A year removed from a 15-win campaign — the team’s best since 2005 — that included an upset victory over then-No.5 Quinnipiac, the Yale women’s ice hockey team dropped its first match against that same local rival on Saturday.
In a high-scoring affair, the Bulldogs (0–1–0, 0–0–0 ECAC) could not keep pace with the No. 8 Bobcats (4–0–1, 0–0–0), whose aggressive offense earned them a 6–3 victory over the Elis. Despite the loss, Yale showed promise as the team debuted several new faces in the lineup in addition to a strong core of returning players.
“This is what we needed, honestly,” forward Eden Murray ’18 said. “If we want to be up there, we have to change some things, and that was very evident Saturday. The potential is clearly there also, so I see it as an exciting opportunity.”
The game started with a slow first period for the Bulldogs, who managed just one shot in comparison to Quinnipiac’s seven, before the Bobcats put themselves on the board at 9:44 in the first period off the stick of Nicole Kosta. The Elis answered with a goal of their own by forward Krista Yip-Chuck ’17 on an assist from defenseman Taylor Marchin ’17 less than four minutes later.
The Bobcats broke the tie before entering the first break with a power-play goal in the final two minutes of the period, as Kosta struck again. It was this consistent scoring pattern — two Quinnipiac goals to a single Yale goal — that put the Bulldogs in a position they could not come back from later in the contest.
Although the Bobcats lengthened their lead to 3–1 in the first half of the second period, the Elis fought back into contention late in the frame. Forward Emily Monaghan ’18 scored her first career goal at 15:26 with an assist from forward Jordan Chancellor ’19, who also earned her first career point.
However, Yale did not remain within close striking distance for long. Quinnipiac stretched the gap to 4–2 less than two minutes later to cap the scoring in the second period.
“The game was fast-paced, a lot faster paced than the previous weekend,” Murray said. “Our offensive-zone opportunities were good, but as a whole, we need to start taking care of all three zones better. Our defensive-zone coverage and backtracking were not up to par with the other team.”
The Bobcats did not slow down after the second period intermission, finding the net another two times to give themselves a four-goal lead, the greatest margin of the game. Captain and forward Janelle Ferrara ’16 earned Yale its third goal of the game off an assist from Yip-Chuck in the final two minutes, but ultimately the Bulldogs could not surmount the Quinnipiac lead.
Both teams saw players across the lineup contribute offensively, with only one player, Kosta, getting the puck past the posts twice.
“[This amount of scoring] shows that our team has a lot of potential offensively,” defenseman Mallory Souliotis ’18 said. “Especially scoring three goals against Quinnipiac, who is known to be very strong defensively.”
The Bobcats have only given up more than a single goal once in their five games so far this season.
On the defensive end, goaltender Hanna Mandl ’17 saved 20 of 26 shots in her sixth career start, the first contest in which the Bulldogs have competed without graduated three-year starter Jaimie Leonoff ’15, whose career statistics include a 0.918 win percentage and over 3,000 saves during her time at Yale.
Quinnipiac proved a tough first opponent for the Elis, as the Bobcats had already played three games prior to hosting Yale and have established themselves as one of the top NCAA contenders this season. Despite the difficult matchup to open the 2015–16 schedule, the Bulldogs kept pace for the majority of the game and finished with 21 shots, not far off behind Quinnipiac’s 26 attempts.
“There are a lot of positives that we can take from the game against Quinnipiac, and we learned what we need to improve on in order to get where we want to be as a team,” defenseman Kara Drexler ’18 said. “I’m looking forward to playing them again this upcoming weekend so we can prove that we are a force to be reckoned with.”
While Quinnipiac is a fellow member of the ECAC, this weekend’s contest did not count as a conference game that is reflected in the ECAC standings. The Elis will begin ECAC play this weekend when they host Princeton on Friday night before welcoming Quinnipiac to Ingalls Rink for a rematch on Saturday.
According to players, the Bulldogs are hoping for a chance to prove themselves against the Bobcats now that they have a game under their belts.
“We underestimated our opponent, but in all fairness they have already played many more games than us,” Murray said. “This coming weekend should be more even. We have bad habits sometimes and that cost us a few goals on Saturday. We need to work on doing the simple things right.”
The puck will drop on home ice at 7 p.m. against the Tigers, who have kicked off their season with two wins versus out-of-conference opponent Mercyhurst.