Sometimes, even a best effort is not enough.
The Yale women’s hockey team (10-12-5, 7-7-4 ECACHL) fell hard on senior weekend, dropping games to No. 8 Clarkson (21-9-1, 12-5-0), 2-0, Friday and No. 2 St. Lawrence (26-3-2, 14-2-2), 7-1, on Saturday. The losses snapped the Elis’ program-record seven-game unbeaten streak.
The Bulldogs had kept pace with the Golden Knights’ shooting through the first two periods despite taking penalties, and although Jessica Cloutier knocked in a power-play tally halfway through the second, the Elis were definitely still in the running.
The Bulldogs’ offense exploded in the third period, outshooting Clarkson 16-1. But Friday belonged to Kira Hurley, who stopped all 28 shots she faced. Emma Madigan dropped in the empty-net game-sealer with just under 30 seconds left, and the Elis’ unbeaten streak was over.
Defender Carlee Ness ’09 said the Elis had started to play too late in the game.
“It was just us realizing that we need to pick it up, that this isn’t a team that should be beating us,” Ness said. “But we can’t wait until the third period. If we want to have success we have to play a full 60 minutes.”
The Elis tried but could not stop the second-ranked St. Lawrence offense on Saturday, with early penalties leading to two Saints’ power-play goals in the first period. Two even-strength goals in the second ended Love’s nearly 400-minute streak without giving up an even-strength goal and made the game’s outcome almost a foregone conclusion before forward Sheila Zingler ’07 scored the first and only Yale goal of the night, a power-play goal just over a minute into the third.
But three more St. Lawrence goals, including a shorthanded tally, sent Love to the bench. Shivon Zilis ’08 came in and stopped all six shots she faced.
Zingler said the timing of the losses was one of the team’s biggest disappointments.
“It was terrible [losing on senior weekend,” she said. “We really tried hard for them, and it just wasn’t going to happen.”
Next weekend the Elis take on Quinnipiac and Princeton. Two wins, along with a pair of losses each for Harvard and Colgate, would net the Bulldogs a fifth-place finish in the ECAC and their first-ever Ivy League title — plenty to play for.
“To get an Ivy Championship would be the first in our program, something we’re stoked about and we’ve been gunning for,” forward Christina Sharun ’07 said. “And the ability to get back to .500 and have a .500 season is huge for us, and to set as high a spot as possible in the playoffs. We realize that, and it’s as if we’re in playoff mode already.”
But Love, the starting goaltender and a senior leader, cautioned against looking too far ahead.
“Right now we need to focus on one game at a time, which means Quinnipiac,” she said. “Saturday’s game against Princeton is going to be a hard fought battle for the Ivy title, but we can’t worry about that game until after Friday’s game.”