Everyday in the locker room, a poster that reads “Make History” reminds the women’s hockey team of a promise it made to itself at the beginning of the season.
“It motivates us,” captain Kaitlin Porcaro ’03 said. “We want to do more than any other team has done in the past.”
This weekend, Yale (9-18-2, 5-11-0 ECAC, 2-8-0 Ivy) has an opportunity to make its season a historic one. The Elis travel to Princeton (18-8-2, 11-5-0, 6-4-0) for a best two-of-three series against the nationally ranked No. 9 Tigers in the first round of the ECAC tournament. Yale has never advanced past the first round — ever.
Porcaro cautioned that although the prospect making history is exciting, it could also be overwhelming. “We don’t want to psych ourselves out,” she said. “We have to take one game at a time.”
But Yale is confident it can come away with a pair of wins this weekend.
“We know we can beat them,” Erika Hockinson ’04 said. “We did it once already. We’re very optimistic.”
The Elis split the season series with the Tigers 1-1. After dropping a 6-2 decision at Princeton Feb. 14, Yale returned to Ingalls Rink the next day and defeated the Tigers 3-1. It was arguably Yale’s finest performance of the winter.
“We played one of our best games of the season against Princeton,” Porcaro said. “If we can do that again, we know we can take the series.”
Yale’s win over Vermont last weekend, coupled with two Colgate losses to Brown and Harvard, secured a sixth seed for the Elis, who were picked to finish eighth in the coaches’ preseason poll. But Princeton’s upset of nationally ranked No. 4 Dartmouth set up the rubber match against Yale. Their win over the Big Green moved the Tigers into a tie for third place with St. Lawrence, but the league tiebreaker awarded Princeton the third seed.
“We got some help when Princeton beat Dartmouth,” Hockinson said. “We would have had to play St. Lawrence, and just the traveling would have taken something out of us.”
Yale will look to win two games in a weekend for the first time this season. But it is going to be a tough task. Princeton has won three straight and will seek to avenge its regular season loss to the Elis.
“We have to do all the things right,” Porcaro said. “We have to come out fired up and play a tight defensive zone.”
In Yale’s win over Princeton, the Tigers doubled the Bulldogs in shots, 38-19. But goaltender Sarah Love ’06 turned her body into a wall at times and allowed only one goal. The Elis will need another stellar effort from Love and the defense this weekend if they hope to make history.