The Yale women’s hockey team played its first games of the preseason this weekend against Concordia, a Canadian university.
The Bulldogs lost 6-1 in an exhibition game Saturday and 3-1 in a scrimmage the next day.
Despite the losses, Yale coach John Marchetti felt that the team played at the level he expected.
“Concordia has played six or seven games already this season, so we weren’t concerned [about the outcome],” Marchetti said.
Concordia played its first game October 6th, while Yale did not begin it on-the-ice practices until October 15th.
Saturday, it was evident that the Bulldogs were trying to get used to playing with one another.
“We got the first game jitters,” captain Katie Hirte ’02 said. “We made a lot of mental mistakes the first day.”
Hirte, the Elis’ goalie, was awarded MVP honors her sophomore season.
Last year’s MVP, Deanna McDevitt ’03, scored Yale’s lone goal Saturday.
“Nicole [Symington] had the puck at their blueline and she just shot it. The rebound came right to me so all I had to do was hit it in,” McDevitt said. “But in that game, we were running all over the place — you could tell it was our first time together.”
After McDevitt’s goal, Concordia responded with six unanswered goals, including two from Leanne McPhee.
Hirte and Nicolette Franck ’04 split time in goal, recording 15 and 20 saves respectively.
While the first game was played in three periods, Sunday’s scrimmage took an unusual format, with the teams playing two 25-minutes halves.
Still, Yale performed at a higher level than they had the previous day.
“You could tell we were a much more cohesive unit, and the mental mistakes kind of went away the second day,” Hirte said. “We were more focused and more calm with what we were doing.”
Erin Duggan ’05 scored Sunday’s goal for the Bulldogs. She is one of five freshman on the team.
“Having a young team means that there are girls who provide a lot of enthusiasm in the locker room,” McDevitt said. “Even though we only have two seniors, they are two great players for us.”
Sunday’s game was played without one of those seniors, Sara Wood, who was at an All-Star game in New England.
Even without Wood, the Bulldogs played a tighter game Sunday. But they did have trouble sustaining their momentum the entire game.
“In the second game we came out flat in the start of the second half,” McDevitt said. “We played better though, and I thought our defense improved a lot.”
Marchetti explained that he used the games to evaluate all the players on the team and experiment with different strategies.
“Right now our goal is to get better with each game,” he said. “I don’t expect anyone to be playing to their full potential at this point in the season — if they were, we’d be in trouble.” Marchetti said. “We’re looking to play our best in the second half of the season when we have a lot of league games.”
This weekend, the team travels to Detroit to play Wayne State University. Last season, the Bulldogs tied Wayne State 1-1 in a solid game in which Wood scored the tying goal with six minutes to go.
Like Concordia, however, Wayne State began its season several weeks ago, and will provide a challenge for Yale.
“They’ve played a lot of games so far, so we’re going to be concentrating on improving our game,” Marchetti said.
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