If size really does matter, the women’s ice hockey team could be in for a long weekend.
Yale (1-3-0, 1-1-0 ECAC, 1-0-0 Ivy) hosts St. Lawrence (4-0-2, 0-0-0 ECAC) twice: on Saturday and Sunday at 2 p.m. The team is undefeated in the Ivy League with a 3-1 victory over Cornell University on Nov. 8.
St. Lawrence is currently ranked No. 9 nationally in Division I women’s college ice hockey. But so far, the unranked Elis lead St. Lawrence in the ECAC.
Yale is tied for fourth with two points from the Cornell win; St. Lawrence is tied for seventh with zero points because it has yet to play a conference game.
But those rankings could shift this weekend if Yale cannot find an answer for St. Lawrence’s stature.
Last year, Yale fell twice to St. Lawrence over the Feb. 1 and Feb. 2 weekend: 6-1 and 5-2.
Forward and center Kristin Kattleman ’04 said this weekend will be a great challenge and not easy.
“St. Lawrence is a very strong team that has many very tough and big girls,” Kattleman said.
The Elis will look to use their speed to overcome St. Lawrence’s superior size.
And Yale must remain focused.
“We have to be disciplined and stay in our system,” Kattleman said. “Play must be aggressive and strong. Our strategy is to shut down their players. We have people on our team that are very quick and strong.”
When Yale is focused and disciplined, the Bulldogs perform well, such as in their Cornell match. But lack of disciplined play results in losses, such as the 2-1 defeat to Colgate on Nov. 9, just a day after the Cornell win.
Size helps St. Lawrence’s offensive play, especially for centers during face-off. Improved chemistry and disciplined play will determine the outcome this weekend.
Kattleman said the team must play patiently to defeat St. Lawrence.
“The key is to be patient and not be attracted to the puck like a magnet. We need to play our positions and defensive and offensive zones,” Kattleman said.
Forward Deanna McDevitt ’03, one of the team’s top scorers, said speed and aggressive play will determine the outcome of the match.
“We need to keep getting rebounds and beat them through our speed, as well as play together and communicate well,” McDevitt said.
Captain Kaitlin Porcaro ’03 believes the team needs to focus on its strengths rather than worry about the performance and strategies of St. Lawrence.
“The team needs to outwork St. Lawrence and focus more on our game,” Porcaro said. “We cannot be intimidated by their size. Our team needs to tie them up and lift their sticks so they have trouble shooting.”
St. Lawrence has had no trouble scoring so far this year. The team tallied 18 goals over its first six games. Yale has scored just five goals in its four games.
But last weekend, the Bulldogs beat Cornell for the first time in 14 years. Yale hopes for a similar upset this weekend.