There are no easy road trips in ECAC hockey, but traveling to Colgate and No. 2 Cornell just a week after a drive to Union and RPI is certainly one of the tougher ones. Coupled with the pressure of the Bulldogs’ having to fight for their playoff lives, it may have been too much for the Elis, who lost 1–0 to Colgate before being defeated by No. 2 Cornell. 7–1.
The Bulldogs now sit in tenth, two spots out of the playoffs. They still have a glimmer of hope for making the playoffs with a coveted eighth place finish, but to do so they would need wins over Brown and Princeton — both teams that Yale has previously defeated — as well as to get some help from around the conference if their postseason dreams are to come to fruition.
Jackee Snikeris ’11 played spectacularly against the Raiders Friday night, but the Bulldogs couldn’t get around the obstacle of the Raiders’ goalie Kimberly Sass, who made 26 saves to earn the 1–0 win. Yale then ran into the the Big Red powerhouse, and despite 45 saves from Genny Ladiges ’12 and taking the initial lead over Cornell thanks to a goal from Aleca Hughes ’12, the Bulldogs fell 7–1.
“[The first period] was a lot of fun,” Hughes said of the Cornell game. “To have a lead on a team that’s that good. Genny was unbelievable. We played right with them for a long stretch.”
The Bulldogs and Raiders came into Friday night’s contest tied for ninth in the ECAC, each team hoping to take a tenuous hold on the eighth and final playoff spot. Early on, it was Colgate that looked more ready to do so, outshooting the Blue and White 15–7 in the first period, but Snikeris made several crucial saves to send her team to intermission locked in a scoreless tie.
The teams were even for much of the second, but following a sequence in which Snikeris turned away a grade-A scoring chance from the Raiders, Brittany Phillips found the back of the net off a face-off to send the Bulldogs down one.
Yale continued to play disciplined hockey into the third, not committing its first penalty until there were just 12 minutes left, but two more in the following few minutes left the Bulldogs short-handed as they tried to stage a comeback. Despite a couple of late chances when Snikeris was pulled for an extra skater, Colgate earned the 1–0 win.
The No. 2 Big Red loomed as the next challenger for the Bulldogs and first-year head coach Joakim Flygh, who opted to rest Snikeris and play Genny Ladiges, who played excellently filling in for seven games earlier this season when Snikeris was down with a knee injury.
The Bulldogs gave Ladiges a lead early, as the reliable scoring duo of Bray Ketchum ’11 and Hughes combined to put their team up 1–0 just three minutes in. Thanks to 15 saves from Ladiges in the first, Yale held that lead for 15 minutes before a late Cornell goal sent the teams to the break tied at one.
“We were fired up after coming out of the first period tied at one, and we had followed our game plan,” head coach Joakim Flygh said in a press release after the game. “Towards the end of the second period we started giving up too many opportunities, too many rebounds. You can’t expect your goaltender to make three or four saves in a row.”
The Big Red’s third-ranked scoring offense exploded for four goals in the second, despite another 19 saves from Ladiges. Ten more saves in the third gave the junior a career-high 45 on the night, but Cornell was simply too much for the Bulldogs, and came away with its 19th ECAC win of the season.
“They’re just so fast in transition,” Hughes said. “We can’t really be mad — they’re just a great team, and we really battled. They just beat us.”
Yale has three games remaining in the regular season and all will be at Ingalls Rink, starting with a Tuesday night game against Brown.