Forward Caroline Murphy ’10 came up big when it mattered.

The Eli captain notched two goals in Saturday’s away game against Union (2–9–1, 0–5–1 ECAC Hockey), carrying the Yale women’s hockey team to a 2–1 win — its first victory of the season.

The win was a turning point for the Bulldogs (1–5–1, 1–5–0), who had recorded five straight conference losses prior to the Saturday contest in upstate New York and fell 4–1 to Rensselaer (4–6–4, 2–2–2) on Friday.

Head coach Hilary Witt said the weekend’s results indicate the team is continuing to improve.

“I think the important message is that our team is trying to get better and we’re getting better everyday,” Witt said. “We’re taking big strides in the right direction.”

The Eli squad had tallied only one goal in conference play — scored by forward Bray Ketchum ’11 against Quinnipiac — leading up to this weekend’s games. But when the team came home from New York, it had recorded three more.

The first of those came from forward Danielle Moncion ’13, at 6:35 in the first period on Friday. RPI had taken a 1–0 lead at 5:37 via an unassisted goal by forward Audrey Stapleton, but Moncion collected a rebound from a shot taken by Murphy and backhanded a shot past the RPI goaltender to equalize a minute later.

It was Moncion’s first career goal.

“I was pumped,” Moncion said. “We haven’t really scored that many goals since the season has started, so to get that goal really pumped everyone up and upped our spirits.”

Moncion added that getting the rebound was something the team had been working on in practice.

“We have been practicing going hard to the net for rebounds,” she said. “I would say there is definitely a translation from practices to games.”

Eli goaltender Jackee Snikeris ’11 made nine saves in the first period, and the Bulldogs recorded 11 shots to RPI’s 10.

But the Engineers broke the tie in the 16th minute of the second period to grab a 2–1 lead. And while the Yale squad continued to outshoot the Engineers — 9–4 in the second period alone — the Bulldogs just could not seem to capitalize.

“The score definitely looks like RPI dominated, but we should have won that game,” Murphy said. “It felt like we were controlling the game, but we just couldn’t put the puck in the back of the net.”

The Engineers put two more away at the end of the third period to secure a 4–1 win. RPI’s fourth goal was an empty-netter.

Even though the Bulldogs came up three short on Friday, the team outshot the home squad 24–22 and Witt emphasized the teams were better matched than the score indicated.

“It was 2–1 game right up to the end and it was a hard-fought battle,” she said. “It was a well-played hockey game and they got a couple bounces and we didn’t, but we battled hard. Unfortunately someone had to lose and it was us.”

But things finally turned around Saturday.

After a scoreless first period in which Yale outshot Union 10–4, Murphy finally struck at 1:41 in the second period to put the Elis on the board.

Moncion carried the puck behind the net and sent a pass to Murphy, who one-timed her shot past goaltender Alana Marcinko and into the net from about three feet out.

“It was a really wonderful pass,” Murphy said, adding that the rest of her line deserved equal credit for the goal. “I thought that Danielle and Becky [Mantell] played really, really well and I fed off of that.”

The Dutchwomen tied the game exactly 10 minutes later, when forward Jeannie Sabourin beat Bulldog goaltender Genny Ladiges ’12 to make the score 1–1.

But in the third period Murphy came up big again.

Defender Jamie Gray caused a turnover at the blue line, which Murphy collected and passed to Mantell who was cutting down the right side.

Mantell’s hard, low shot did not go in, but Murphy gathered the rebound at 5:27 and shot the puck above the goalie’s shoulder and into the back of the net.

The goals were Murphy’s first two of the season.

“She has worked hard,” Witt said of the senior captain. “She’s had a few goals in her career, but she picked a good day to get two big ones. We would love for her to keep scoring.”

Up 2–1, the Elis were able to make the score stick. They outshot Union 30–16 overall.

The Union game also marked Ladiges’ first start of the season. She made 15 saves to hold the Dutchwomen to one goal.

“Hopefully this is just a sign that we have finally clicked and this is just the beginning of a long line of wins,” Murphy said. “We’re taking it day by day.”