A win over No. 5 Quinnipiac highlighted the opening weekend of ECAC hockey play for the Yale women’s hockey team, as the Elis came back to beat the Bobcats 4–3 and make a firm statement about where their program now stands among Division I’s elite teams.
Yale (1–2–0, 1–1–0 ECAC) fell by the same score to Princeton (4–0–0, 2–0–0) on Friday, giving itself an even 0.500 record in the conference thus far. Captain and forward Janelle Ferrara ’16, who netted three goals on the weekend — including both the game-tying and game-winning scores against Quinnipiac — was disappointed with losing one of the two games, but overall was proud of her team’s effort against stiff competition.
“Both opponents we faced this weekend were very strong teams, and we battled hard in both games,” Ferrara said. “Obviously we would’ve loved to come out on top on Friday, but we played our systems well, and our effort carried over into Saturday’s game, where we refused to see a similar outcome … It felt great to get our first conference win and it really was a collective effort.”
Yale’s win over its nearby rival served as revenge for a 6–3 loss, also against Quinnipiac, that the Bulldogs suffered a week earlier in their season opener. That loss, however, did not count in the conference standings, giving the win more weight.
On Saturday, the Elis managed just nine shots on goal compared to Quinnipiac’s 26, but Yale proved more efficient, especially in the third period. The Elis rattled off three goals in the final frame on just five shots, and Ferrara scored her two goals within the last six minutes of the game.
“Quinnipiac is probably the best defensive team in our conference,” head coach Joakim Flygh said. “They are going to limit your opportunities.”
The game’s first goal didn’t come until just over two minutes remained in the opening period, when forward Jordan Chancellor ’19 scored her first collegiate goal in just her third game as a Bulldog.
Quinnipiac responded with a goal soon after, tying the game just over a minute into the second period. Neither team could find the net for the remainder of the period, as Eli goaltender Hanna Mandl ’17, in her first season as a starter, saved 16 of the 17 shots she faced through the first two periods.
Tied 1–1 going into the game’s final period, the stage was set for a thrilling ride. A total of five goals were scored, the first from forward Eden Murray ’18.
Quinnipiac then retaliated with two of its own goals, first to tie the game and then to grasp its first lead. The first goal came from forward Meghan Turner, on a one-time slap shot. Defenseman Cydney Roesler scored the next goal to go ahead 3–2 midway through the third period.
After that momentum shift, down one with only 10 minutes left to play, the Bulldogs appeared to be skating on thin ice. But the heroics of Ferrara lifted the team to its first win of the season.
Ferrara scored two goals within a minute and seven seconds, with the help of assists from Chancellor and Murray on the first, and forward Phoebe Staenz ’17 and defenseman Taylor Marchin ’17 on the second, to win the game in exuberating fashion.
Though the Eli offense produced the dramatic finish, Mandl commended the performance of the defense in front of her, which allowed three goals to the Bobcats after conceding twice as many a week before.
“Saturday’s game was an exciting victory for everyone,” Mandl said. “This past week the team worked hard in practice to improve our defensive-zone coverage and it definitely showed on Saturday afternoon. Throughout the game I could hear the girls communicating with each other better than they have yet this year, allowing them to make a lot of smart plays.”
A day earlier, the Elis could not find success in their first conference game of the season. The 4–3 loss to Princeton was a nail-biting game that included 18 combined minutes for both teams in the penalty box.
The Bulldogs came into the game looking to secure their first victory of the season. Princeton, meanwhile, looked to continue its unbeaten streak. Though the Bulldogs would come up short in their pursuit of a victory, Flygh was able to take positives away from the close loss.
“I thought we played well for long stretches of the game,” Flygh said. “[We] created some great chances, we need to finish some of the chances we create, but I liked how we generated chances.”
Princeton opened up the scoring eight minutes into the contest, as defender Stephanie Sucharda sent a slap shot past Mandl.
Minutes later, Yale forward Emily Monaghan ’18 was whistled for hooking, and a two-minute penalty ensued. Down one on the scoreboard, and down one on the ice, the Bulldogs appeared to be at risk of falling behind by two. But Staenz blitzed the unsuspecting Princeton power-play unit, skated down the ice, cut across the face of Sucharda and wrapped a pass back around to Hanna Åström ’16, who smashed it home to finish the short-handed goal.
The first period ended 1–1. The Bulldogs sent 12 shots, while the Tigers unleashed eight.
In the second frame, Tiger defenseman Kimiko Marinacci scored her first collegiate goal to give her team a one-goal lead, before Ferrara closed the gap less than a minute later with a goal of her own.
The scoring in the second period ceased after that, as the second intermission saw the score remain 2–2, and the shot total a close 21–20 in Princeton’s favor.
Yale created its first, final and short-lived lead on a one-time shot from forward Krista Yip-Chuck ’17. Princeton defenseman Kelsey Koelzer scored the tying goal before fellow junior and forward Fiona McKenna pushed the Tigers ahead, this time for good.
Yale’s resilient spirit would not fade, as the team kept creating chances in the final minutes but could not produce another tying goal.
The game was replete with penalty minutes, exemplifying the heated nature of the contest. The intensity of the rivalry even prompted a suspension, as forward Jamie Haddad ’16 could not play in Yale’s game against Quinnipiac after body checking a Princeton player shortly after a faceoff in the second period. She was given just a two-minute minor for body checking during the game, but additional discipline from ECAC hockey followed after further review.
“Although I knew I would be getting a penalty during the game, I was honestly pretty surprised the next morning when I found out I would have to sit a game,” Haddad said. “I don’t think that it was worthy of a suspension because, although it was a really big hit, I fail to see how it was any different from most other big body-checking penalties that get called and don’t result in suspension. The official ruling was intent to hit and since body checking is illegal in women’s hockey, most of these penalties that get called are also intended.”
Despite having a player in the box for a total of 10 minutes throughout the game, Yale managed to hold Princeton’s power-play unit at bay, not conceding a single goal, and managing to seize one of its own.
“You do those things [succeed on the power play] in a game, you are gong to be successful and win most nights,” Flygh said.
The team’s next game comes this Tuesday at Boston University at 7 p.m.