The winner’s high from last week’s victory against Clarkson didn’t last long for the women’s ice hockey team as they returned from a trip to upstate New York with two losses to Colgate and Cornell, 4-2 and 3-0, respectively. The losses left Yale in ninth place in the ECAC standings.
Despite the disappointing performance, head coach Hillary Witt said she thought the team played well overall, but lost their element as the games stretched on.
“We let our discipline go at times and we just didn’t score,” she said. “If we don’t score, we just can’t win.”
In Friday’s game against the Colgate Raiders (7-6, 2-2 ECAC), that definitely seemed to be the case. It was all about who could play consistently through all three periods, and the team that did won.
In the first period, in what began as a fairly even competition, the Bulldogs (2-4, 2-5) attempted a total of 15 shots to Colgate’s 13. Defender Helen Resor ’09 made the first goal of the game on an unassisted shot to put Yale on top. Colgate’s Evan Minnick later took advantage of a power play, scoring the Raider’s first goal of the game with assists from Jessi Waters and Marissa Dombovy to end the first period in a 1-1 tie.
In the second period, the shot total was flipped. Colgate attempted 15 to Yale’s 13 in what was still an even game, but the Raiders were able to capitalize on another power play that made the difference in this period. The Bulldogs had four opportunities to score on power plays in the second period, but Howser’s shot, assisted by defender Alyssa Clarke ’10 and forward Bray Ketchum ’11, was the only one to go in for the team.
With the score at 3-2 in Colgate’s favor, it was still a very winnable game for the Bulldogs, but the team wasn’t able to keep up with the Raiders’ pace to finish out the game in the third period. The rest of the game was spent largely in Bulldog territory as the Raiders attempted 15 shots to the Bulldogs’ seven. With the Colgate goalie’s save percentage of 0.935, seven shots just weren’t enough, leaving Yale scoreless in the period. The Raiders’ Katie Stewart took advantage of the shot disparity to put her team on top 4-2 with a goal, the final score of the game.
“We created a lot of scoring opportunities, but we just didn’t convert on those chances,” said captain Sarah Tittman ’09.
Witt felt the same, but also thought the Bulldogs’ inability to finish strong posed a problem for the team.
“You try to do too much too soon and then you burn yourself out,” she said about her team’s third period performance. “Colgate got the momentum and they kept it.”
At Lyna Rink in Ithaca, N.Y., it seemed as though the Bulldogs had not recovered from the previous day’s disappointing loss in what would be a sharp contrast from last year’s matchup. In 2007, the Bulldogs swept the Big Red (2-1-1, 4-2-1) by convincing margins in both of their games. In this match, however, Cornell attempted 37 shots while holding Yale to just 25.
“We spent a lot of the game killing penalties, making it difficult to generate much offense,” said Tittman.
Those penalties more than likely cost the game for the Elis. Cornell had 10:50 worth of power plays, making most of the game an uphill struggle for the Elis.
In the first period, Cornell’s Karlee Overguard scored the first goal to start what would be a long game for the Bulldogs. The Big Red’s Rebecca Johnston then scored another goal to put Cornell on top 2-0 to finish the period. Both scores were off power plays, something that Yale was not able to capitalize on. The Elis had a total of 12 power plays the whole weekend, but only scored on one of them.
“I thought one of our power plays [at the Colgate game] was pretty good; we just couldn’t finish,” Witt explained. “I think things happen like that sometimes, and hopefully we’ll get the bounces the next time around.”
The Elis were only able to outshoot Cornell in the second period, and were able to shut out the Big Red. But still, the Bulldogs came out of the period scoreless.
The third period proved to be no different than the first, with Cornell attempting 15 shots to the Bulldogs’ seven. And, like Colgate, Johnston took advantage of this disparity to give Cornell another goal and a 3-0 win.
“I think that at Cornell we just didn’t create enough chances and we didn’t finish the ones that we did get,” Howser said. “We had a good amount of opportunities on the power play. We were able to put one in, but that was obviously not enough, and we have to keep creating chances.”
Howser added that the team has to keep working harder.
It seems as though consistency is going to be the key for a successful season for the Bulldogs this year.
“We just have to keep getting better,” Witt said. “We have to work on our discipline a little bit and work on our skills with the puck. But it’s a long season, and if we get better every day we’re going to be fine. That’s our goal right now — to get better every day.”
The Elis play again on Nov. 25, facing Boston University in a non-league matchup at Ingalls Rink.