Despite improved play, the Yale women’s hockey team remains at 0.500 after a weekend split on the road.
The Bulldogs (3–3–1, 1–3–0 ECAC) had their first shutout of the season on Friday, preventing Colgate (3–8–0, 1–3) from getting the puck in the net. However, the Elis suffered a 6–2 defeat the following day against the first fellow Ivy in their schedule, Cornell (2–4–0, 2–2–0).
“Getting a shutout was the product of what we have been working on by keeping the play in the offensive zone, blocking shocks and overall just limiting shots [allowed],” captain Aurora Kennedy said ’15.
Yale’s matchup against the Raiders was also the Elis’ first conference victory. According to defender Kate Martini ’16, Colgate was a team that the Bulldogs could not afford to lose to if they were hoping for postseason success.
Yale scored three goals throughout the first and second periods, ushering in a scoreless final period that secured the win.
While the offense was on point, it was goalie Jaimie Leonoff ’15 who had the most impressive game. Leonoff had 18 saves in the game and 188 so far this season. It is her skill and her 0.913 saving percentage that propels the team, players said.
“Jaimie Leonoff played an amazing game,” Martini said, “We didn’t play as well as we were hoping to in the first period, and Jaimie made some key saves.”
This was Colgate’s first shutout loss of the season. Yale limited the Raiders to just five shots in the first period and four in the third.
Leonoff also had her first assist in the game’s final goal, scored by forward Krista Yip-Chuck ’17 at the end of the second. The team had been running that play for years, Leonoff said, noting that it was nice to see the little things pay off.
“Apart from Jaimie, [the win] came down to hard work,” Martini said. “Colgate did a good job of disrupting our systems, but we were able to adjust our game and outwork them.”
It was a different story, however, when the Bulldogs faced the Big Red. Cornell had already scored two goals by 4:06 into the first period, although Yale answered less than 20 seconds later with its first goal of the game, put into the net by forward Courtney Pensavalle ’18.
Yale never returned from the deficit, falling to the Big Red 6–2. The Bulldogs only took 12 shots the entire game, compared to Cornell’s 32.
Yale accrued nine penalties in the game, allowing three successful power-play goals.
“With a team with so much offensive talent like Cornell, they are bound to convert these opportunities into goals,” Leonoff said. “We definitely learned the hard way that we need to be disciplined and play the stronger teams five-on-five as much as possible.”
Cornell is among one of Yale’s toughest opponents, in part because it has two members who play for the Canadian national team. The Big Red, who were winless heading into last weekend, were playing what Martini called “desperate hockey,” as they felt the need to prove themselves as major conference contenders.
This Friday, the Bulldogs will face Sacred Heart at home. The Elis defeated the Pioneers 10–2 in a preseason scrimmage in mid-October.
According to Martini, Yale is hoping to focus on perfect execution and other details that cannot be addressed against stronger opponents, like Cornell for instance.
The Elis’ second game of the break will be a rare Tuesday night match against No. 1 Boston College. In addition to their rank, the Eagles have also just seen the return of five members who played as part of the U.S. national team at the Four Nations Cup.
“They are a tremendously talented team,” Martini said. “But if we execute our systems properly and work hard, it is definitely a game that we can win.”
The team is positive about its potential, though. According to Kennedy, as long as they show up ready to play 60 minutes of hockey and don’t take any shifts off, there is nothing they need to change in order to beat Boston College.