Early Friday night, the women’s hockey team looked ready to extend its winless streak against Cornell to 15 years.
But the Bulldogs (1-3-0, 1-0 Ivy, 1-1 ECAC) overcame an early deficit to best the visiting Big Red (0-1-0, 0-1, 0-1), ending the 14-year winless drought.
“This year’s team is not a normal Yale women’s hockey team,” defender Erika Hockinson ’04 said.
Yale’s defensive troubles from last weekend continued at the outset. At 8:37 in the first period, Maryann Nowak’s shot squirted between goalkeeper Sarah Love ’06 and the left post to put the Big Red up, 1-0.
But the Bulldogs responded five minutes later on a 5-4 power-play.
After taking a pass from Deena Caplette ’06, Deanna McDevitt ’03 beat Sanya Sandahl on the stick side at 14:13 for her second goal of the season. McDevitt led the team in scoring last year.
“Our power plays did well, and we stayed out of the penalty box for the most part,” Hockinson said
Both teams had quality scoring chances in the second period, but neither could convert. In the seventh minute, Nicole Symington ’04 led a breakaway with only the goalie to beat, but she her shot missed wide.
But Caplette and Natalie Babony ’06 scored two unanswered goals in the third period to pull Yale ahead, 2-1.
The defense, led by Hockinson and Kaitlin Porcaro ’03, was rock-solid, aside from the small lapse in the first period. Yale killed four power-plays and shut down the Cornell scoring attack. Love recorded 35 saves for Yale.
Last weekend, Yale surrendered nine goals.
“We played with a lot more intensity and a lot more heart,” Hockinson said. “We kept it in their zone and out of ours, and there were no odd-man rushes.”
The win is the Bulldogs’ first of the season and also their first in Ivy League play since 2000.
“There are going to be a lot of firsts this season,” Love said.
Yale returned to the Ingalls Rink ice Saturday to take on Colgate. But a fast start and Yale’s exhaustion led to a 2-1 Raider win.
The Bulldogs opened the scoring at 6:42 in the first period with Nicole Symington’s ’05 shot from the right circle.
But within just two minutes, the Raiders tied and took the lead.
Missed scoring opportunities and hot goalkeeping from Colgate netminder Rebecca Lahar kept the Bulldogs off their game.
Babony almost found the net five minutes in with a wrap-around that Lahar gloved. Later in the second period, Lahar deflected a shot, and sprawled on the ice, managing to save McDevitt’s point-blank return.
The weary Bulldogs lacked the intensity that led them over Cornell; they were outskated and outshot. And it could have been worse if not for the gritty efforts of Love, who made 36 saves on the night.
“We’re discouraged that we didn’t win, but we know what we have to work on,” Hockinson said. “We have to get used to playing back-to-back games. We’re going to be doing that all season.”
Despite the loss, the Bulldogs were pleased with their play under their new formation, which kept opposing offenses further from the net.
“We played well with our new system this weekend,” Hockinson said. “It was definitely key to our success.”
The Bulldogs will rely on their new, improved system when they face off against St. Lawrence for a two-game series next weekend at Ingalls Rink.
“One of our goals is to finish in the top half of the Ivy League,” Hockinson said. “And we’re already on our way.”