Destiny is knocking on the doors of Ingalls Rink.
This weekend, the Yale women’s hockey team faces its biggest contests thus far this season, as they delve into the heart of their Ivy League season with match ups against Brown (8-5-2, 1-0-1 Ivy) on Friday and No. 2 Harvard (13-1-1, 0-1-0) on Saturday.
Since winter break, the Bulldogs (7-7-3, 1-2-0) have won four of their last seven games, and they are currently in the midst of a three-game upswing. Arguably, they are in the best position in years to take on such teams as the Bears and the Crimson.
Nevertheless, Yale will need near-perfect performances from all positions on the ice to come away with two victories by Saturday night.
“We are mostly trying to worry about getting ourselves ready, but I know from playing [Harvard] in the past that they always have very skilled hard-working teams,” forward Nicole Symington ’05 said. “In order to win this weekend, we must play with intensity and have a great deal of discipline in executing our systems.”
Defense will have to put on their best showing against both the Bears and the Crimson, who are among the most offensively potent teams in the ECAC. Harvard has outscored its opponents 71-12 to date, while Brown has bettered its opponents 54-47. Yale will need to be extremely disciplined and capitalize on any Bear or Cantab errors, while giving up few mistakes of their own.
“We need to concentrate on playing a full 60 minutes of hockey each game,” Symington said. “In any game, mistakes will be made by both teams, but we need to react and adjust better than the other team.”
Back in goal for Yale will be Sarah Love ’06, who took a break last weekend against Union to allow her relievers to get some valuable ice time. Love will need another stellar performance against the offensive pressure of Brown’s Jessica Link and Keaton Zucker and Harvard’s Nicole Corriero and Angela Ruggiero. Corriero has already racked up 21 goals and 35 points overall this season, and will be the biggest threat to score against Yale’s defensive regiment.
Despite the numbers, the Bulldogs are still confident that they can put forth a good showing.
“We don’t really focus on what the other team does or doesn’t do,” Love said. “We just want to make sure that we play our best game. If we can do that, then it will make the other team have to adjust to us, and that’s when good things will happen.”
Yale’s offense will need score throughout the course of the game as it did in recent contests versus Union and Quinnipiac. The Bulldogs will have to be especially aggressive against Harvard, who has one of the lowest opponent scoring percentages in the league.
The power play will also be a major factor in deciding the outcome of both games.
“We have to make sure that we play physical hockey, taking the game to the other teams,” Love said. “Our penalty kill has to be aggressive and our powerplay has to move the puck quickly to create chances.”
One potentially deciding factor for this weekend may have nothing to do with the players on the ice. Harvard set the record for most fans in attendance at a game on Jan. 11 of this year with 1,921 fans. According to Yale assistant head coach Harry Rosenholtz, the Yale student body could easily dwarf such a number.
“In my opinion, just showing up could show up Harvard,” Rosenholtz said. “I cannot believe that Harvard’s student body is more enthusiastic or connected to their sports teams than Yale’s. I just know that we can beat their record if everyone gets involved.”
Rosenholtz is putting out a challenge to the student body to try and beat Harvard not only on the ice, but in the stands. With a team playing better than ever before, he has more room than ever for such bragging rights.
“We have reached a level of competitiveness that we have never seen before, and it is only growing,” Rosenholtz said. “We can play with anybody, and if only the fans will come, we will truly build a team that will bring in the kind of attention that Harvard has gotten in the past.”
[ydn-legacy-photo-inline id=”18400″ ]