This weekend, the women’s hockey team will determine whether Bulldog blue can stand up against crimson and green.
The Elis will face the Dartmouth Big Green in Ingalls Rink at 7:00 p.m. tonight, and less than twenty-four hours later they will go up against the Harvard Crimson in a second home game that is scheduled to begin at 4:00 p.m. on Saturday. These will be Yale’s first matches since the return of head coach Hilary Witt and defender Helen Resor ’09 from their stint with Team USA.
“It is great to be back,” said Resor, who returned from the Four Nations Cup with a second-place medal after Team USA fell to Canada, 3-0. “I missed the team a lot, and I’m really excited for this weekend.”
With victories in its previous two games, the squad is now looking ahead to the back-to-back matches against teams that are part of not only the Ivy League but also the ECACHL. Dartmouth and Harvard are currently tied for second place in the ECAC; Yale is tied for fourth.
Harvard is coming off an impressive 5-2 victory over Cornell, during which they scored three goals in less than one minute.
“I am glad that Harvard got that scoring spree out of their system,” associate head coach Harry Rosenholtz said. “Both [Harvard and Dartmouth] are dangerous and have the talent to put up lots of goals in quick succession. [But] if we take advantage of the opportunities we do get, we can expect wonderfully-played, close games.”
With The Game looming in the near future, the Bulldog-Crimson rivalry, always an issue, is an even greater characteristic of the Saturday matchup than usual. The somewhat painful history between the two teams may also be a factor, team members said.
“After beating Harvard for the first time in twenty years in my sophomore year, it’s become an extremely competitive rivalry,” forward Jenna Spring ’07 said.
Harvard and Yale are 2-2-1 in their last five games, Rosenholtz said. This scenario has been played out once this year — Yale’s victory against Brown last week was only its second since 1988 — and the team has high hopes of shattering another less-than-flattering statistic with a third victory against the Crimson.
Notably, this weekend will also be a weekend of Olympians for all three Ivy teams. Resor and forward Denise Soesilo ’10 (Germany) have both played in the Olympics, while Harvard’s roster includes three Olympians and Dartmouth had four in Torino last year.
The matchups will be difficult, especially back to back, Witt said, so a good recovery will be crucial, and the team will need to play its hardest all the way through both games.
“Our goals for [the upcoming games] are to move the puck quickly and to out-skate them,” forward Maggie Westfal ’09 said. “These teams are both fast and pass really quickly, so it’s our job to match them in intensity this weekend.”
Ultimately, Rosenholtz said, the rivalries between the teams and the prospective difficulties are much less important than the games they play tonight and tomorrow.
“Personally, I think every member of this team is more driven to create their own history than to think about what has gone before,” he said.