Traveling to upstate New York for back-to-back games with only 13 skaters, it would have been easy for the women’s hockey team to succumb to its early-season setbacks.
But with only 45 seconds remaining in overtime against Colgate (4-7-1, 0-3-1 ECAC-North) Saturday, forward Nicole Symington ’05 scored to give Yale (4-4-1, 1-2) a 4-3 league victory and a split on the weekend. The overtime victory came on the heels of a disappointing 4-1 Friday night loss to Cornell (2-8, 1-3).
“Nicole just booked it all the way down the ice with about three girls on her and put it on net,” said forward Deanna McDevitt ’03, who recorded three goals on the weekend.
Symington’s goal salvaged the game for the Bulldogs, who had given up a 3-1 lead in the third period.
“We worked hard and used just about every bit of energy we had left,” said head coach John Marchetti. “We never quit and kept working hard even after we went ahead and let [Colgate] back in the game.”
Injuries to forwards Wallis Finger ’04 and Erin Duggan ’05 and defender Amy LeClair ’03 forced the Elis to play back-to-back games with only 13 skaters.
“It’s just something we have to deal with, and I think we’re working with it as well as we can,” captain Katie Hirte ’02 said of the team’s injury-ridden lineup.
The Bulldogs did not appear fatigued from their game the night before as they got off to a quick start against the Raiders, outshooting them 12-4 in the first period. Just under two minutes into the game, Erika Hockinson ’04 picked up a Colgate turnover and hit a wide-open McDevitt, who put the puck low on the right side past Colgate goaltender Lindsay Bourne.
Six minutes later, Colgate retaliated when Cheryl Setchell tied the game off an assist from Kristin Cirbus.
The second goal of the game came during a line change 7:39 into the second period. As McDevitt skated into the offensive zone off the bench, she was hit by a pass from Gabrielle Goodfellow ’04 and scored her second goal of the game to put Yale back on top with a 2-1 lead.
Tara O’Donnell ’04 scored an unassisted goal 3:42 into the third period that increased the Elis’ lead to 3-1, but Colgate’s Amanda Barre capitalized on a turnover in Yale’s defensive zone, scoring an unassisted goal to narrow the score to 3-2 with under five minutes remaining in the game.
Coinciding penalties to both teams resulted in four-on-four play, but the Raiders opted to pull Bourne and skate five players. The plan worked, with Heather Murphy scoring from the point off an assist from Setchell to send the game into overtime.
In the extra period, it appeared that the Raiders might come out on top, as they peppered goaltender Hirte with six shots.
“[Hirte] really saved us a few times,” McDevitt said. “She had tons of two-on-ones that she stopped. They were in our end for most of the overtime, and we were kind of just hanging on.”
Hirte finished the game with 30 saves.
With under a minute to play in the game, Symington collected the puck from the boards and evaded several Raider defenders, backhanding a shot past Bourne for the game winner.
“It was a really good comeback for our team, but we probably should have won without overtime,” Symington said. “But then to persevere and get the win was important for the team.”
Friday night, the Bulldogs’ performance was not as strong, as the team lost to Cornell 4-1 in a game in which 12 penalties were assessed.
“We took some untimely penalties that we just couldn’t take with a team with only 13 skaters,” Marchetti said. “There was not enough energy to kill penalties, and we didn’t generate a lot of offense as a result.”
The game was scoreless through the first period, with Cornell outshooting Yale 9-2. Brooke Bestwick broke the tie when she scored 9:29 into the second period while the teams were skating four-on-four due to coincidental minors on Goodfellow and Cornell’s Sarah Olivier.
Six minutes into the third period, Cornell’s Jenel Bode hit Lindsay Murao, who put the puck past Yale goalie Nicolette Franck ’04. From there, the Bulldogs’ play was fairly flat.
“It seemed like after they got up one or two goals the game was over for us,” Symington said.
Olivier tallied a power-play goal at 13:43 after Yale was penalized for having too many players on the ice, and McDevitt responded a minute later when she scored a wraparound power-play goal of her own.
Unfortunately for the Elis, that would be their only goal of the night. Olivier, assisted by Lara Kelly and Bode, scored the Big Red’s second power play goal at 17:41, and the game ended with a final score of 4-1.
“After that game we decided that we needed to dig down a little deeper and win the one-on-one battles on the boards and get possession of the puck,” McDevitt said. “We were kind of sitting back against Cornell and letting them dictate play.”
Franck recorded 23 saves in the loss.
“Nicolette had it a little tougher because Cornell had a little bit more of a edge on us,” Marchetti said. “[Both goalies] are keeping us in games to win and we just need to help them out by scoring goals.
He also noted that because the team was without so many players, it was difficult to evaluate progress from past games. However, Marchetti said he was satisfied with his team’s performance.
“We came up with a split this weekend which, given the circumstances, I’m happy about,” he said.
This weekend, the team will play two home games, facing Quinnipiac Saturday at 4 p.m. and national powerhouse University of New Hampshire at 2 p.m. Sunday.