Heading into its penultimate weekend series of the regular season, the Yale women’s hockey team looked to secure its spot in the ECAC postseason tournament and possibly establish itself as the frontrunner for the Ivy League championship. But after emerging victorious in four of its last five games, the Bulldogs settled for a one-point weekend against conference foes.
After five minutes of overtime, the Bulldogs (10–13–4, 8–10–2 ECAC Hockey) tied against No. 9 Cornell (17–6–4, 13–3–4) in the first leg of its weekend series at home before falling to Colgate (22–7–3, 13–6–1) the following day. Although the Bulldogs were eliminated from Ivy League title contention, a loss by Harvard secured the Elis a spot in the ECAC playoffs for the second time in three seasons.
On Friday night at Ingalls Rink, the Bulldogs took the ice against the Big Red seeking to avenge a 4–2 loss from earlier in the season. Trailing the Big Red by just three points in the conference standings, Yale needed a win to keep its hopes of winning the Ivy League championship alive.
“Given some of the injuries we’ve had here and Phoebe being gone, I think our kids battled extremely hard last night and today,” head coach Joakim Flygh said. “We just need to do a better job as far as executing and [scoring goals.]”
Cornell seized an early advantage in the first period when forward Paige Lewis found the puck off a rebound and promptly wristed it home to put her team ahead 1–0 after goaltender Tera Hofmann ’20 turned aside the initial shot by defender Jaime Bourbonnais. Later in the second period, the Big Red almost doubled its lead, but a great save by Hofmann on a shorthanded breakaway attempt kept the game within one.
After failing to draw level on two power play opportunities in the middle frame, the Yale special teams finally capitalized on a Cornell miscue after forward Valérie Audet was sent to the penalty box for slashing. Less than a minute into the ensuing power play, Bulldog forward Laura Anderson ’20 seized a loose rebound and fired a shot past goaltender Paula Voorheis to make it 1–1.
Yale finally pulled ahead in the third period when defender Mallory Souliotis ’18 fired a cross to forward Emily Monaghan ’18, who beat Voorheis on the back door. But Cornell forward Amy Curlew responded with a backhand shot that floated over Hofmann and into the net to even it up at 2–2 shortly after Yale had killed off a Big Red power play. The Bulldogs could not capitalize on a playing-with-a-broken-stick penalty on Cornell as time expired, and the contest headed to overtime.
With 2:21 remaining in the extra five minutes, the Big Red inherited a 5-on-3 advantage after Yale forward Courtney Pensavalle ’18 and defender Grace Wickens ’18 were whistled for penalties within one minute of each other. The juniors’ infractions, each their second in as many periods, represented the sixth and seventh Bulldog penalties on the night. But Hofmann and the Eli penalty-kill unit staved off a Cornell game winner, securing the 2–2 tie and an ECAC playoff berth. A 5–1 win by the Big Red the subsequent night over Brown, however, dashed any remaining chances of the Bulldogs clinching the Ancient Eight title.
“Five-on-five we definitely are better than [Cornell and Colgate] so we just have to stay out of the box,” defender Julia Yetman ’19 said. “When we’re five on five we’re very dominant.”
The Bulldogs took the ice against Colgate on Saturday night in their last home game of the 2016–17 season. Yale fell 3–1 to the Raiders in a game marked by limited offense and penalties,but the evening remained a special one as the team honored its five seniors and their contributions to the program over the past four years.
“It’s pretty awesome coming in as a freshman knowing 21 other people,” defender Taylor Marchin ’17 said. “You get closer and they become your family and it’s awesome.”
Without its two leading scorers, forward Phoebe Staenz ’17 and captain forward Krista Yip-Chuck ’17, Yale struggled to produce scoring opportunities against Colgate. The Bulldogs mustered just seven shots on goal and were whistled for two minor penalties by the time the first period ended. Despite its stagnant offense and shorthanded time, the Yale defense, as well as Hofmann, kept Colgate out of the net to keep the game scoreless.
Colgate began the second period with nearly two minutes left in a power-play opportunity, but the Bulldogs again killed off the penalty. Neither team made its way past the goaltenders for the next 10 minutes before the Elis collected yet another pair of infractions.
With Marchin off the ice for cross-checking, Colgate doubled its player advantage when Pensavalle was called for tripping and joined her teammate in the penalty box. The Raiders drew first blood just 15 seconds later off a shot by forward Breanne Wilson-Bennett.
Determined not to enter the final frame of play behind, Yale finally put a goal on the scoreboard with 92 seconds left in the second period. Anderson fired a shot that Colgate goalie Julia Vandyke deflected, but fellow forward Jordan Chancellor ’19 found the puck off the deflection and slipped it straight past Vandyke for the Yale goal. Though accumulating a total of 12 penalty minutes and taking just 11 shots on goal, the Elis entered the last 20 minutes of the game tied 1–1.
In the third period, however, Colgate outshot Yale 18–8 and scored two frustrating goals to finalize its 3–1 victory. Megan Sullivan scored an unassisted breakaway goal to put the Raiders up 2–1 nine minutes in, and Annika Zalewski scored on an empty net with just 62 seconds left of play.
Yale’s one-point weekend leaves the team squarely in seventh place in the conference standings with one weekend to play. The Bulldogs cannot catch sixth-place No. 9 Quinnipiac at 25 points, but will clinch the seventh seed over Rensselaer with anything more than a two-point weekend against Harvard and Dartmouth next weekend.
“Moving forward we’re going to make a good playoff push,” Yetman said. “[We need to focus on] working on playing a full 60 minutes; battling hard and getting healthy for our team is important right now.”
The Bulldogs topped the Crimson and Big Green 3–2 and 3–0, respectively, in the teams’ only prior meetings this season.