Two unexpected turnarounds in two games this weekend left the women’s ice hockey team triumphant in one game but vanquished in the other.
Yale (3-1-1, 3-1-1 ECACHL) picked up a decisive 5-2 victory against Cornell (3-4-1, 0-1-1) on Friday in Lynah Rink in New York. But Saturday’s faceoff against league opponent Colgate (2-5-1, 2-0) ended with the Elis’ first loss of the season, as the Raiders came back from a deficit to win in overtime, 3-2.
When the puck dropped Friday night, the Bulldogs seized offensive control of the ice in the first period, outshooting the Big Red 7-1 in the opening 20 minutes. But Cornell netminder Jenny Niesluchowski kept the Elis scoreless in spite of their shot advantage.
Bulldog goaltender Shivon Zilis ’08 also held off the single attempt on the visitors’ net, keeping the game scoreless until the end of the first. It was not until 4:09 into the second that Big Red forward Karlee Overguard slipped one past Zilis to break onto the scoreboard. Almost 13 minutes later, Cornell increased its lead to two.
But entering the third, the Bulldogs finally made their move. Less than four minutes into the period, forward Bray Ketchum ’11 finally put the Elis on the board — and began Yale’s offensive avalanche. At 6:50, forward Sarah Tittman ’09 knotted the game at two, assisted by Ketchum, and at 14:20, the Bulldogs pulled ahead for the first time in the game with forward Crysti Howser’s ’09 first goal of the season.
But the Elis did not stop there. Just 14 seconds after Howser’s goal, forward Denise Soesilo ’10 fired in a fourth shot off a pass from Howser, extending the Bulldogs’ lead to two. And defender Alyssa Clarke ’10 secured the game with her unassisted empty-net tally at 15:32, putting the score at what would be the final 5-2 mark.
“I think [in the third] we finally started playing our systems, playing to our strengths and using our speed,” defender Carlee Ness ’09 said. “I think we have a tendency sometimes to get too fancy, but then we just played our game. We put the puck in the net, went up to the net for rebounds and good things happened.”
Saturday’s game saw rookie goaltender Jackee Snikeris ’11 in the crease for the Bulldogs. Snikeris tallied her first collegiate shutout last weekend, a 31-save effort against Brown (1-4-1, 1-3-1). But Colgate still broke onto the board first, when Raiders defender Kiira Dosdall put away a power-play goal 8:24 into the opening period.
The Elis replied in the second, when Ketchum tied it up, assisted by Howser. At just 1:03 into the third, defender Berit Johnson ’10 tallied a shorthanded goal, giving the Bulldogs a 2-1 lead.
But with three seconds to go and the Raiders skating with an extra attacker, Colgate managed to turn things around when Dosdall put away her second goal of the game, assisted by forward Elin Brown and defender Mallory Johnston. With the score tied at two, the two teams entered overtime.
At 4:21, Colgate forward Sam Hunt snagged the puck after a Yale turnover and fired it past Snikeris, scoring a shorthanded goal and giving the Raiders the 3-2 win.
“On Saturday, I thought we played very well for two periods,” Ketchum said. “We had a lot more energy than [on] Friday. The ending was unfortunate, but it was a good learning experience. [Snikeris] played great in goal, and I think if we could’ve focused more on our defensive end, things would have gone our way.”
The Elis have played without defender Helen Resor ’09 for the past two games, but the Olympic veteran will be returning from the Four Nations Cup after the United States’ 2-0 loss in the gold-medal match on Sunday. It was Resor’s fifth year with Team USA and the second time she has helped the team to a silver medal in as many years.
The Bulldogs return home to face league foes Harvard (2-0, 2-0) and Dartmouth (4-0-1, 2-0) this weekend. Although their first defeat was disheartening, they are ready to apply the lessons they have learned in the upcoming matches, Soesilo said.
“Naturally, the overtime loss to Colgate was a huge disappointment,” she said. “But we have to keep in mind that we came back to win the Cornell game after a 0-2 deficit, and we did recover for a while in the Colgate game as well. Instead of fretting about the loss, we should focus on the things we did well and work on getting rid of the mistakes we made so that we get a good start into the next weekend.”