After falling to two conferences teams last weekend, the Yale women’s hockey team is learning from its losses in order to prepare for more top-10 opponents.
The Bulldogs (2–2–0, 0–20 ECAC) are taking their defeats at the hands of St. Lawrence and then No. 9 Clarkson in stride and working to improve before their game against No. 6 Boston University this Saturday.
“We’re going to look at our mistakes from this past weekend and find small improvements that we can make to be the better team come Saturday,” captain Aurora Kennedy ’15 said. “We played well over the weekend but just had some unlucky bounces and couldn’t bury the puck at the end of the day.”
The team credits its shaky conference start to the difference in pace, as players noted that the speed of the game was much quicker than in their opening series against Providence.
According to forward Eden Murray ’18, there was a difference in the intensities with which the Bulldogs started in each game last weekend. Yale started the game against St. Lawrence with just six shots in the first period, but came out strong when the puck dropped against the Golden Knights the next day, out-shooting the defending national champions 18 to 12 in the first frame.
“There is still lots our team needs to improve on to reach a championship level of play,” Murray said. “I think we learned a lot from this past weekend and have been improving since our opening weekend.”
Boston University, the Elis’ next opponent, is coming off a two-game winning streak with both victories against conference opponents. With 27 goals in eight games, the Terriers are proving to be an offensive force to reckon with.
With two young and successful goalkeepers, BU is also fielding a solid defense.
“BU has a lot of skilled players, and they also commit to their systems really well,” forward Jamie Haddad ’16 said. “When everyone is on the same page and operating on the same wavelength so to speak, it makes them very tough to beat.”
The Bulldogs usually face two opponents in a single weekend, and therefore spend most practices trying to better the team as a whole. With only one game this weekend, the team has the chance to match its preparation to BU’s playing style, with more attention to specific systems, like power plays and breakouts, said Haddad.
In fact, this is only one of two weekends where the team does not have games on consecutive days.
“I would much rather play only one game in a weekend, but considering we have 30 games in a season, that’s not possible,” Haddad said. “It’s a lot more convenient because you can tailor each week of practice for the team you are playing that weekend, which is a huge bonus, and it’s also a lot easier on your body.”
While the team will be working on communication and passing during practice this week, Murray believes that conditioning will be the defining characteristic for the team as it moves forward to face even tougher competition.
The Terriers are just one of five teams currently ranked in the top 10 that are on Yale’s schedule for the season.
According to Haddad, playing against talented teams is advantageous for the Bulldogs, as they can more easily observe successful teams, keep their own discipline and practice playing at a faster pace.
“I think our conference this year is exceptional, and I’m so happy that the teams are fairly even,” Murray said. “It makes winning more fun and losing more of a motivational aspect for our team. On any day, any team can win in the ECAC, which is why we have to treat every game the same.”
The puck will drop in Ingalls Rink at 3 p.m. on Saturday.