As has been the case so often this season for the women’s ice hockey team, the scoreboard did not tell the whole story.
Despite falling 7-3 to Cornell (5-15-1, 4-7-1 ECAC-North) Saturday after playing Colgate (10-13-2, 1-7-2) to a 5-5 tie, the Bulldogs (6-14-3, 2-9-1) showed many flashes of dominance that were not reflected in the game’s outcome.
“We would have liked to have done better in terms of the scoreboard and standings, but I think as a team we did some good things,” said forward Wallis Finger ’04, who picked up two assists on the weekend.
Yale has been plagued by inconsistency for most of the season due both to injuries and to occasional defensive breakdowns, allowing opponents to capitalize on miscues and widen the score of an otherwise close game.
Cornell did so Saturday after the Elis got out to a 1-0 lead at 5:03 when Nicole Symington ’05 skated the puck up the wing and backhanded it to Sara Wood ’02, who shot high over Big Red goalie Sanya Sandahl for her team-leading 13th goal of the season. Just over a minute later, Cornell co-captain Jenel Bode tipped in a rebound for the first of her three goals of the game. Bode then set up her fellow co-captain Sarah Olivier on a breakaway. Olivier’s goal put Cornell up 2-1, a lead they would not lose for the rest of the game.
With less than two minutes remaining in the first period, it was Bode once again. The senior stole a breakout pass and scored a shorthanded goal, extending Cornell’s lead to 3-1.
Yale came out strong in the second frame despite losing Symington to a shoulder injury. Wood and Erin Duggan ’05 set up Deanna McDevitt ’03, who grabbed a loose puck in front of the net and tapped it past Sandahl. Defenders Kaitlin Porcaro ’03 and Erica Hockinson ’04 contributed solid defensive play, with a poke check by Hockinson stifling what would have been a Big Red breakaway.
“We forechecked hard and we were determined,” said head coach John Marchetti. “It was the determination we have to have for the rest of the year.”
Two mental lapses by the Bulldogs resulted in Olivier’s second goal of the afternoon. First, the Elis were called for having too many players on the ice, and on the resulting penalty kill, a poor line change led to a Big Red four-on-zero. Goaltender Nicolette Franck ’04 made the initial save, but Olivier was able to tap in the rebound.
A pass from behind the net by Finger set up Tara O’Donnell ’04, who one-timed the puck from the left side into the net to bring Yale to within a goal at 10:44 in the second.
Bode, however, completed her hat trick less than a minute later, backhanding in a rebound. The second period was wrapped up when Pearle Nerenberg’s shot from the point went past a screened Franck.
“We have to defend better in front of our own goalies, we really do,” Marchetti said. “Our defense in our own zone is so important.”
The third period was a deadlock, with Yale’s different forecheck bottling up the Big Red offense. The game became more physical as time went on, with several players sustaining injuries on the ice.
Cornell’s final goal was a shot by Briana Jentner from across the rink that slid slowly into Yale’s empty net for the 7-3 victory.
“We didn’t give up, and I think that’s important,” said Symington, who does not yet know when she will be able to return to the ice. “It’s just unfortunate that we lost a few players, but we played well.”
Friday’s game was a back-and-forth contest that was tied five different times and included two hat tricks and two lead changes.
“It was really an emotional roller coaster for the team,” Marchetti said. “It was a great collegiate hockey game — both teams wanted it and both teams worked hard.”
Keely MacMillan ’05 opened up the scoring at 4:42 with a power play goal on a scramble in front of the net, but the Raiders responded when the all-rookie line of Amanda Barre, Cheryl Setchell, and Kristin Cirbus collaborated for Barre’s first goal, a shot over the shoulder of captain Katie Hirte ’02.
A two-on-one play between Wood and Porcaro resulted in a goal by McDevitt, who deflected the puck past Rebecca Lahar to regain the 2-1 lead. With just 25 seconds remaining in the first, however, Cirbus scored off of a centering pass from Setchell.
The high-scoring nature of the game continued in the second period, with Barre netting her second from Setchell on the power play. Duggan responded 35 seconds later with her eighth goal of the season off of assists from Rory Neuner ’03 and Finger.
Cornell regained its lead at 9:47 when Cirbus redirected a Setchell shot to make the score 4-3.
“We just didn’t defend well,” Marchetti said. “We left people uncovered in front of the net and let Colgate back into the game.”
Two more goals by McDevitt in the third period gave her a hat trick and Yale the lead. McDevitt now leads all Eli scorers with 12 goals and 13 assists. But Barre responded with a hat trick of her own, putting the two teams in a 5-5 lock that would not be broken in the overtime period.
“We played pretty well against Colgate, but we just had too many defensive errors,” said Symington. “We definitely scored enough goals to win.”
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