The women’s hockey team cleaned up more than just Thanksgiving dinner dishes last week as it racked up three consecutive ECAC victories, including one against No. 8 Princeton and two against Union.
The Bulldogs snuck by the Tigers 2-1 on Wednesday in Princeton, N.J. Defender Helen Resor ’08 and forward Deena Caplette ’06 each contributed a goal to the Elis’ victory. Princeton is the second nationally ranked team the Bulldogs have defeated this season.
“We have a big rivalry with Princeton, so any game we play against them is a huge game,” Eli defender Christina Sharun ’07 said. “We were all very excited about it and ready to go. Princeton is not only a league rival, they are an Ivy League rival, and they are nationally ranked. There is a lot to prove in games like that.”
The Bulldogs (6-3, 5-2 ECAC) hit their scoring groove this week, collecting 14 goals in their last three games, compared to just 12 in their first six games combined. The Elis took on Princeton (4-4-1, 2-3) after scoring 12 goals in two consecutive shutouts of Union.
“We had been having some trouble putting the puck in the net prior to the Union games,” Sharun said. “So to get that confidence boost and score some goals was really nice. It just gave us that little extra boost going into the Princeton game.”
Princeton opened the scoring 9:08 into the second period. Both teams were a player down, and Tiger defender Chrissie Norwich fired a shot on Eli goaltender Sarah Love ’06. Love deflected the shot, but Princeton forward Kim Pearce gathered the rebound and drove the puck into the net on Love’s stick side. Love had 32 saves for the win.
Just three minutes later, Resor, who missed the team’s first eight games with an injury, pulled the Bulldogs back to even with her first collegiate goal. Pearce was called for obstruction-interference, and Yale attacked on its power play. Caplette passed the puck to Resor, who was positioned just inside the blue line. Resor drilled a shot past Princeton keeper Roxanne Gaudiel.
Caplette picked up her second goal of the season during the third period to clinch the win for the Elis. Gaudiel, who had 25 saves on the night, found herself lying on the ice after a flurry of Yale attacks during a power play, and Caplette tapped a rebound around the struggling goaltender. Captain Erin Duggan ’05 and forward Jenna Spring ’07 assisted on the play.
“Deena Caplette had her best game of the season,” Yale head coach Hilary Witt said. “She played with so much energy and carried us for a while. She played a key role killing penalties and did what she had to do to lead us to a win.”
One of the biggest keys to Yale’s success against Princeton was the Bulldogs’ ability to execute on the penalty kill. The Elis and the Tigers combined for seven penalties in the first period, seven in the second, and four in the third. The Elis, however, were able to successfully kill all eight of Princeton’s power plays.
“We got into penalty trouble at the end of the first period,” Love said. “But being able to kill off all the penalties gave us a lot of confidence.”
Prior to their matchup against Princeton, the Bulldogs faced ECAC rival Union (3-7-1, 0-6) twice in Schenectady, N.Y. The wins over Union Nov. 19 and 20 marked the first time this season the Elis have swept a weekend series. The Dutchwomen have yet to win an ECAC game, and could not find the back of the net against a rotating trio of Eli goaltenders — Love and Carrie Horbatuk ’07 combined for Friday night’s 7-0 win while Shivon Zilis ’08 posted a 5-0 shutout in her first career start in Saturday’s game.
Yale came out energized Friday in the series opener, and shocked the Dutchwomen with an uncharacteristically strong offensive effort. Spring posted a hat trick, scoring three out of the team’s first four goals. Duggan was also instrumental in the win, adding two goals and an assist.
“The first game we were happy with our effort,” Yale forward Nicole Symington ’05 said. “Scoring goals doesn’t always come easy for us, so it was nice to finally break out a little bit.”
The Elis continued to dominate Union in Saturday’s game. Five different Bulldogs tallied goals in the win, demonstrating the Elis’ depth. Zilis led the defense with 18 saves.
“Shivon Zilis had a strong game on the second day posting her first college shutout,” Love said. “In back-to-back series, the second game is usually played a lot closer so it was great to win by another large margin.”
The Bulldogs will attempt to keep their winning streak alive as they take on No. 9 Providence (6-3-3) tonight at Ingalls. The Friars are known for their speed and athleticism; the Elis will need to be strong and well-conditioned.
“Providence is going to be tough,” Witt said. “They play a lot like Princeton. They have a very good power play, so we need to stay out of the box.”