Coming off a decisive 4-1 victory over Brown last weekend, the women’s hockey team is geared up to play five matches over winter break.

Yale (5-6, 3-4 ECAC) will play the first of its five games on Dec. 30 against Providence (10-6-2) at Ingalls Rink.

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After a slow start to the season, the Elis have found fire on the ice by winning three of three of their last four matches, including a second place finish in the Nutmeg Classic.

“I think over the past couple of weeks we proved to ourselves how good of a team we can be,” captain and forward Sarah Tittman ’09 said. “If we bring energy and confidence into the games over break, we will have the opportunity to move our way up the ECAC standings.”

But many of the Bulldogs’ opponents could be potential roadblocks on the Elis’ trip to the top.

The most immediate is Providence. Currently on a three-game winning streak, the Friars have out-scored their opponents 9-2 in those games. The game between the Bulldogs and Friars pits the Elis, who are one game above .500 at home, against a team that has only lost one road match so far this season.

Although this is the first meeting between Yale and Providence this season, both the Friars and the Bulldogs have already faced No. 6 Boston University (8-4-4). The Elis defeated the Terriers 4-1, while Providence played BU to a tie, 3-3.

The Bulldogs will also play against two ranked ECAC opponents over the holidays, No. 5 Dartmouth (7-3-1, 6-1-1) and No. 10 Harvard (4-4-3, 4-2-2). The games against these two teams could be the toughest for the Elis, but if Yale carries its momentum the squad can make a giant leap in the standings.

“We haven’t had the results we think that we are capable of in our league play,” forward Crysti Howser ’09 said.

The Bulldogs will have to play their best in the final games of the break. Before coming to New Haven, Dartmouth and Harvard are slated to play each other twice on Dec. 17 and Jan 6. After that, the Big Green will be the first conference opponent to come to Ingalls on Jan. 9, followed by the Crimson the next night.

But the Elis know that winter break is about more than any one game. It is also a time to fine-tune the team in preparation for the majority of the season.

“The break definitely helps us,” defender Alyssa Clarke ’10 said. “We can focus solely on hockey, improving both individually and as a team, and get some rest that is going to be essential for a successful second half of the season.”