The last time the women’s hockey team played Brown, the Elis tied the Bears, 3-3, breaking a more than decade-long stretch during which the Bears had won every meeting between the two rivals.
This time it didn’t go so well.
Brown (10-8-2, 8-2-1 ECACHL) beat Yale (5-10-3, 2-5-2), 3-1, on the strength of two third-period goals and a 25-save performance by sophomore goalie O’Hara Shipe. Brown has not lost to Yale since Feb. 10, 1988, and with the win the Bears move to 53-3-1 all-time against the Bulldogs. The loss keeps the Elis in ninth place in the ECAC. Eight of the league’s 11 teams make the playoffs.
Forward Crysti Howser ’09 said the problem for the Bulldogs is not a lack of talent or effort.
“They were able to capitalize on bad mistakes we made, mental mistakes, and that really cost us,” she said.
The game started poorly for the Elis, who were outshot 12-7 in the first frame. Two fabulous saves from goalie Sarah Love ’06 stopped what should have been Brown goals early in the period, but the shutout would not last. The Bears got on the board midway through the period, as Margaret Ramsay beat Love on a rebound of a shot from Lindsey Glennon.
But the Bulldogs did not roll over and die after going down early. Instead, they came out strong in the second, and Deena Caplette ’06 made her only shot of the game count 25 seconds into the period. With a Brown defender hounding her, Caplette still managed to slip the puck into the net to even the score at one-all.
The Bulldogs’ penalty kill also saw action in the second, limiting Brown to one shot on two power plays in the frame. Neither team could get past the other’s penalty kill during the game, with both Brown and Yale going 0-3 on the man advantage.
Love said the Elis’ penalty kill was something they could build on going into the rest of the season.
“If we can play with the same intensity during 5-on-5 hockey as we do when we’re down a man, then that would really help us out,” Love said. “We need to take the rest of our season one game at a time.”
The Elis had at least two solid scoring chances late in the second, but Shipe denied Maggie Westfal ’09 at 14:30 and stopped Nina Resor ’07 in the closing moments of the period.
But after a middle frame in which the Elis outshot them 12-9, the Bears starting roaring in the third. The Brown offense put an enormous amount of pressure on the Eli blueliners early in the frame, and the Yale defense soon snapped. Brown’s Ramsay got her second goal of the game during a scramble in front of the net at 2:58, putting the Bears up for good. The rest of the game was all Brown, and Hayley Moore ensured the victory with a score at 14:49 in the third.
The loss is the Bulldogs’ third in a row, but hope still remains for a playoff berth. Colgate and league hobbyhorse Cornell visit Ingalls Friday and Saturday. If the Elis can pick up two wins, they stand a good chance of moving back into contention for the postseason.
Defender Kelsey Johnson ’07 said the team will have to put more of a focus on defense if they hope to match last year’s successes.
“Our team needs to recognize that we’re not a high-scoring team and tighten up our defense to account for the fact,” Johnson said. “We’re not going to score five goals in a game, so we can’t give up three. Scoring comes from good defense, so if we play good defense we’ll end up generating more offense.”
One good sign from Tuesday night’s contest was the play of Howser, who had three decent shots, finished +1 and won 22 of her 30 face-offs. But Howser said the team has to avoid mental mistakes if they hope to succeed in the closing weeks of the season.
“We have the talent,” she said. “It’s just a matter of putting it all together and playing smart hockey. The effort’s there, but we just need to start playing smarter and start beating those teams we know we’re capable of beating.”