In its only home-and-home weekend series of the 2015–16 season, the Yale women’s hockey took care of business in a pair of decisive victories over Brown that significantly increased the Bulldogs’ ECAC Hockey playoff chances.
Yale (9–13–1, 8–7–1 ECAC Hockey) defeated Brown (3–18–2, 1–13–2) by scores of 4–1 and 6–3, extending its winning streak to four games and rising from eighth to sixth place in the ECAC standings with just three weeks of regular-season play remaining. Only a week after Yale totaled just four goals in wins over Union and Rensselaer, the Bulldogs’ offensive outburst this past weekend included scoring 10 total goals in a conference weekend for the first time since 2008.
“Winning always feels great,” forward Eden Murray ’18 said. “It’s nice for our team to have some momentum to build off of now.”
The first game of the weekend at Ingalls Rink started off slow, as neither team could get the puck in the net for the majority of the first 20 minutes. However, just after the end of a power play for the Bears with less than a minute remaining in the period, forward Jamie Haddad ’16 collected the puck and dished it to captain and forward Janelle Ferrara ’16, who rocketed a shot past Brown goaltender Monica Elvin to take the initial lead.
With only three and nine shots from the Bears in the second and third periods, respectively, it took three more goals from Yale for Brown to finally respond with a power-play goal with less than three minutes left on the clock. The Elis dominated offensively with 35 shots total to Brown’s 21.
“We are doing a good job of eliminating time and space for our opponents,” Martini said. “We are making it difficult for teams to gain entry into our zone, and if they do gain entry, we are pressuring hard and forcing turnovers.”
Despite the victory, the Bulldogs did receive a total of seven penalties. The lone goal that the Bears scored was during a five-on-three opportunity after three consecutive Yale penalties in a 70-second stretch.
Yale’s second game against Brown began in opposite fashion. Rather than scoring within the final moments of the first period, Yale instead got on the board within the first two minutes of the contest. That first goal came from Ferrara after Yale won the first face-off of the game.
The first period appeared to be more even, as the Bulldogs took 11 shots to the Bears’ 10. However, just over 10 minutes later, Brown goaltender Julianne Landry was defeated by a familiar foe in Ferrara yet again.
“Janelle played great this weekend,” Haddad said. “She’s more of a play-maker than a goal-scorer. She loves to share the puck and set others up. So it was great to see her take control and get shots on net for us this weekend and this season in general.”
Defenseman Julia Yetman ’19 and forward Krista Yip-Chuck ’17 notched another two goals within five minutes of each other in the second period.
Yip-Chuck capitalized on a power-play opportunity for Yale to score the team’s fourth goal of the match.
“Brown has a very passive penalty kill, and we were able to capitalize on that pretty easily,” Haddad said. “It was especially nice to have success on the power play since we’ve struggled in scoring [five-on-four] goals this season. We really dedicated a lot of practice time last week towards beating their penalty kill, and it paid off.”
The Bears finally responded to the Elis onslaught by scoring unassisted on their third power play. Nevertheless, Yale still fought back.
The Bulldogs continued their trend of tallying up two goals per 20 minutes by securing yet another pair of goals within the first nine minutes of the third period.
“Our puck movement is a lot more crisp and controlled than it had been earlier in the season,” forward Jordan Chancellor ’19 said. “I think it will only continue to improve as we build off of this weekend’s offensive success.”
In the final six minutes of the game, Brown started to make a comeback with two goals to cut Yale’s lead from 6–1 to 6–3.
Yale easily fended off the Bears in the end, but Martini noted disappointment with the end of both games. On the weekend as a whole, the Bulldogs allowed three goals in the last six minutes of the two games.
“I still don’t think we have played a complete 60-minute game,” Martini said. “We have played well for long stretches, but seem to always have spans of five to 10 minutes every game where we aren’t at our best. We have been successful despite this in our last four games. But moving forward, we are going to have to be focused for the entire game if we want to have home-ice in the playoffs.”
Yale will travel next weekend to play Dartmouth this Friday at 7 p.m. and Harvard on Saturday at 4 p.m.