Late-game comebacks highlighted the Yale women’s hockey team’s games this past weekend at Ingalls Rink. Yale fell to Harvard 3–2 despite a desperate push to draw level after a goal in the game’s final minute on Friday night before settling for a 3–3 tie on Saturday against Dartmouth in which the Eli offense came to life late with two third-period goals.
The Bulldogs demonstrated their resilience in the final minutes of both games, accruing a combined four goals in the two games’ third periods. But despite the third-period surges, the Elis came away without a win to show for their efforts.
“[I liked] our effort in both games,” head coach Joakim Flygh said. “The team [is] showing that they are going to battle to the last second … we will keep improving and believe in our process that we have and we will get better.”
Scoreless for the first two periods, the Bulldogs (1–4–1, 1–2–0 ECAC) rallied in the last 20 minutes in an attempt to close a three-goal deficit against the Crimson (3–1–1, 3–1–1).
The first goal of the night for the Elis was scored within the first four minutes of the third period when forward Phoebe Staenz ’17 lit the lamp.
“Coach was not happy with our second period and sure let us know,” Staenz said. “He told us to make sure that we step up our game and come back with more energy like we did in the first period.”
However, any momentum from the goal plateaued for nearly the remainder of the game.
For this matchup, Harvard’s typical starting goalkeeper Emerance Maschmeyer was away in Sweden, where she was competing in the Four Nations Cup as a member of the Canadian national team. Therefore, goalie Brianna Laing stood in the crease on Friday. However, Laing has served as a solid replacement in her two games played — she has allowed four goals in two Harvard victories.
Still facing a 3–1 deficit, the clock ticked all the way down to 24 seconds remaining in the contest when Flygh called a timeout for his team.
Eleven seconds after the game resumed, forward Eden Murray ’18 found the back of the net with a backhanded shot, securing the second goal for the Bulldogs with mere moments remaining in the contest.
It unfortunately turned out to be a case of too little, too late for the Bulldogs. With goalkeeper Hanna Mandl ’17 pulled from goal, the following faceoff was won by forward Krista Yip-Chuck ’17. She pushed forward to challenge Laing but the Crimson goaltender turned away the puck, locking up the second win of the season for the Crimson.
“We really focused on playing a full 60 minutes of hockey, and out-working and challenging the other team all over the ice,” defender Mallory Souliotis ’18 said of the weekend’s pair of contests. “Starting in our defensive zone, we needed to have strong defense in order to translate to good offense.”
In terms of chances, that good offense developed as Yale outshot Harvard in each period of the game. In total, the Bulldogs attempted 28 shots to the Crimson’s 21.
Saturday night provided a similar come-from-behind challenge for the Elis against Ancient Eight foe Dartmouth. Yale mounted another late-game comeback, this time succeeding in notching an equalizer to garner a 3–3 tie.
With only eight minutes remaining in the third period, the Elis faced a two-goal deficit against the Big Green (2–1–2, 2–1–2) but Yale’s offense caught fire and earned two goals to force the contest into overtime.
“[I’m] really proud of the team to find a way to battle back,” Flygh said. “We were fatigued after playing five games in eight days so to find a way to battle back Saturday in the third says a lot about [the team’s] character.”
Dartmouth opened the contest’s scoring a little over three minutes into the game. Senior forward Lindsay Allen deflected a laser slapshot from defender Hailey Noronha past Mandl.
Fourteen minutes later, Souliotis launched a wrist shot, which Big Green netminder Robyn Chemago got a piece of but not enough to prevent the puck from sneaking past the goal line.
Those two goals comprised the first-period scoring, as the game headed into its first intermission at one apiece.
Midway through the second period, the referees blew the whistle on Staenz for holding an opposing player’s stick which sent the Swiss Olympian to the penalty box for two minutes. Nine seconds later, the Big Green pounced on the shorthanded Elis as forward Kate Landers unleashed a rocket which whizzed its way into the back of the net.
Dartmouth would capitalize on its next power-play as well, with forward Brooke Ahbe extending the lead to 3–1 nine minutes into the third period.
Yale’s rally began soon thereafter as in the 13th minute of the period, forward Courtney Pensavalle ’18 cut in from the left side, and sent a backhand pass that split two defenders, setting up forward Brittany Wheeler ’18 for a one-timer that resulted in her first point of the season.
With time dwindling and a winless weekend minutes away, Yale escalated its pressure. Murray poke-checked the puck away from a Dartmouth defender in her own zone, Yip-Chuck corralled the loose puck and centered a pass back to Murray who released a wrist shot, which ricocheted off the near pipe and in to even the scoreline.
During the five-minute overtime period, Dartmouth mustered two shots to Yale’s one though neither team could earn a game-winner.
In the end, the 3–3 tie emphasized the disparity in the teams’ abilities to convert power-plays and extra bodies on the ice into goals. Dartmouth scored on two of four opportunities, while Yale failed to score on all five of its power-plays. Saturday’s inefficiency on the power-play followed up an identical 0–5 performance against Harvard the night prior.
“We need to improve our special teams, they can be the deciding factor in close games like we played over the weekend,” Flygh said. “We had plenty of opportunities this weekend and we need to make sure in the future we capitalize on them.”
The Bulldogs are off this weekend before returning to the ice for a pair of contests against No. 3 Minnesota.