After knocking off No. 8 Princeton 3-1 last Sunday, the women’s ice hockey team will try to continue its giant-killing ways when it travels to Brown and No. 1 Harvard this weekend.
“Everyone’s pretty excited coming off the win against Princeton and we’re going to carry that momentum into this weekend,” Wallis Finger ’04 said. “Anytime you face Harvard and Brown in the same weekend, it is going to be tough.”
Yale (8-15-2, 4-8-0 ECAC) fell to Harvard (21-1-1, 10-0-1) 6-0 Jan. 10 and to Brown (9-10-4, 6-4-1) 7-2 Jan. 11 in a home version of this weekend’s series. But according to Finger, Yale will be much more competitive this time as they try to close their gap with Brown in the ECAC standings. The Bears occupy fifth place in the standings and are five points ahead of the Elis.
“We know we can stick with top teams now and that knowledge is something earlier in the season we didn’t have,” she said. “That knowledge is so, so important and could make the difference this weekend.”
Aside from this newfound know-how, the Elis will rely on team defense this weekend as they have all season.
“Nothing is going to change as far as our strategy,” Sarah Love ’06 said. “The key to our success has been defense — keeping shooters to the outside and clearing the puck from the zone. We need to do that again this weekend.”
Yale has won five of its last nine games, a stretch that includes the win against Princeton, a come-from-behind victory over Quinnipiac, a 12-1 rout of Sacred Heart, a payback win at Colgate and a 1-1 tie against No. 9 Providence.
With strong senior leadership and a solid freshman squad, the Elis have made great strides over the course of the season.
“We’re improving and our best is getting better as the season goes on,” Finger said.
But along with improvement comes higher expectations.
“We’re not content any more in saying that we played hard,” Finger said. “Maybe that was good enough earlier in the season, but we’re looking to win now and this weekend is no exception.”
The Elis’ best chance for a win this weekend will be against the Bears on Saturday, who have struggled of late, losing their last two games. Harvard, on the other hand, has not dropped a contest since Nov. 17.
“We’re optimistic heading into this weekend,” Erika Hockinson ’04 said. “We know if we come out and play 60 minutes of solid hockey like we did against Princeton, we can beat Brown.”
Yale, which defeated Cornell on Nov. 8 for its first Ivy League win in two years, doubled this season’s Ivy win total last weekend against Princeton and will have two chances this weekend to add a third.
“The Ivy League features the top level of collegiate women’s hockey and we’re slowly inching our way in,” Finger said. “Our recent success — the tie against Providence and the win against Princeton — points to greatness in the program’s future.”