After a pair of losses this weekend in the first round of the ECAC playoff tournament, the Yale women’s hockey team finds itself once again knocked out of the postseason by Harvard.
The Elis (15–15–1, 12–10–0 ECAC) fell to the Crimson in a quarterfinal rematch this weekend after just two games in the three-game series. Despite a close contest on Friday afternoon, the Bulldogs could not rally for a win on Saturday, ending their playoff run with 2–1 and 3–0 losses. This marks the second straight year the Bulldogs fell to the Crimson in the first round of the ECAC playoffs.
“It was a very hard-fought and tough series, and we knew going in that we had to play our best all weekend in order to move on,” defenseman Mallory Souliotis ’18 said. “Unfortunately, in both games, we just couldn’t finish our chances. We knew we would have to score more than one goal in order to beat them, and we were able to generate a lot of chances in both games, but were unable to finish.”
In the first game, Harvard’s offense was out in full force from the start, earning the team a clear shot advantage against Yale in the first period, firing off 12 to the Elis’ six, and even more so in the second period, putting 18 shots on goal in comparison to the Elis’ six. Despite several opportunities to find the back of the net, the Crimson could not manage to get past goaltender Jaimie Leonoff ’15, keeping the game scoreless in the first frame.
While Harvard continued to out-shoot the Bulldogs, it was Yale who lit the lamp first. Forward Jamie Haddad ’16 slid the puck past Harvard goaltender Emerance Maschmeyer after getting a piece of a shot from defenseman Taylor Marchin ’17 just 3:43 into the second period for the Bulldogs’ only goal of the series.
Yale killed its first penalty a few minutes later, managing to prevent the Crimson from taking a shot on goal during the power play, even when Leonoff lost her stick momentarily.
The Elis did not keep the lead for long, however, as Harvard scored a pair of goals in the second half of the period, including a power-play opportunity and another score in which the puck bounced off a Yale skate.
Going into the third period with the Crimson ahead 2–1, the Bulldogs kept pace with Harvard, matching them at 11 shots during the final frame. In spite of several opportunities to score, including three for Yale in the last few minutes, neither team could capitalize and the game ended in a narrow Harvard victory.
“I think we played really well in the first game, and they got a couple lucky bounces and we did not, but that’s how it goes sometimes,” Souliotis said. “We had a lot of chances to tie it up in the third period but just couldn’t finish.”
Saturday’s afternoon contest got off to a bad start for the Elis with an early goal from the Crimson at 3:28 in the first period. Harvard’s momentum continued to grow throughout the period, culminating in another goal which brought the score to 2–0 heading into the break.
The Crimson’s lead only increased in the second with another goal that secured a three-point lead for Harvard over the Bulldogs. Despite 24 shots and three power-play opportunities, Yale never managed to find the back of the net, and the game ended in a 3–0 shutout that would end the Elis’ playoff run in just two games.
“We had a lot of scoring chances on Friday that we didn’t capitalize on and in the end that’s what decides a hockey game,” forward Hanna Åström ’16 said. “On Saturday we made a couple mistakes early in the game which gave them the lead and after that we never really recovered. We all hoped that we would be able to play for a few more weeks, especially for the seniors.”
Although the season came to a close with a disappointing result for the Bulldogs, the team is still proud of their efforts, players said.
“Our motto for the season was ‘redefine tradition’ and I can say that the team did just that,” forward Emily Monaghan ’18 said. “We had a lot of great leaders on the team, and we accomplished many things that Yale women’s ice hockey hasn’t in the past. In the future, I only see the program going up from here, and I know that there are a lot of people that will step up and take the place of our graduating seniors who have helped make the program what it is today.”
The team had five seniors who finished their Yale hockey careers on Saturday.