It was a weekend of near-misses for the women’s ice hockey team.
The Elis (7-11-3, 4-7-0 ECAC) came up short twice against conference foe St. Lawrence (18-5-1, 9-1-0) this weekend in Canton, N.Y., falling Saturday 2-5 and Friday 2-3. The pair of losses bumps the Bulldogs back to fifth in the conference while the No. 7 Saints secured their second-place spot in the standings with the sweep.
Yale players agreed that though the team put in a good effort in both contests, it did not seem to have the stamina or team chemistry it had been exhibiting of late.
“In the second game against St. Lawrence, we fell back into our pattern of playing well in spurts,” forward Suzanne McGoey ’06 said. “We need to play the entire game and find our legs even when we are tired.”
In Saturday’s game, the Saints cracked the egg first with a goal from Whitney Carbone 5:25 into the first period. The Bulldogs got their chance to tie up the score four minutes later when a St. Lawrence penalty set up a power play. After struggling with power plays all season, Yale managed to capitalize on the opportunity when forward Christina Sharun ’07 punched a shot past Saint netminder Rachel Barrie off an assist from forward Sheila Zingler ’07.
“We showed a lot of character in both of the games this weekend,” forward Natalie Babony ’06 said. “Each time St. Lawrence scored, we fought back and did our best to get the momentum back on our side.”
Unfortunately, the Elis could not hold off the Saints’ offense much longer.
Four minutes into the second period, St. Lawrence gained the lead for the second time on a goal from Gina Kingsbury. The Saints increased their lead to 3-1 when Ricky-Lee Doyle slipped one past Yale goalie Sarah Love ’06 in the opening minutes of the third frame.
A few minutes later, Yale cut St. Lawrence’s lead in half with a goal from forward Jenna Spring ’07 assisted by forward Regan Gibrilde ’07. But the effort was too little too late. Kingsbury would score twice more in the final minutes of the game to complete her hat trick.
“Our team needs to find a way to play desperate to score that goal early in the third period instead of late, when time is running out,” forward Erin Duggan ’05 said. “We are continually struggling to come from behind, and we need to score first in order to give ourselves the best opportunity to win.”
Despite the final result, Love put up a good fight, racking up 47 saves for the Bulldogs compared to Barrie’s 25.
“Sarah Love continues to play well,” Duggan said. “She was a major reason we were in the games this weekend because we were struggling with our defensive zone coverage.”
A night earlier, Yale also got off to a slow start, posting a meager three shots on goal in the first period to St. Lawrence’s 20. Love kept the damage to a minimum, however, allowing only one Saint goal amidst a barrage of well-played attempts. St. Lawrence would score again early in the second frame to put the Bulldogs in a tough position to come back against the nationally ranked team.
Nevertheless, Yale fought back at 8:01 when Duggan and Spring fed forward Kristin Savard ’07 who nipped the puck past Barrie to pull the Bulldogs within one.
St. Lawrence drilled home the game-winner in the last minute of the second period off a goal from Kate Michael. Spring would score again in the third, but the Bulldogs would draw no closer, ultimately falling 2-3 to the Saints.
“We played a great first game against St. Lawrence and just came up a bit short,” McGoey said. “We really proved to ourselves that our systems work, and when we execute them well we are successful.”
While the two losses did not help Yale’s standings, the Elis are still in good position to make a move on the season. It all comes down to the mental side at this point.
“One of our goals for the season is to finish above .500,” McGoey said. “Except for St. Lawrence, we get to play every ECAC opponent that beat us again, and that will be when we really show our character.”
The Bulldogs will get their chance to rebound from this weekend when they take on local rival Quinnipiac Tuesday night at Ingalls Rink.
“We need to start winning games to build some confidence in our dressing room that we can be a winning team,” Duggan said. “Quinnipiac will be a perfect opportunity to do this. We have a lot of games left in the season still and plenty of time to take some points and move up in the standings.”
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