Coming off its worst loss in two years — a 7–1 defeat at Boston University — the Yale women’s hockey team looks to right the ship this weekend against ECAC Hockey foes No 9 Harvard and Dartmouth.
Thus far, crests and crashes have marked the season. In the Elis’ first two games, they fell to Quinnipiac 6–3 and to Princeton 4–3. But Yale’s losing skid halted at two, as the Bulldogs retaliated with a 4–3 win over then-No. 5 Quinnipiac, only to fall by a six-goal margin to BU three days later.
Attempting to move on from that loss, the Bulldogs (1–3–0, 1–1–0 ECAC) will host Harvard (1–1–1, 1–1–1) on Friday and Dartmouth (1–1–1, 1–1–1) on Saturday.
“Every weekend is extremely important in the ECAC because of the parity in our conference this year,” forward Krista Yip-Chuck ’17 said. “Any team can win on any given night. With that being said, a series against Ivy rivals Harvard and Dartmouth is always special and one we want to win.”
The Crimson delivered two losses to Yale last year, including a 6–1 defeat that was the worst in the Elis’ 2014–15 season. But despite being picked as the ECAC Hockey favorite in the Coaches’ Poll, Harvard has already lost a league match — to Dartmouth, which Yale plays on Saturday, by a score of 2–1.
That Dartmouth win certainly makes both upcoming contests interesting, as the Big Green looks much improved since a 2014–15 season that included 5–1 and 6–2 losses to Yale. Neither Ivy League rival appears to be an easy win for the Elis.
“Despite the high scores last season, Dartmouth is always a tough team to play against because they are well-coached and have a few very skilled forwards,” Yip-Chuck said. “As long as we bring a high compete level and capitalize on our opportunities, like we did last year, we have a very good chance of being successful.”
The Crimson enters its fourth game after posting top-seven numbers in the nation both in team offense and team defense last year. Harvard was led by goaltender Emerance Maschmeyer along with forwards Miye D’Oench and Sydney Daniels, all of whom will be on the ice Friday night in New Haven. Maschmeyer ranked fourth nationally with a 0.943 save percentage, while D’Oench and Daniels were both top-20 in goals per game, having combined for more than a goal per game in 2014–15.
“Harvard–Yale is just another game we want to win, yet it seems to mean more than a regular game,” forward Phoebe Stanz ’17 said. “Last season they were better than us and the result gave proof of that. However, this season we are even more motivated to beat them because we are just as good and have worked hard over the summer to take them on.”
Dartmouth, meanwhile, was in the middle of the pack on both sides of the ice last year but found itself ranked No. 10 in the country last week after its impressive win over Harvard. More recently, the Big Green came back from a 3–0 deficit to tie No. 4 Clarkson 3–3 last Friday. The game-tying goal was scored by forward Lindsey Allen, who looks to lead Dartmouth’s offense after ranking third in ECAC Hockey, and ninth in the nation, with 0.63 goals per game.
Yale, looking to improve upon one of its greatest seasons in recent memory a year ago, will be seeking a return to the strong offensive performance that brought home a 4–3 win over Quinnipiac last weekend. Captain and forward Janelle Ferrara ’16 was named ECAC Hockey Player of the Week after scoring three goals this past weekend — including both the game-tying and game-winning scores against the Bobcats — and was one of the top-five point-earners for Yale last season, all of whom have returned for 2014–15. The team also added forward Jordan Chancellor ’19, who is third in points this season. But forward Jamie Haddad ’16, who scored on Tuesday, said that the offense’s performance is still not at the level where she would like to see it.
“Our offensive performance has been inconsistent,” Haddad said. “I do not think it is a matter of our systems not being strong enough. It is simply that we are not executing them well enough if at all at times.”
The weekend’s contests, particularly against the strong offense of Harvard, will also serve as another major test to the Eli goaltending situation. Netminder Hannah Mandl ’17, who backed up starter Jaimie Leonoff ’15 for two seasons, has been thrust into the fire of the starting lineup this season. In the third period against BU Tuesday night, goalie Rachelle Graham ’16 replaced Mandl after BU had raced out to a 4–1 lead.
The puck will drop at Ingalls Rink at 7 p.m. on both nights this weekend.