The women’s ice hockey team has everything to gain and nothing to lose this weekend.
En route to their final home weekend, the Bulldogs (10-11-3, 6-7-0 ECAC) have built up momentum with a three-game winning streak and drawn close to the .500 mark. By contrast, tonight’s foe nationally ranked No. 3 Dartmouth (17-4-2, 9-2-1), has hit a three-game skid after a 12-game unbeaten streak.
“Obviously, Dartmouth will have a lot of intensity after dropping three [games] in a row,” forward Kelsey Johnson ’07 said. “We have an equal sense of urgency, however, because our team is anxious to keep our winning streak alive.”
Urgency will be crucial around the net to capitalize on the apparent weakness in Big Green’s goalkeeping corps which has allowed 13 goals over the past three losses. Christine Capuano and Stephanie Cochran have alternated games for Dartmouth throughout the entire season, and it will be up to the Elis to cash in on this inconsistent game plan.
“[We’ll be] going hard to the net, getting in the goalie’s face, and pounding in rebounds,” goalkeeper Sarah Love ’06, who has backstopped the Bulldogs for 90 percent of the minutes this season, said.
A potent threat for the Big Green is forward Katherine Weatherston, second in league scoring and point, with 50 percent of her goals coming off of power plays. On the contrary, Yale’s penalty kill unit, which continues to rank first in the league, stands ready to neutralize Weatherston, having killed all but one penalty in the last four contests.
“We have a lot of confidence in the penalty kill right now, which allows us to be more aggressive — [Dartmouth is] not unbeatable,” forward Christina Sharun ’07 said,
The Big Green is a physical team, ranking first in penalty minutes. They move the puck with speed and accuracy, making Dartmouth’s teamwork its ultimate strength, according to several Elis.
Sharun and blueliner Erika Hockinson ’04 asserted that the Bulldogs will play their style of game without fear.
“[Added] motivation to beat Dartmouth Friday [is that it] would not only be a large upset for them, but ruin their chances possibly of making it to the Frozen Four,” Hockinson said.
On Saturday, senior night, the Bulldogs will hit the ice again versus Vermont. They will look to replicate a 3-1 victory in Burlington back in November. In that matchup, the Catamounts (6-20-2, 2-10-0) struck first, but the Elis triumphed.
Vermont is coming off of a sweep of its own, with two shutout victories over Union (3-24-1, 0-12-0), which is still seeking its first conference win. The Jenny Hogan, Lindsey Tilbury and Hilary Johnson line combined for nine points on the weekend.
But, the Bulldogs are not intimidated by this Catamount force.
“When we win on Friday, that excitement and desire will carry over to [the Vermont game], our last home game, and they won’t have a chance,” Hockinson said.
The game will feature a showdown between Catamounts’ goaltender Kami Cote, who picked up ECAC Goalkeeper of the Week honors for her 57 save effort this past weekend, and the Eli attack led by Kristin Savard ’07 who is the reigning ECAC Rookie of the Week. Savard has posted three goals in the past two Eli wins.
“There’s nothing like coming off the momentum of winning three games in a row, and we plan on keeping the wins coming,” defender Linda Dix-Cooper ’06 said.
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