With only two games under its belt, the women’s hockey team struggled on the road last weekend against two nationally ranked teams who have had substantially more game experience so far this season.
After a tie against Providence 2-2 in their opener on Oct. 23 and an exhibition game win against McGill 4-2, the Elis (0-2-1, 0-2-0 ECAC) fell to St. Lawrence (4-2-3, 2-1-0 ECAC), 4-0, and Clarkson, 2-0, (9-1-1, 3-0-0 ECAC) to open ECAC play.
In both games, the Bulldogs offense was almost non-existent as the Saints and Golden Knights controlled the puck for most of the game and were able to hold Elis scoreless. Both teams more than doubled the Bulldog’s shots on goal total. The Saints attempted 35 shots on goal to the Elis’ 15 while the Golden Knights attempted 38 shots on goal to Yale’s 17.
“We were kind of sitting back on our feet for most of the game [against St. Lawrence] so they kind of took it to us and basically just controlled the whole play of the game,” said goalie Jaclyn Snikeris’11 who had 59 saves over the two games. “We didn’t get many good opportunities at all. We played a lot better [against Clarkson] but again we put shots to the net but we weren’t able to get rebounds.”
And it was obvious that St. Lawrence outplayed the Bulldogs on Friday. On eight power play opportunities, the Saints were able to score three times while the Bulldogs, despite having six power play opportunities were unable to capitalize on any of them. In the Clarkson game, the Bulldogs similarly were not able to capitalize on three power plays and the Golden Knights scored one goal on four power plays. According to head coach Hilary Witt, it was opportunities like these that hurt the Bulldogs over the course of the weekend.
“Obviously we could be better offensively — that’s sort of an understatement,” Witt said. “We had some opportunities that we didn’t take advantage of, we had a couple two-on-ones that we had a couple of chances to score and we didn’t.”
However, these two games may not be a good indicator of where the Elis stand in the ECAC standings. Because of Ivy League regulations, the Bulldogs only had two games under their belt before coming into the weekend’s conference opener. St. Lawrence and Clarkson, because they are non-Ivy League schools, were able to start their seasons much earlier and had eight and 11 games of experience, respectively.
Captain and forward Caroline Murphy ’10 explained that these rules definitely have an impact on these first few non-Ivy conference games, amplified by the fact that this year’s team is very young with only four seniors.
“I don’t think we like to say that it does [have an effect],” Murphy said. “They just moved the puck better; they knew where their teammates were. They moved the puck very quickly and we just weren’t used to that. It’ll be very interesting once we go and play them later in the season. I can guarantee that we will know what to expect and we will have had six or seven more weeks of team play under our belts.”
Witt added that the experience issue should not be an excuse for the weekend’s losses, but acknowledged that because the team is so young, some players might have been nervous having only one real game of experience before facing off against a tough St. Lawrence squad.
But despite the offensive struggles, and trying to come together as a team against more experienced teams, Witt said the defense has been playing well. While the Bulldog offense was unable to keep the puck away from their opponents, defensively, the Elis only allowed seven goals over the weekend. Snikeris, who played five of six periods over the weekend, had 59 saves on 64 shots on goal.
“She’s our defense right now which is something we shouldn’t ask her to do,” Murphy said. “I think our defense played well this weekend and I just think that the offense needs to step up and help us out a little bit more.”
Next week, the Elis will try to bounce back from last weekend’s losses and will face perhaps a more evenly matched team in Princeton (2-1-1, 1-0-1 ECAC) who follows the same Ivy League regulations as Yale followed by Quinnipiac (4-3-1, 2-0-0 ECAC) the next night.
“I think we definitely have a lot of potential,” Snikeris said. “We just need to stay out of the box and keep working on getting pucks to the net and bodies to the net and controlling the puck.”