After a high-scoring pair of games, the Yale women’s hockey team swept the weekend for the first time in 2015.
The Bulldogs (13–13–1, 10–10–0 ECAC) had one of their best weekends yet this season as they defeated both Rensselaer and Union on home ice on Friday and Saturday. With four points through these two contests, the Elis have clinched a spot in ECAC playoffs for the second year in a row.
“There were some ups and downs in both games this weekend,” defenseman Mallory Souliotis ’18 said. “Overall, we knew we had to get four points this weekend, and we did, so we are happy with that. We know that some of this weekend was not our best hockey, and we are looking to learn from it.”
In Friday night’s matchup against the Engineers, Yale opened with the only goal of the first period at 14:23 when forward Stephanie Mock ’15 scored off of a rebound to put the Bulldogs on the board. The Elis would not relinquish the lead for the rest of the game.
Yale scored a pair of goals in the second, starting off the frame with a shot from defenseman Taylor Marchin ’17 that tipped off RPI goaltender Kelly O’Brien’s glove.
The team faced some trouble a few minutes later with a five-on-three for nearly 45 seconds due to penalties from defenseman Kate Martini ’16 and forward Phoebe Staenz ’17. With a clear by forward Jamie Haddad ’16 during the ensuing penalty kill, the Elis prevented the Engineers from scoring. After a power-play goal by forward Eden Murray ’18, the Elis ended the second period ahead 3–0.
That lead only increased as the game went on. Yale saw two more goals scored by Haddad and forward Jackie Raines ’15. The matchup ended in a shutout, with the Bulldogs earning a 5–0 victory.
Goaltender Jaimie Leonoff ’15 stole the show, saving all 31 of RPI’s shots and making a diving save in the last few minutes to deny the Engineers a single goal. RPI had no such luck, playing three different goaltenders throughout the course of the game.
Yale had similar success on Saturday against Union. The team started off the game with an earlier goal from forward Krista Yip-Chuck ’17 just 1:12 into the game. The Elis continued to dominate offensively, taking 11 shots before Union took one.
“We were able to generate a lot of offense in both games and create a lot of good scoring opportunities which we were able to capitalize on,” Souliotis said. “Our offense was relentless in the offensive zone, preventing RPI and Union from generating any offense.”
The Dutchwomen were awarded a penalty shot early in the second period. Union forward Erica Kelly managed to get around Leonoff to even the score, but the victory was short-lived. Martini picked up a rebound from captain and defenseman Aurora Kennedy ’15 at 6:35 to put the Bulldogs back in the lead.
The scoring continued into the third with goals from forwards Courtney Pensavalle ’18 and Hanna Åström ’16. Union scored one more time in the final minutes, but Yale secured a solid 4–2 win over the Dutchwomen.
The Elis more than doubled the number of shots taken by Union, with 38 to the Dutchwomen’s 17.
This is the second time this season the Yale has swept RPI and Union in the same weekend, and the team had an identical score in both games against the Dutchwomen.
Murray attributes much of the team’s success to its growing confidence as the season progresses.
“Our level of confidence and our preparation over the past few months has started to pay off,” Murray said. “Now we’re seeing the results which have replaced any doubt we might have felt at the beginning [of the season] with belief.”
The Bulldogs face Quinnipiac and Princeton this weekend in the final games of the regular season.