After an impressive showing against RPI and Union last weekend, the Yale women’s hockey team is preparing to wrap up its season with some tough competition.
The Elis (13–13–1, 10–10–0 ECAC) are hosting rivals No. 5 Quinnipiac (14–4–2, 23–6–3) and Princeton (12–7–1, 14–11–2) at Ingalls Rink this weekend. This will mark the end of regular season hockey for the Bulldogs.
“This upcoming weekend is a huge one for us,” captain and defenseman Aurora Kennedy ’15 said. “It’s our last games before playoffs, but we also had a bad weekend against Quinnipiac and Princeton last time around, so we have something to prove. We may be potentially playing Quinnipiac in the first round of playoffs, so having a good game against them is important.”
Yale currently has momentum, coming off of an offensively and defensively productive series last weekend in which the team scored nine goals and only gave up two, far ahead of their average 2.80 per conference game average. With last weekend’s plentiful scoring, the Bulldogs have moved up to third in the conference in average goals scored per game.
However, Quinnipiac and Princeton will likely prove to be difficult opponents. The Bobcats are currently tied in second place in the ECAC with the Clarkson Golden Knights, a team they beat in a 1–0 shutout last Saturday. Quinnipiac sits in the top spot in the conference in several defensive categories, including goals allowed per game, as the team has only let by 35 this season and has retained a 0.934 save percentage.
“Quinnipiac is a very disciplined team, and they don’t give you anything,” defenseman Mallory Souliotis ’18 said. “We have to work for every opportunity and take advantage when we can. Quinnipiac will make you pay for your mistakes, so we need to play smart and make them work for every chance.”
Princeton sits in sixth place in the ECAC after a big win against St. Lawrence on Saturday, five points ahead of Yale. The Tigers have also recently had victories over some of the best teams in the conference in the last few weeks, beating both No. 4 Harvard and then-No. 9 Cornell.
The Bulldogs are still confident in their ability after their last several weeks of hockey, in which they have gone 5–2, according to the three players interviewed.
“It’s been a team effort,” forward Eden Murray ’18 said. “I’ve never seen all lines contribute the way we have been contributing these past few weeks. It’s down to the fact that playoffs are around the corner, and at this point every person now has their role within the team defined, and there’s nothing left to do but play it to the best ability possible.”
In their previous matchups this season, the Elis came away with 4–1 defeats against both Princeton and Quinnipiac in early January. The Bobcats beat the Bulldogs with three goals once before that as well when the two faced off in the Nutmeg Classic over Thanksgiving break.
Still tied with Dartmouth for the seventh position in the ECAC, Yale clinched a playoff spot with four points last weekend. The Bulldogs have been neck-and-neck with the Big Green for the last several weeks after also earning four points with wins against Colgate and Cornell.
“Our team knows our potential,” Kennedy said. “We’ve only scraped the surface so far this year. We’re peaking at the right time and going into playoffs you can only think of the next game at hand. It’s only the next game that matters, so you just put everything that you can on the ice.”
This is the second consecutive year that the Elis have qualified for the ECAC tournament. Considering that Yale only had five wins two seasons ago and a single win the year before that, the program has made significant strides over the past couple of years. Although the Bulldogs have an even record as of right now, they have the chance to end the regular season with the program’s first winning season in the past decade.
The matchup against Quinnipiac will begin at 7 p.m. on Friday.