Just when the women’s ice hockey team thought they had their offensive shortcomings licked, their sticks fell silent Sunday afternoon.

A six-goal onslaught in a 6-0 rout of Rensselear Polytechnic Institute Dec. 6 appeared to put any offensive doubts to rest. But the Bulldogs’ (3-10-1, 1-3 ECAC) scoring woes returned two days later in a 2-1 loss to Mercyhurst.

“We have to bear down on our chances,” Nicole Symington ’05 said. “Some days the puck goes in, other days it doesn’t. We just have to keep getting our shots.”

The Bulldogs returned to Ingalls Rink Sunday to conclude the 2002 portion of the season against Mercyhurst (12-5-1), who defeated No. 8 Brown Saturday.

Mercyhurst’s Randi Pilger opened the scoring at 4:03 in the second period, but Lisa Jacque ’06 found a good time to score her first goal of the season and tied the game four minutes later.

But the Elis could not contain Mercyhurst, and K.C. Gallo scored early in the third period to break the tie and give the Lady Lakers the 2-1 win.

Mercyhurst outshot Yale, 37-24, including a 15-5 advantage in the decisive third frame.

“Sarah [Love ’06] cannot save everything,” Kaitlin Porcaro ’03 said. “We’ve got to score more than one goal.”

The Bulldogs were disappointed with the loss.

“A lot of us were pretty upset,” Porcaro said. “We should have won that game.”

Four games this season have been decided by one goal, and the Elis have been on the losing end each time.

“Close game will make us a better team,” Porcaro said. “But we have to be able to come out on top.”

Nevertheless, the Bulldogs were pleased with their play.

“We worked hard and were fairly successful,” said Symington. “We did well with our defensive zone coverage and didn’t allow too many shots.”

Friday against the Engineers, the puck went in for the Elis — six times.

Natalie Babony ’06 beat Rensselear goalkeeper Rosina Schiff at 6:53 in the first period for the game-winner.

Deanna McDevitt ’03, Symington and Deena Caplette ’06 scored a goal apiece while Erin Duggan ’05 tallied two goals in the third to put the finishing touches on the rout.

The Bulldogs outskated the Engineers, getting to the puck faster and controlling play.

“We’re on two totally different levels of play,” said Porcaro. “We were much stronger and quicker.”

Nicolette Franck ’04 collected 20 saves for the shutout.

The Bulldogs have a four-week break for finals and return to action January 3, at Boston College. Yale lost to the Eagles, 3-1, earlier this season.

“We’re still optimistic,” Symington said. “We can’t dwell on the past and we just have to keep trying to improve.”