After 40 days without a conference game, the women’s hockey team returns to ECAC competition this weekend with a pair of home contests against Union and Rensselaer on dedication day at the recently renovated Ingalls Rink.

The Eli women (4–10–3, 2–7–1 ECAC) will face off against Rensselaer (7–9–5, 4–3–3) on Friday at 7 p.m. before welcoming Union (4–17–1, 0–9–1) at 4 p.m. on Saturday in the first part of a Yale hockey doubleheader.

The Bulldog women fell to RPI, 4–1, the last time around, on Nov. 13, but then recorded their first league win of the season with a 2–1 victory against Union the next day.

Coach Hilary Witt said RPI will be a tough opponent but that she thinks the contest could go either way.

“They have some skills, they have some speed, they are pretty disciplined and they are strong,” Witt said of the Engineers. “We can win any game in our league. But you have to show up that day, and you have to make fewer mistakes than your opponent.”

Even though RPI came out on top in its Nov. 13 meeting with the Bulldogs, the game was tight until the end.

Forward Danielle Moncion ’13 notched her first career goal to tie things up after RPI had taken an early 1–0 lead. The Engineers scored again in the second period and then put the game away with two late goals, including an empty-netter. The Elis outshot their opponents 22–24 during the contest.

Witt also said that Union would not necessarily be an easy game, noting that the 2–1 result against the Dutchwomen earlier in the season marked another close competition.

“They haven’t had any wins,” she said. “However, they have certainly closed the gap and in our game last time it could have gone either way.””

The results of this weekend’s conference games are especially important as the end of the season fast approaches. The Bulldogs currently sit in 10th place in the ECAC standings with five points — just four behind eighth-place Colgate. Only eight teams qualify for the women’s ECAC Tournament.

“We are four points out of playoff contention right now, and we can’t waste any more opportunities to get more points in the league,” Witt said. “This is a fun group to be around, and this team has all the potential in the world to win more games … We just have to come ready to go every time.”