While the journey was long, the women’s hockey team did not make a nearly 700-mile round-trip effort this weekend for naught.
The Elis made the trek across the Empire State to take on Colgate (13-12-3, 6-7-3 ECACHL) and Cornell (3-18-3, 3-14-1) for two ECAC matchups. The Bulldogs shut out Cornell 3-0 Saturday but dropped a 4-1 decision to Colgate Friday night. Saturday’s victory kept the Elis (12-13-1, 10-6-1) in fourth place in the league with just three regular season games left to play.
The win over Cornell puts this year’s team in the record books for most wins in a single season — the twelve-win mark was also met by the 1985-86 and the 2003-2004 teams. Although the Elis are pleased to have reached this benchmark, they believe their team has the potential to do even better.
“[The record] is something that is in the back of everyone’s minds, but we expected our team to do that this season, and we expect more,” Eli captain Erin Duggan ’05 said. “So although it is exciting, we have more work to do this season.”
Against Cornell, the Elis controlled the puck for most of the first period, out-shooting the Big Red 13-8. But Yale was unable to get a shot past Cornell goaltender Flora Vineberg, and the period ended scoreless.
Defender Helen Resor ’08 put Yale on the scoreboard at 8:32 into the second period. Forward Christina Sharun ’07 and defender Kelsey Johnson ’07 assisted Resor on the play. The early goal on Cornell allowed the Elis to focus on keeping the Big Red out of their defensive zone.
“Once we got the lead, we focused on our defensive zone, keeping the puck to the outside, and not letting up odd-man rushes,” Sharun said.
Nearly eight minutes into the third period, Yale tallied its second goal of the afternoon. With Cornell’s Pearle Nerenberg mired in the penalty box, Eli forwards Kristin Savard ’07 and Deena Caplette ’06 found forward Jenna Spring ’07, who then found the net to put the Elis ahead 2-0. The goal was Spring’s 11th for the season; she is now tied with Duggan for the team lead.
With time running down in the matchup and the Big Red trailing by two goals, Cornell pulled Vineberg. Eli forward Natalie Babony ’06 gained control of the puck and found Resor, who deposited the puck in Cornell’s open net with just 30 seconds left to play.
“The most important thing that we did well in the Cornell game was play smart hockey,” Sharun said. “Many of the games that we have lost in the past few months have been due to mental errors, and we did a great job of eliminating those errors in the Cornell game.”
Protecting Yale’s goal against Cornell was Shivon Zilis ’08. Zilis took the place of Sarah Love ’06, who has seen playing time in 24 of the Elis’ 26 games this season. Zilis made 22 saves to earn her second shutout of the season.
“It was great to see Shivon in the net,” Johnson said. “She has been working hard and we all had great confidence with her behind us.”
According to Duggan, the change-up in goal was intended to energize a defense that had been lagging in previous games.
“The move was to get the team going,” she said. “We haven’t been giving Sarah the help she needed and I think it was a way for our coaches to say that we needed to get our act together.”
Prior to meeting the Big Red, the Elis took on Colgate in Hamilton, N.Y. The Elis came out of the matchup with a 4-1 loss, with the Raiders collecting all four of their goals on the power play. Love made 24 saves for the Bulldogs.
The Bulldogs got into penalty trouble early, taking three penalties in the first period. Cassie Reid scored the Raiders’ first goal at 13:36 into the first period. Babony retaliated less than a minute later with a goal of her own off an assist from forward Lisa Jacque ’07.
At 11:21 into the second period, Mallory Johnston tallied the Raiders’ second goal. Amanda Barre added two of her own in the third period, including one on an empty net with less than a minute to play to secure the win for Colgate.
“We took a lot of stupid penalties,” Duggan said. “We have had a lot of success in our penalty kill this year, but the puck was just bouncing their way. Sometimes you just get unlucky like that.”
After rebounding from the loss to Colgate with the shutout over Cornell, the Elis are looking to carry that success into their next games, which include matchups against No. 3 Dartmouth and Vermont.