The Yale women’s hockey team split its weekend double-header against a pair of top-10-ranked opponents this past weekend to fortify its place in the ECAC top eight with two weeks to go in conference play.
Yale (10–12–3, 8–9–1 ECAC Hockey) beat No. 9 Princeton (15–7–3, 11–5–2) 3–1 on Friday night before seeing its five-game win streak dashed at the hands of No. 10 Quinnipiac (18–7–5, 11–5–2) in Hamden. Despite the weekend split, the Bulldogs mantained their seventh-place ECAC standing and gained some extra momentum with their first win over an NCAA top-10 opponent this season.
“The Princeton win was a good team win,” forward Emma Vlasic ’19 said. “We played a strong defensive game and had a great goal, … to finish it off. Princeton came into the game with 11 straight wins so that was a big win for us.”
Two late goals from the Bulldogs in Friday night’s game sealed Yale’s 3–1 victory over the Tigers and marked their fifth consecutive victory over an Ancient Eight opponent. Offense and defense contributed equally in the win: Forwards Vlasic, Phoebe Staenz ’17 and Emily Monaghan ’18 all tallied goals, while goalie Tera Hofmann ’20 saved 30 shots on the night to take down the home favorites.
Vlasic opened scoring midway through the first period on a goal assisted by forward Jordan Chancellor ’19 and defender Julia Yetman ’19. The Bulldogs maintained their 1–0 lead through the second period until Princeton forward Cassidy Tucker slapped a shot past Hofmann at 8:28. The even score reflected the level of competition throughout the game, as the Tigers managed a one-shot advantage in the first period and equaled the Elis in the second.
With strong defense anchoring both sides, the score remained tied 1–1 heading into the final minute of the game. With just 51 seconds to go, however, Staenz found her way past Princeton goaltender Steph Neatby during a Bulldog power play and scored the game-winning goal. Monaghan knocked home the game’s final goal into an empty net with just seven seconds remaining on the clock to bolster Yale’s lead and finalize the 3–1 win.
“My goal was during a six-on-five right after we scored with under a minute left,” Monaghan said. “[Forward] Courtney Pensavalle ’18 chipped the puck off the boards and by one of their defensemen, so I essentially had a breakaway and just put the puck in the open net.”
Yale seized another opening lead on Saturday afternoon against the Bobcats when forward Eden Murray ’18 fired a shot past Quinnipiac goaltender Sydney Rossman to put the Bulldogs in front midway through the opening frame. However, Murray had to be taken off the ice following the goal due to a collision. Captain and forward Krista Yip-Chuck ’17 also left the game in the first period after an injury, leaving Yale without two of its most productive players.
The Bobcats took advantage of the Bulldogs’ misfortune less than five minutes after Murray’s strike and evened things up off an unassisted goal from forward Melissa Samoskevich, her team-leading 23rd point of the season. Yale quickly found itself behind 2–1 as Quinnipiac defender Kate McKenzie’s shot skirted past Hofmann to give the home squad its first lead of the game less than two minutes into the second period.
After failing to convert on a pair of power-play opportunities in the middle frame, the Bulldogs headed into the second intermission trailing Qunnipiac in shots by a 32–10 margin. A set of minor penalties by defenders Taylor Marchin ’17 and Saroya Tinker ’20 in the first half of the final period plagued Yale in its quest to draw even, but the Bulldogs’ penalty kill units successfully denied another Quinnipiac tally to preserve the one-goal deficit.
Yale’s penalty-kill prowess went unrewarded, however, as Bobcat defender Taryn Baumgardt found the net once again shortly after the player advantage expired and extended Quinnipiac’s lead to 3–1. The Bulldogs’ freshman netminder allowed more than two goals for the first time since Yale’s 4–1 loss to then-No. 5 St. Lawrence on Jan. 14, the last time she started in consecutive weekend games.
With 6:28 remaining in the third period, head coach Joakim Flygh elected to pull Hofmann when Quinnipiac forward Raquel Pennoyer was whistled for a checking infraction, giving Yale a two-skater advantage on the ensuing power play. Bobcat forward Emma Woods made the Bulldogs pay for the risky decision and promptly wristed a shot into the empty net to give Quinnipiac a 4–1 lead off the shorthanded goal.
Yale failed to capitalize on another power play opportunity late in the third period and missed a weekend sweep against nationally-ranked ECAC foes by a trio of Bobcat goals.
With the win against Princeton, however, Yale further distanced itself from eighth-place Rensselaer but made up no ground on a sixth-place Colgate team which has won four straight games.
“[The Princeton game was a] huge win for us but now we have to focus on having a good week of practice in order to bring that same energy and compete level to our upcoming games against Cornell and Colgate,” Yetman said.
The Bulldogs will host Cornell on Friday evening and the Raiders on Saturday afternoon in their penultimate weekend of regular season play.