With eight minutes left in yesterday’s women’s hockey game, Providence was 30 seconds into a power play when Eli captain Erin Duggan’s stick broke. She took a brief glance at the broken shards, tossed them aside, and sprinted toward the goal. Settling herself in front of the net, Duggan marked up on a Friar forward and blocked shots with her body until a referee blew the whistle to replace the stick.
That was the kind of dedication and heart that led the Bulldogs to a 5-1 win over No. 9 Providence College yesterday at Ingalls Rink. This win is the Elis’ fourth consecutive victory, and their third defeat of a nationally ranked team this season. Forward Sheila Zingler ’07 led Yale’s attack with a goal and three assists, and forwards Nicole Symington ’05 and Kelsey Johnson ’07 each added a goal and an assist.
Looking at the statistics, omitting the final score, it would seem as though Providence should have skated away with the win. The Friars outshot the Elis 40-25, including a 15-5 trouncing during the third period. Providence also had more power play goal attempts and amassed fewer penalties than the Bulldogs. But Yale was able to overcome these deficits with energy and effort.
“Everyone was really pumped today,” forward Ali Turney ’05 said. “And everyone was real excited to play. We played really well beating Providence to the puck. We’ve had a problem with winning battles, and we did that tonight.”
For the Elis, limiting an offense as dangerous as Providence’s to just one goal was an exceptional accomplishment. The Friars had outscored their previous opponents 43-25, and have three players with point totals in double digits.
Yale head coach Hilary Witt lauded the accomplishments of her defense so far this season.
“It starts with goaltender Sarah Love [’05],” she said. “She’s great. And Erin Duggan [’05] is the most solid defender around. Nina Resor [’07] always puts in a solid performance, as does Christina Sharun [’07]. Those four brought us to where we are today.”
Defender Helen Resor ’08, who returned to the ice during last week’s game against Princeton after missing eight games with a broken leg, has already made an impact on the team. The freshman was named ECAC Player of the Week following the Princeton game. Against the Tigers, she tied up the score with a line drive from the blueline and she was on the ice for the game-winning goal. Resor contributed an assist to last night’s win.
The Yale offense was no less stellar than their defensive counterparts. Coming off of a three-game streak where the Elis out-scored opponents 14-1, the Bulldogs came onto the ice confident and energized. Duggan opened the scoring at 2:02 into the first period off an assist from Zingler, and the Elis never looked back. Zingler added a second goal, assisted by defender Helen Resor ’08 at 12:32 to finish out the first period scoring. Symington added a goal of her own during the sixth minute of the second period to put Yale ahead 3-0.
It took Providence two periods to warm up, but the Friars finally lit up their side of the scoreboard during the third period. The Friars came out of the locker room gunning for a goal, and they found the back of the net at 3:47 into the period. As a cluster of Providence players surrounded Love in front of the goal, and with sticks and bodies flying, Love was unable to see the shot that Providence forward Sonny Watrous fired into the goal. Watrous was assisted on the play by forward Rush Zimmerman.
It did not take long for the Elis to retaliate. Bulldogs defenders cleared the puck out of their zone, and Zingler gained control. She tore off down the rink and met Providence goaltender Amy Thomas one-on-one. Zingler’s first shot was denied, but she snagged her own rebound, and passed the puck back to Sharun at the blueline. Sharun fired the long shot, which penetrated the Friars’ defense and snuck by Thomas for the score at 7:43.
Johnson completed the night’s scoring with five minutes left to play, assisted by Symington and Turney.
The prolific scoring was a huge confidence-builder for the Elis, who had struggled early in the season to score.
“We finished.” Symington said. “We’ve worked really hard and it’s nice to see how far we’ve come. It’s rewarding for us. We could probably work on our D-zone, our breakaway, but it was nice to score some goals.”
Last night’s win brings up the question of a possible national ranking for the Elis, who have defeated No. 3 Harvard, No. 8 Princeton, and now No. 9 Providence. None of the current Bulldogs have played on a ranked team, and Yale is making a strong push for national recognition.
“I think it’s tough for people to look at us now and not give us credit,” Witt said. “We’re 7-3, and there are not many teams who can say that. But, I don’t really care if we get credit or not, as long as we keep on winning.”
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