Harvard arrived at Ingalls Rink with a two-game losing spell on its shoulders. In the first period Saturday night, the Yale women’s hockey team had no problems kicking the Cantabs when they were down. But Crimson brushed off the early 1-0 deficit, scoring five unanswered goals to down the Elis 5-1.

A day earlier, the Elis (7-9-3, 1-4-0 ECAC) dropped a 1-2 near miss to Brown (10-5-2, 3-0-1) at home. The pair of losses pushed the Bulldogs back to fifth place in the Ancient Eight and sixth place in the ECAC.

Yale head coach Hilary Witt attributed Saturday’s loss to both mental and physical fatigue.

“The first period was great, with just a few lapses,” Witt said. “In the third period we just ran out of gas. We need to learn how to play at full speed for a whole game.”

Yale got on the board first against Harvard with a goal from forward Christina Sharun ’07 at 8:16.

But after holding off the Crimson offense for the entire first period, the Yale defense succumbed to Harvard Olympian Julie Chu, who knotted the match 45 seconds into the second period. The Cantabs rallied behind Chu’s goal and the Crimson scored three more times by the time the buzzer sounded to end the period. Yale never recovered.

Despite the loss, the Bulldogs executed well on several fronts. Their penalty kills were strong, and they managed to hold off the Cantab offense in two five-on-three situations. The Elis also put forth solid defensive zone coverage behind Bulldog netminder Sarah Love ’06 throughout most of the game. Love had another noteworthy performance, racking up an impressive 37 saves.

“Sarah [Love] had amazing games as always,” forward Suzanne McGoey ’06 said. “She kept us in both of the games making unbelievable saves. She is incredibly strong in net no matter what teams we are facing.”

Against Brown, the Bulldogs’ gave up an early goal to the Bears’ Jessica Link just 28 seconds into the first period. After the early misstep, the Yale defense held its own, allowing only one more Bear goal, late in the second period. In the third frame, the Elis rallied and managed to shrink Brown’s lead to one when forward Nicole Symington ’05 scored with only 53 seconds to go in the game.

But it was too little too late.

Love finished the night with 37 saves.

Teammates agreed that the main error this weekend was Yale’s inability to play strong hockey through the entirety of each game.

“We need to be able to play the entire 60 minutes of a game,” McGoey said. “In both games this weekend, the outcome could have been very different if we played the entire game as well as we played in spurts.”

Yale finds itself in a tough spot heading into the remainder of its season. Nine of the Bulldogs’ last ten games are against ECAC opponents. In order to guarantee a home advantage in the opening round of the playoffs, they will need to finish with at least a .500 record. Needless to say, each game will be crucial in determining Yale’s fate down the road.

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