After giving up a hat trick in a 6-1 loss, the women’s hockey team rebounded with an identical performance of its own, skating to a weekend split.
Erin Duggan ’05 recorded three goals Saturday at Ingalls Rink as the Bulldogs (9-15-3, 3-10-1 ECAC-North) bested Vermont (1-28-1, 0-16-0) 6-1 after falling to No. 5 Dartmouth (20-4-2, 12-2-0) by the same score Friday.
Saturday’s win marked the final home game for seniors Katie Hirte, the team’s goaltender and captain, and Sara Wood, who is Yale’s leading active scorer with 35 goals and 38 assists in 110 career games. Both left New Haven with solid performances, with Hirte recording 22 saves and Wood contributing three assists.
“We’re playing at Harvard and Brown next weekend, and then we’re guaranteed a playoff spot,” said Wood. “So the ceremony and everything was nice, but since we do have games left it really wasn’t that sentimental.”
Yale got off to a less than impressive start after the pre-game ceremony for the seniors Saturday, giving up an unassisted goal by Steph Cole less than four minutes into the game. Good forechecking, however, led to a rebound goal by Duggan at 18:21 to tie the score at one. Assists were given to Wood and Deanna McDevitt ’03.
After a scoreless 17 minutes in a second period stagnant for both sides, Duggan snagged a rebound and buried it past Vermont goaltender Kami Cote.
The line of Duggan, Wood and McDevitt was playing a different and more offensive-minded system than the other, more conservative lines. Duggan’s goal ignited the previously stagnant Yale offense, which exploded for five goals in the third period.
“We were skating much harder and were making second and third efforts on plays,” Duggan said.
Defender Erica Hockinson’s ’03 shot from the point flew past Cote, who was screened well by forward Rory Neuner ’03. A minute and a half later, Kirstin Wick ’05 scored on another blue line shot. For the Bulldogs, the goals spread out the Vermont defense and were a welcome addition to the tough forechecking and physical play in front of the net that led to their other scoring chances.
“It was good that our defense started getting on the board offensively, especially going into the playoffs,” said Wood.
At 9:46 of the third period, Duggan tallied her third goal and extended Yale’s lead to 5-1 when she deflected Kaitlin Porcaro’s shot. She and McDevitt have both notched hat tricks for the Elis this year.
Vermont had a few chances to narrow the game, but Hirte came up big, making several saves through scrums and denying Colleen Clifford on a breakaway chance in the third period.
“I think in part we were motivated in providing our seniors with a memorable last home game at Ingalls but as well we needed those two points to move us up higher in the standings to give us a better position for playoffs,” Duggan said.
The victory elevated Yale to seventh place in the ECAC-North.
A potential playoff pairing would pit the Elis against Dartmouth, whom the Bulldogs faced Friday. That game had all the ingredients of the one against Vermont, but the Elis found themselves on the opposite end of the scoreboard.
This time the hat trick came from Big Green forward Kim McCullough, who recorded all of her three goals in the first period in less than seven minutes.
“The majority of their goals and scoring chances just came from us having mental lapses in our own zone,” Wood said. “I think we played okay, but we didn’t play consistently.”
At 16:24 of the second period, Neuner connected with McDevitt, who scored a power play goal of her own to pull the Elis up to 5-1. But they would not get any closer.
Hirte stopped 21 shots for Yale, while Kate Cochrane had 13 saves in her first start of the season.
The Bulldogs will finish their season this weekend with away games at Harvard and Brown.