Originally scheduled for Saturday, the Yale women’s hockey team’s home game against Rensselaer was rescheduled for Tuesday evening due to Winter Storm Jonas. Perhaps taking advantage of an RPI squad that needed to travel midweek, the Bulldogs came out as the aggressor in an eventual 2–1 victory that pushed them into eighth place in the ECAC Hockey standings.
The last time the Elis (7–13–1, 6–7–1 ECAC Hockey) faced the Engineers (8–12–4, 6–6–2), Yale overwhelmed its opponent with four first-period goals. This time around, the Bulldogs once again attacked the net early and often — outshooting their opponents 13–2 in the first period — but that only translated into one goal. Yale ultimately emerged victorious by just a one-goal margin despite taking 35 shots to RPI’s 18.
“Their team’s one strength was their goalie,” forward Courtney Pensavalle ’18 said. “She made some unbelievable saves that should have been goals, and could have taken RPI out of the game.”
Lovisa Selander stood between the pipes for the Engineers. The freshman netminder sits second in the ECAC in save percentage during conference play, with a 0.948 mark. A thorn in the Bulldogs’ side Tuesday evening, Selander saved 33 of Yale’s 35 scoring attempts.
However, despite the strong goaltending, defenseman Taylor Marchin ’17 was able to beat Selander on a slap shot within the first seven minutes of the contest.
“We pushed the pace and they couldn’t really keep up,” forward Jamie Haddad ’16 said. “We also had a strong forecheck and backcheck, so we were able to possess the puck more than RPI was able to.”
Such possession translated into Yale’s drastic shot advantage, despite the Bulldogs having to kill off 10 penalty minutes.
Averaging seven penalty minutes in ECAC play this season, Yale committed five penalties with four of those coming in the second period.
“We had some questionable calls made against us tonight,” defender Kate Martini ’16 said. “But either way, we definitely [committed] more than we should have. We need to keep our feet moving in order to keep out of some of the situations that resulted in penalties tonight.”
Despite the infractions against Yale, the Bulldogs’ penalty-kill unit was able to prevent RPI from capitalizing on any of its five power plays.
On the other hand, Yale was also unable to benefit from any of its own power-play situations — the Elis were 0–2 during the contest and their 14.3 percent success rate on the power play ranks ninth in the ECAC.
“Our penalty-kill unit did a good job breaking up their entries into the zone,” Haddad said. “We pressured them really hard so they didn’t have much time to do anything. We’ve been struggling to score on our power plays. Our shots weren’t on net, but at least we tried them out a bit.”
Boosted by having an extra skater on the ice for eight minutes in the second period, the Engineers did rev up their shooting opportunities, managing 11 of their 18 total attempts. However, it was Yale that found the back of the net in the second frame.
Forward Jordan Chancellor ’19 received the puck on the defensive end and on a breakaway skated toward Selander. Even with a couple RPI defenders between her and the net, Chancellor slammed an off-balanced shot past the Engineer goaltender.
The goal doubled the Yale advantage in what would eventually be the team’s fourth-consecutive win over RPI.
“Tonight we did a really good job of not letting them establish possession in our zone,” Martini said. “We did a good job of pressuring them and forcing turnovers.”
Although the Engineers were held scoreless for nearly 50 minutes of action, they made things interesting in the third period. 9:44 into the final frame, RPI defender Hannah Behounek sniped the top left corner against Eli goaltender Hanna Mandl ’17.
Then, with 2:54 remaining, a checking penalty called on Chancellor forced Yale to play a 4-on-5 and later a 4-on-6 when RPI pulled its goalie. Clinging to its one-goal advantage, Yale survived five shot attempts during the two tense minutes.
“I think what our team lacked today was consistency,” Pensavalle said. “We had moments of greatness and moments where we couldn’t have been better. We also were not disciplined with penalties which hurt us at key moments a bit. We were lucky they didn’t capitalize.”
Yale currently sits one point behind RPI in the standings and one point ahead of ninth-place Cornell. The Elis return to Ingalls Rink on Friday night to face Brown