Last weekend, the women’s hockey team nabbed its first point of the season. This weekend, the squad will square off against two ECAC teams in New York, still on the hunt for its first win of the season.
The Bulldogs (0–5–1, 0–3–1 ECAC) will play Rensselaer (3–7–1, 2–2–0) on Friday in the teams’ first meeting since Yale’s 4–2 loss on Feb. 15 last season. The following day, Yale will face Union (4–8–0, 1–3–0) for the first time since last year’s overtime 1–1 tie on Feb. 16.
The Bulldogs captured their first point in the conference standings on Saturday with a no-score overtime tie against No. 7 Quinnipiac. Defender Kate Martini ’16 called this feat a step in the right direction and said that she is confident the team will come out of the coming weekend with four points.
“It’s a huge weekend for us,” she said. “It’s a weekend that we can absolutely win both games, and I think the team will be disappointed if we come out with any less.”
Martini scored for the Bulldogs in their final match against Union last year
Head coach Joakim Flygh said that both Rensselaer and Union are hard-working, well-coached teams, so extra effort in practice this week will prove particularly important.
He is optimistic that the Bulldogs will be healthier and will boast a fuller roster this weekend than in past games. He said he hopes that forward Lynn Kennedy ’15 will play for the first time since suffering an injury. In addition, forward Phoebe Staenz ’17 will be back on the ice after travelling with the Swiss national team last weekend.
“We want to come away with points and stay in the hunt for playoff spots,” Flygh said. “Going into the weekend, we’re looking to get points and hopefully get our first win.”
Although the team has not won a single game so far, Flygh said it is making strides and is encouraged by recent performances. He added that both teams that the Bulldogs faced last weekend are very strong and played in the Frozen Four last year.
Martini added that she believes that the upcoming games will set the tone for the season, as the team enters its vital second weekend of conference play.
The defender applauded her teammate and goaltender Jaimie Leonoff ’15 for making 44 saves to shut out Quinnipiac last Saturday. Leonoff said that the team’s defense has been playing well recently, so a major goal for the coming weekend is to capitalize on scoring chances. She added that the team has improved with every game this season, putting the Bulldogs in a better place currently than they reached at the end of last season.
“I’m feeling good,” she said. “I thought the games last weekend went really well. We worked really hard. It was definitely our strongest weekend yet. We keep building and it’s great.”
Forward Gretchen Tarrant ’17 said she hopes that the team will improve this weekend on its ability to bury shots when given the chance and to finish each game strong.
“For the most part, we’re working on coming together with our team play,” she said. “I think we’re really getting there.”
The Bulldogs will play Rensselaer on Friday afternoon at 4:00 p.m. and Union on Saturday afternoon at 4:00 p.m.