After knocking on the door all season long, the women’s ice hockey team finally kicked it in, winning 3-1 over nationally ranked No. 8 Princeton at Hobey Baker Rink Wednesday night.
The victory was Yale’s first against a top-10 opponent this season. The Bulldogs also tied the school record, set in the 1985-86 season, for most wins in a season with 12.
Following a scoreless first frame in which Yale (12-12-3, 8-8-0 ECAC) held a 9-6 shot advantage, Tiger forward Gretchen Anderson tallied her 14th goal of the season at 14:19 of the second. The Elis responded at 17:53, taking advantage of Princeton’s (18-7-0, 11-5-0) accumulated penalties which led to a 5-3 power play situation. Defender Erin Duggan ’05, who was on ice for all three of the Bulldog goals, doled out an assist for a Jenna Spring ’07 goal.
The Elis came out of the locker room charged for the third period.
“We just jumped on ’em,” forward Kelsey Johnson ’07 said.
With only 11 ticks off the clock, forward Deena Caplette ’06 buried a rebound for the game-winning goal. Duggan picked up her second assist on the night. Less than a minute later, Johnson, who had just stepped onto the ice for a line change, slung a wrist shot into the back of the net for the final goal of the night.
Caplette was one of the key difference-makers on the ice according to forward Lisa Jacque ’07.
“Deena Caplette had one of her best games of the season, stepping up her play just when we needed her,” Jacque said.
Although the Bulldogs had a 3-1 advantage, the Tigers refused to go down without a fight. The Eli penalty kill remained stalwart, disposing of two Princeton power plays in the final 10 minutes. Goalkeeper Sarah Love ’06, named to the ECAC Honor Roll this week, made 14 of her 31 saves in the third, playing a decisive role in preserving the Eli victory.
“Sarah had to make some of the most phenomenal saves I’ve ever seen,” Sheila Zingler ’07 said.
The Bulldogs have killed 33 of their last 34 power plays, leading the ECAC with 93.2 percent efficiency, and are showing the confidence to keep the streak going, Zingler said.
“We stay in our positions in the defensive zone and play really aggressively,” Zingler said. “Our intensity is that much higher so we get a lot of [scoring] opportunities.”
Shorthanded scoring opportunities may not have resulted in any goals for the Bulldogs on Wednesday, but the overall offensive improvement is evident. Despite being outshot 32-20, the Bulldogs got the majority of their shots on net, even hitting the pipes twice. Johnson said the emphasis placed on scoring in practice has contributed to increased offensive success.
“[Scoring] is a big focus in practice,” Johnson said. “Now we are taking shots when we have the opportunity instead of waiting and trying to get a better shot.”
The Elis have the weekend off before prepping for next Saturday’s face-off against nationally ranked No. 1 Harvard (22-2-1, 12-2-0). Having won five of the last six games, it seems that the Bulldogs are hitting their stride and have fortune on their side.
“The puck finally bounced our way,” Zingler said.
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