The women’s hockey team resolved to start the new year with stronger play and perhaps a win. But the Bulldogs continued to struggle, dropping their first three 2003 contests to Boston College, Harvard and Brown.

Yale (3-12-1, 1-5-0 ECAC) returned to action after a three-week break at Boston College on Jan. 3, looking to avenge a 3-1 loss to the Eagles (7-7-3) earlier this season. But the Bulldogs could not hold an early lead, and despite some third-period heroics by a pair of freshmen, fell 3-2 in overtime.

Yale jumped out 1-0 early when Suzanne McGoey ’06 scored her fourth goal of the season at 4:11 in the first period.

“Suzanne has a knack for finding the back of the net,” Wallis Finger ’04 said. “She has done a great job for us up front all year.”

The Bulldogs shut down the Eagles until the last minute of the second period, when Renee Taylor tied the score.

“We had a letdown after the first period,” Finger said. “We have to be able to focus for 60 minutes.”

Mental lapses have become a trend for the Elis, who have seen leads come and go within minutes throughout the season.

Midway through the third period at 11:35, Boston College gained its first lead, 2-1. But less than a minute later, Deena Caplette ’06 assisted Natalie Babony ’06 on the equalizer, sending the game to overtime.

“Suzanne [McGoey], Deena [Caplette] and Natalie [Babony] have been outstanding,” Finger said. “They create chance after chance for themselves and cause a lot of turnovers. We rely on them to produce.”

But yet again, Yale’s concentration waned in overtime; Alaina Clark beat goalkeeper Sarah Love ’06 for the game winner at 4:55 in OT. Love finished the game with 30 saves.

“We were pretty disappointed,” Finger said. “We wanted that one. We wanted to start off the year on the right foot.”

Yale next faced off against nationally-ranked No. 1 Harvard on Jan. 10 at Ingalls Rink. Julie Chu and Kalen Ingram scored a pair of goals apiece to lead the Crimson (12-1-0, 4-0) past the Bulldogs, 6-0. But the lopsided score was not indicative of the Bulldogs’ play.

Whether it was the challenge of upsetting the top team in the country or the electricity of facing their biggest rival, something ignited the Bulldogs, who according to Finger, played some of their best hockey of the season against the Cantabs.

“If we played the way we played against Harvard — with so much intensity and effort — we would have crushed Boston College,” she said. “We were very disciplined and shut down the people we wanted to do. A lot of people did a lot of good things that game.”

The Bulldogs took to the ice Saturday against Brown. The Bears (7-7-3, 4-3), led by Margaret Ramsey’s two goals, staked out a 3-0 lead in the first. Yale held Brown scoreless in the second, but the Bears could not be contained for long and added four goals in the third.

On the precipice of a scoreless blowout, the Elis answered with two goals in the final five minutes of play. Lisa Jacque ’06 scored her second goal of the season at 15:56 in the third, ruining Brown netminder Katie Germain’s shutout bid, and Kaitlin Porcaro ’03 beat Germain with 27 ticks remaining for her third goal of the season.

“We didn’t play our best,” Finger said. “But there are good things to be taken from every game, and we’re getting better. We’re getting closer to achieving our goals.”

The Bulldogs next host in-state rival Quinnipiac on Friday.