In the upcoming 2017–18 season, the Yale women’s hockey team will rely on returning forwards like Eden Murray ’18 and Jordan Chancellor ’19 and talented newcomers Rebecca Foggia ’21 and Tess Dettling ’21 while facing off against many of the nation’s top-ranked teams and looking to win an Ivy League title and qualify for the ECAC tournament.
Despite getting knocked out in the opening round of last year’s ECAC playoffs by then No. 5 St. Lawrence, the Yale women’s hockey team saw success throughout the winter and hopes to build off of that looking ahead to this season. This year, the Elis add a game against Boston University in addition to playing Clarkson and St. Lawrence, who both finished last year’s season in the top 10 of the NCAA standings, and conclude the regular season facing off against another nationally ranked opponent, preseason No. 9 Quinnipiac.
“The team put in a lot of work this preseason both on the ice and off to get into the best shape possible for the upcoming season,” Chancellor said. “We changed things up a little bit from years past and have already seen big improvements in strength and conditioning.”
In addition to captain and forward Kaitlin Gately ’18, the Bulldogs will look to Murray and Chancellor to lead the team offensively. The duo tallied 27 and 13 points, respectively, across 27 games last year and are the team’s two returning leading scorers. Defenders Mallory Souliotis ’18 and Julia Yetman ’19 notched 12 points apiece as well and will be key defensive leaders on the opposite side of the ice. Although the team lost last year’s leading scorers Phoebe Staenz ’17 and Krista Yip-Chuck ’17 due to graduation, head coach Joakim Flygh has confidence that new leaders will step up in their places.
“It’s something that we will have to do by committee,” Flygh said of rebuilding the team. “We have returning players that we will look to to fill that void, which they are more than capable of doing.”
Although goaltender Tera Hofmann ’20 played 23 games while Kyra O’Brien ’19 played only six, each saw time in the goal throughout the season, recording shutouts and improving over the course of the year. Hofmann even achieved ECAC Rookie of the Week after limiting Princeton and its fifth-ranked offense to just a single goal, helping her team clinch a 3–1 win over the Tigers. In the season’s exhibition game against McGill, Hofmann, O’Brien and first year goaltender Gianna Meloni ’21 each played for one period to gain experience working with the new defense and to give Meloni a taste of college play.
The Elis welcomed seven newcomers to the roster, all of whom demonstrate talent and leadership on their resumes. Foggia won two national championships during her time at Shattuck-St. Mary’s while teammate and forward Lucy Burton ’21 captained her high school team and earned all-league and all-conference recognition in Minnesota. Meanwhile, Dettling led her team to four consecutive state championship finals, including a 2016 title.
“The [first years] are adjusting well, they all need to time to grow into college hockey,” Flygh said. “They show up each day with a great attitude and look towards our older players to set the standard and they look to do their part.”
Play for the Bulldogs kicked off unofficially with an exhibition game at McGill on Saturday, Oct. 14. Yale boasted a 2–1 advantage heading into the second period, thanks to goals from Chancellor and forward Emma Vlasic ’19, but ultimately fell to the Martlets 4–2.
McGill claimed the lead in the second period, outshooting the Elis 13–2. Hofmann, who shared time in the net with O’Brien and Meloni, saved 11 shots but still struggled to stop McGill’s offensive dominance. However, the contest marked the Canadian team’s seventh preseason game while serving as an unofficial season opener for the Bulldogs.
“The McGill game was a good way for us to learn more about ourselves as a team and find where everyone fits in best,” Chancellor said. “We took a lot of things away that will be helpful in the upcoming RIT games this weekend.”
Looking ahead, Yale will travel to Rochester for a double header against RIT to formally begin the season on Friday. After that, the Elis continue play in New York against Rensselaer and Union the following weekend before opening up home play at Ingalls Rink against No. 2 Clarkson on Friday, Nov. 3.
The puck drops for the Elis’ 2017–18 season on Friday at 2 p.m.
Jane Miller | firstname.lastname@example.org