Although the women’s hockey season is very young, it seems that a recurring pattern is already beginning to emerge.

For the second straight week, the Bulldogs (2-2, 1-1 ECAC) began weekend play with a win only to suffer a loss the following day. The Elis won their ECAC division opener against Vermont (2-8-1, 0-2), 2-1, Friday, but fell, 9-1, to No. 2 Dartmouth (3-0, 2-0) Saturday. Both games were played at Ingalls Rink.

“I was pretty disappointed with this weekend,” captain Erin Duggan ’05 said. “I felt we came out pretty flat in both games. I think it was a good wake up call to let us know that we have to come out and work hard every night. Games won’t be handed to us.”

Last weekend, late-period mental lapses resulted in a 2-1 loss to UConn. On Friday against the Catamounts, the Bulldogs avoided a similar fate when goalie Sarah Love ’06 stopped a Jackie Duerr shot with less than a minute to go to preserve the victory. Held scoreless in the first period, Yale jumped out to a 1-0 lead late in the second period on a goal by center Jenna Spring ’07. Nicole Symington ’05 added another score midway through the third period to give Yale a 2-0 edge.

The Bulldogs appeared on their way to a shutout until Jenny Hogan shot the puck past Love with just a minute to go. What seemed like a secure victory was all of a sudden in jeopardy. But Love preserved the win when she stopped her 30th shot of the night, robbing Duerr of a game-tying goal.

While the defense held strong, the Elis were unimpressed with their slim victory over an inferior Vermont squad.

“I think our team has improved too much to only beat them [Vermont] 2-1,” Duggan said.

On Saturday, the Bulldogs were no match for national powerhouse Dartmouth. The Big Green were led by star Katie Weatherston — the nation’s leader in points per game — who scored four goals and added two assists. Dartmouth jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the first period, and by midway through the second period, they had tacked on two more goals to take an insurmountable 5-0 lead. Love had uncharacteristic struggles in net and was replaced by Shivon Zilis ’08. Zilis, in her first regular season action as a Bulldog, had a shaky beginning, letting three shots go by in the second period.

Although the game was well out of reach, Yale responded with an inspired third period. Savard ruined Dartmouth goalie Kate Lane’s shutout bid with a blistering slap shot late in the third period. After a shaky start, Zilis settled down, saving 13 of 14 third period shots and finishing with 20 saves on the day.

“The third period was an issue of pride,” Duggan said. “After the first two periods, our team realized we are a lot better than the score.”

The story of the game was the Elis’ inability to capitalize on power plays. Dartmouth gave the Bulldogs ample opportunity to score, as Yale had 11 power plays throughout the game, but the Bulldogs were unable to convert on a single one.

While Yale knew they were in for an uphill battle against the second-ranked team in the nation, they were nonetheless frustrated with their performance Saturday. But the Elis feel they can take something away from playing one of top teams in the nation.

“In the third period we kept our feet going and kept our intensity going,” Symington said. “We know now that if we want to compete with these top teams, then that is the level we need to play at for the whole 60 minutes.”

[ydn-legacy-photo-inline id=”16933″ ]