Before the women’s hockey team’s penultimate game of 2011 against Princeton on Dec. 2, head coach Joakim Flygh walked into the dressing room carrying a princess Barbie doll. He told the team it was time for a Cinderella story — time for the Bulldogs (1-8-0 ECAC, 1-15-0) to turn their season around from a disappointing overall record, plagued with injuries and wrought with unlucky breaks.
However, the New Year brought no such Disney magic to the team, which lost 4-1 to Brown (2-4-3 ECAC, 5-5-6) in a home conference game on Wednesday, Jan. 4, and then again 4-0 to McGill (20-0 Quebec Student Sport Federation) in an exhibition game at Ingalls Rink on Saturday, Jan. 7.
“Everyone came back [from break] with a lot of energy and played hard,” Flygh said of the team. “But it is hard to stay positive with our losing record.”
After a 12-day winter break, the team members returned to the ice on Dec. 28th, in preparation to take on their Ivy rival, the Bears.
Goaltender Genny Ladiges ’12 described the first 12 minutes of that game as “the best hockey [the team] has played all year,” as the Bulldogs outshot the Bears 9-2 in that period. Forward Stephanie Mock ’15 got the puck into the net early on, but a video-review declared that the puck had been kicked in and ruled “no-goal.”
At 11:36, Brown scored its first goal of the game, and from then on it was downhill for Yale. Brown scored once more in the first period, and one each in the second and third. Forward Ashley Dunbar ’14 managed to get one point for the Bulldogs in the second period, but Brown still finished the game three points ahead.
“As soon as we got scored on though, we completely fell apart,” Ladiges said, adding that the game was played mostly in Yale’s zone from the first Brown point. “We could never regain our composure.”
Forward Paige Decker ’14 thought that the game was evenly matched, however, and that if the Bulldog’s first attempt at scoring had counted, the team could have won.
The Bulldogs did not manage to break their injury-prone bad luck of last semester, in addition to their losing streak. With at one point six players off the ice in October, the team suffered another blow this year when forward Jackie Raines ’14 got a concussion on a hit during the Brown game. She will be off the ice for an undetermined period of time.
Emily des Meules ’13 and Jen Matichuk ’13 have recovered from their fall injuries and are playing again, but with Raines’s injury, Flygh said the team suffers “one bad thing after another.”
Against McGill, goalie Erin Callahan ’13 played her first period of the season, stopping nine of 11 shots before giving way to Ladiges, who saved 21 of the 23 shots on goal.
“We knew McGill was good going into the game, but I liked our effort,” Flygh said.
Raines said that the Bulldogs may have been a bit hesitant and intimidated to take on the Redmen, who are ranked top in Canada, according to Mock. McGill goalie Charline Labonte has won two Olympic gold medals playing for team Canada.
Mock said that the team has made improvement, even though it is not evident in its record. She said the team is losing by smaller and smaller margins.
Flygh noted that the team is still not technically out of the playoff run, although they would have to win most of their games over the next two months.
“If we could pull together a few wins and gain some confidence, it would make a huge difference,” Flygh said.
Yale has 13 games left this season, all of which are in-conference. The Bulldogs host Clarkson and St. Lawrence next weekend.