After two grueling losses this past weekend, the women’s ice hockey team returned to Connecticut ready for the nearly month-long break that will give them a chance to rest before returning to the ice.

The Elis (5-7, 3-6 ECACHL) fell to the Clarkson Golden Knights (10-6-2, 5-4-1) last Friday in a 4-2 match held in Potsdam, N.Y. The following day brought no better news to the Bulldogs, who were overwhelmed by the St. Lawrence Saints (12-5-1, 7-3), and ultimately the Saturday game in Canton ended with a heart-wrenching 7-3 loss. The defeat extends the Saints’ unbeaten streak over Yale to a formidable 28 games.

“I think that we were inconsistent in our play,” netminder Ansley LaHue ’10 said. “We were not disciplined enough in the defensive zone, and our mistakes cost us goals. Bad turnovers led to breakaways and odd-man rushes and goals against.”

The match against Clarkson found LaHue in the goal when the puck dropped — her second collegiate start of the regular season. Though she kept the Golden Knights scoreless for the first period, the three goals scored in the second proved to be too much for the Elis to surmount. Clarkson forward Genevieve Lavoie scored her second hat trick of the season during the third period, and even goals by forward Mandi Schwartz ’10 and forward Kelsey Johnson ’07 could not close the gap.

“Clarkson sacrifices their bodies and block a lot of shots,” Yale head coach Hilary Witt said. “They work really hard in their zone and make it difficult to score. Every mistake we made, they took advantage of.”

Against St. Lawrence, goaltender Shivon Zilis ’08 had the start and led the way to a scoreless first period, with 15 saves in those 20 minutes alone. Things got rocky in the second period, when the Saints made it 3-0 through a series of goals. But the Elis ended strong, scoring two in the final 3:03 of the period.

“Our team cycled the puck well in the offensive zone,” LaHue said. “But we had trouble finishing on rebound attempts and scoring opportunities.”

In the third, the Saints cemented their lead with a power-play goal 2:23 into the period, and the three goals that followed, including two in succession by sophomore forward Alison Domenico, proved to be too much for the Bulldogs.

“It was 3-2 going into the third, and we let up some goals we shouldn’t have,” Witt said. “Against teams in this league you have to have discipline for 60 minutes, and we didn’t this weekend.”

Forward Crysti Howser ’09 scored the squad’s third and final goal with 2:20 to play. Zilis ended the game with 37 saves.

“Both teams passed exceptionally well and played very disciplined styles of hockey,” defender Regan Gilbride ’07 said. “St. Lawrence, in particular, took advantage of the icing rule change, in that they stretched the defensive zone and were able to hit the wide winger to create a lot of odd man rushes. That’s something that we’ve been trying to use against our opponents, because it opens up the ice and creates a lot of breakaways, especially given the speed that we have.”

The coming weekend for the Elis brings not another matchup but instead the beginning of a break from play that will run until Dec. 29, when they will face the University of Connecticut at home in the first game of the Nutmeg Classic. The break, Gilbride said, will be appreciated.

“I’m looking forward to the upcoming break as a time to rest and for the team to regroup, so that we can come out with a renewed sense of focus in the New Year,” she said.