After proving their ability in a weekend series in New York, the Elis are hoping to capitalize on the momentum coming into a critical set of games this weekend.
Yale (10–12–1, 7–9–0 ECAC) earned its most impressive win of the season last weekend, upsetting then-No. 8 Clarkson in a 3–2 match. The Bulldogs shut the Golden Knights down late in the game, scoring a pair of goals toward the end of the second period and not allowing Clarkson many good opportunities in the final 20 minutes. Despite a loss against then-No. 9 St. Lawrence the next day, Yale is still celebrating a major victory as the team heads into a weekend of conference play in which they will take on No. 4 Harvard and Dartmouth away from the Elis’ home ice.
“Playing against two Ivy rivals like Harvard and Dartmouth always makes for an exciting weekend of games, especially at this time of year,” forward Krista Yip-Chuck ’17 said. “Both teams are well-coached and Harvard especially has great depth, but if we use our speed we can take advantage of both these teams.”
Last weekend, five Bulldogs scored goals and 10 earned at least one point, giving the Elis one of their best all-around performances all season. Players said the Clarkson victory gave the Bulldogs confidence that they can compete with top teams.
According to forward Hanna Åström ’16, the team played just as well against St. Lawrence, but did not get good bounces, although they maintained pressure throughout the game.
“It was a tough loss because we played hard and still came up short,” forward Brittany Wheeler ’18 said. “However, it’s something to build from. Now we’re looking forward to next weekend and continuing to build from where we were last weekend.”
Harvard (15–4–2, 12–3–1) will be a difficult matchup for Yale, as the Crimson sit in second place in the ECAC, just a point behind conference-best Quinnipiac. The Crimson, who have two Olympians on the roster and are led by Team USA coach Katey Stone, top the league in goals per game, averaging 3.52 while only giving up 1.74 per contest.
Although the Crimson was shut out by Princeton this weekend, they will have a significant home ice advantage, seeing as they have not lost a game played in Cambridge this season.
The Bulldogs remain optimistic and are excited by the chance to play their rival again, especially after suffering a 3–1 loss last time around, players said.
“I really like playing Harvard,” Åström said. “They are a very talented and hard working team who uses their speed a lot. I think it should be a very close and exciting game.”
Saturday afternoon’s match against Dartmouth (10–10–2, 6–8–2) will be important for Yale, especially after it moved up in the ECAC standings to share the seventh position with the Big Green. In their last match-up, the Bulldogs came away with a 5–1 victory despite significantly fewer shots than Dartmouth. While the Big Green has not won a game since Jan. 17, that victory was against ranked foe Harvard, proving that Dartmouth can also skate with the best.
As the season draws to a close with only six games left, every opportunity matters for the Bulldogs as they try to improve their conference standing for a playoff run. Only eight teams make the ECAC playoffs.
According to Åström, at this point in the season, the goal for the team has to be four points. Yale has not won both games in a weekend since Dec. 5 and 6, when the team was in the midst of a three game winning streak — the longest it has had this season.
“We’re looking forward to a hard week of practice so that we continue to build momentum and come away with two wins this weekend,” Yip-Chuck said.
The Bulldogs will face Harvard this Friday at 7 p.m.