This weekend marks not only a homecoming for the women’s ice hockey team, but also for two coaches who played under Yale head coach John Marchetti.
After splitting last weekend’s trip to Cornell and Colgate with an injury-depleted cast of characters, the Bulldogs return home to face Quinnipiac Saturday and No. 5 New Hampshire Sunday. Both Braves’ head coach Amanda Adams ’97 and Wildcats’ head coach Karen Kay played for Marchetti-led teams prior to entering the coaching profession.
In both contests, the Bulldogs are hoping to continue their strong play with a small bench.
“There are some girls nursing some pretty bad injuries but the decision if they are playing won’t be made until probably after Friday’s practice,” Erin Duggan ’05 said.
Duggan, who was one of several players out of the lineup last weekend with a concussion, has been cleared to return to the ice for the Bulldogs.
After falling 4-1 to Cornell last weekend, Yale rebounded with a 4-3 overtime win at Colgate, with Nicole Symington ’05 tallying the deciding goal. Forward Deanna McDevitt ’03 contributed two goals in the OT victory, in addition to scoring the lone Eli goal in Ithaca.
“This weekend I think our goal is to continue to the intensity we exhibited against Colgate last weekend,” said defenseman Kaitlin Porcaro ’03.
This week in practice, the team continued to focus on increasing its offensive output through more pressure on the forecheck and quicker and smarter shot selection.
In goal, the tandem of captain Katie Hirte ’02 and Nicolette Franck ’04, which combined for 53 saves last weekend, should continue to keep the Bulldogs in a position to win games, provided that the team is able to capitalize on opportunities in front of the net.
“Our goal is to get the puck going to the net,” Duggan said. “The team is ready for this weekend and even if our bench shortens up, I think the type of team we have will step it up.”
This weekend’s games contain an interesting subplot in that both opposing coaches have played under Yale head coach John Marchetti.
Quinnipiac, whom the Bulldogs face at 4 p.m. Saturday, is in its first year as a Division I program. Having played on the the ice during her college days, Adams said she is excited to return to “The Whale.”
“It will be fun,” Adams said. “I’m friends with some people on the team because I see them every year at the alumni game. This is the first year Quinnipiac will play Yale in either men’s or women’s ice hockey and hopefully we’re starting a great tradition.”
The Braves have struggled in their first year at the top collegiate level, going 2-8-1. They are led by several transfer students, including forwards Debbie Beaudoin from New Hampshire and Elizabeth Jankowski from Wisconsin, who are used to playing at the Division I level.
Yale’s forwards will need to get by Jayne Riley, the leader of the Braves’ defense, if Yale is to win Saturday.
But Adams said she is well aware of the tactics Marchetti and his players will employ.
“I got a chance to watch the Yale-Princeton game a week or so ago,” Adams said. “We’ve been trying to tailor our game to some things Yale does and also to the things we do well. They’re a well-coached and disciplined team, and we’re working toward having that discipline.”
A much tougher test for the Bulldogs will come Sunday at 2 p.m., when they face No. 5 UNH. The Wildcats, who were ranked as high as No. 2 this season, bring a 10-2-1 record into Ingalls Rink.
Kay, who is regarded as one of the best college hockey coaches in the country, also has ties to Marchetti, having played under him at Providence College.
“Marchetti continues to be an important mentor and friend,” Kay said. “Anytime you have an opportunity to have our programs compete against one another, you can expect to have a hard-fought battle.”
After splitting a weekend series with the University of Connecticut, the Wildcats are looking to get back on track with a weekend series at Princeton and Yale.
Kay said that her team’s success is grounded in maturity, complimented by solid goaltending and a talented freshman class.
Yale will need a complete effort Sunday if it wants to break a 14-game losing streak to UNH. The Wildcats have outscored the Bulldogs 118-8 during that streak, never allowing more than two goals.
However, Duggan noted that Yale was not allowing the Wildcats to dictate its preparation.
“We prepared for UNH just like any other team,” Duggan said. “It’s a new game and a new opponent so anything can happen.”