It’s not every day that an Ivy League team upsets a nationally ranked squad, but over Thanksgiving break, the women’s ice hockey team did just that, defeating No. 4 Boston University (8-3-3) in a non-league matchup, 4-1.
The Elis (4-6-0, 2-4-0 ECAC) then finished out the week at the Nutmeg Classic Tournament with a 2-0 victory over Quinnipiac (2-15-1. 1-4-1 ECAC) on Nov. 28. But they lost 3-2 to the University of Connecticut (9-6-2) in the tournament’s title game the next day.
In the upset win against the Terriers, the game was surprisingly even throughout, despite a heavily favored BU team. Both teams attempted nearly the same amount of shots; however, the difference in this game was the Bulldogs’ ability to capitalize on power plays, something they were not able to do in the previous week against Colgate and Cornell.
Forward Aleca Hughes ’12 scored a power-play goal with assists from forward Crysti Howser ’09 and defender Helen Resor ’09. Forward Danielle Kozlowski ’09 was also able to convert on a power play with assists from captain and forward Sarah Tittman ’09 and forward Maggie Westfal ’09. The two goals proved to be instrumental to the Bulldogs’ win — BU was unable to convert on any of their seven power play opportunities.
“I thought that we had some really good practices in the days leading up to the BU game that put us into a great mindset heading into the game,” Howser said. “The BU game was our best game of the season — upsetting the number four team in the country definitely doesn’t happen every week.”
A week without having to worry about academics likely gave a boost to the team’s performance.
“This break we had the chance to focus more on hockey, and I think it showed in our game against BU,” Tittman said. “We really controlled the puck and took advantage of the scoring opportunities we created. If we can play like that consistently, we will have a lot of success from here on out.”
And after two disappointing losses to Colgate and Cornell in the previous week, this game gave the team a much needed confidence boost.
“It did give us some confidence, as we proved to ourselves just how great of a hockey game we could play,” forward Kristen Stupay ’09 said. “But more so it was a reminder of how it feels to be successful against a good team, and I think that’s something we needed and can hopefully build off of going into the second half of the season.”
Riding on their upset over the No. 4 Terriers , the Elis then travelled to Storrs, Conn. to face Quinnipiac and UConn at the Nutmeg Classic Tournament. In the first period against the Bobcats, the Bulldogs kept the game tight, and defender Alyssa Clarke ’10 helped Yale pull ahead by scoring the first goal with an assist from Hughes.
The Bulldogs then outshot Quinnipiac 14-7 in the second period, but they were not able to capitalize on the disparity, keeping the score at 1-0 with the Elis still ahead.
The third period was a repeat of the first period, with the Bobcats attempting five shots to the Bulldogs’ seven. Howser scored a goal, despite the even game, with assists from Helen Resor ’09 and forward Carry Resor ’09 to give Yale the victory and a chance to compete for the Nutmeg Classic Tournament Title against the University of Connecticut.
“Quinnipiac didn’t apply the kind of pressure we usually see, but we had success against them when we were patient with the puck,” Tittman said.
By looking at the shot totals for the title game, the match was nearly a stalemate. UConn attempted 24 shots to the Bulldogs’ 23, but the difference in this game was the Huskies’ ability to limit their penalties, holding the Elis’ to just three power play opportunities. UConn, on the other hand, had five power plays and was able to convert on two of them, enabling the team to pull out with the title and end Yale’s two-game winning streak.
“Unfortunately we fell a bit short in the game against UConn, but the wins against Quinnipiac and BU were very big for us,” Tittman said. “We will continue to work hard all week in practice to prepare for Brown this coming Thursday.”
The Bulldogs will host the Bears on Thursday at 7 p.m. at Ingalls Rink.
Efren Bonner contributed reporting.