The Yale women’s hockey team is preparing for its fourth straight weekend of ECAC hockey with yet another chance to change its position in the conference.
The Elis (8–10–1, 5–7–0 ECAC) currently hold the eighth position in its league, but with two games against Brown (4-15-0, 1-11-0) this weekend, one on Friday in Providence and another at home on Saturday, the team is looking to capitalize on the opportunity to win two conference games and achieve a safer post-season position.
“Brown has been struggling a bit,” forward Hanna Åström ’16 said. “We need to outskate them. We should definitely get four points next weekend.”
The Bears are currently in the midst of a nine-game loss streak, with eight of those games against conference opponents. Brown has also averaged 3.94 goals against them per game this season.
According to Åström, the biggest challenge with Brown will be to make sure that the Bulldogs maintain their pace and not to let Brown set a slower pace, which would be advantageous to the Bears.
The team experienced this in the first few minutes of last weekend’s match against Colgate, but after letting up a goal halfway through the first, they outpaced the Raiders.
The only other time this season when Yale faced the same opponent on consecutive days was the opening weekend of the season, when the Bulldogs defeated Providence twice on Oct. 24 and 25.
Despite the travel between the rinks to shift the home advantage, players generally agree that playing Brown twice in a row is beneficial for the Elis.
“Playing only one team in a weekend allows us to focus on our opponent more,” forward Kaitlin Gately ’18 said. “When you play two different teams, you have to shift mindsets after the first game very quickly.”
The team had been practicing power play and penalty kill scenarios specific to play against Brown this week. Yale has been scouting Brown’s systems and has been tweaking plays to counter those systems, according to players.
Playing the same team twice also allows the unique opportunity for the Bulldogs to make necessary adjustments after the first game in anticipation of the next game, Gately added.
According to Åström, momentum could be a large factor for the second game.
“If you lose [the first game], it’s hard because the other team has the mental advantage,” Åström said. “I think mental advantage is really important because [in each game you] need to go in there and show confidence with your body language.”
Although this strategy did not result in a win against Cornell last weekend, the team did see an improvement in the quality of play, and players are hoping that this will help make the difference against Brown.
The Bulldogs have only had two weekends where they succeeded in winning both games, and the team’s longest win streak is just three games, but this weekend against Brown could just be the chance to change those numbers, according to captain and defenseman Aurora Kennedy ’15.
“Our goal for the weekend is just to play consistently,” Kennedy said. “We’ve struggled to put two good weekends together this season, so this weekend against Brown is a great opportunity to do so.”
The Elis will face the Bears at 7 p.m. on Friday in Providence.