshman class gets stronger and stronger,” McDevitt said.