On the road after falling to ranked opponents last weekend, the Yale women’s hockey team earned its first conference points of the season, picking up a definitive victory over Dartmouth before rallying to tie Harvard.
The Bulldogs (2–4–2, 1–3–2 ECAC) broke a five-game winless streak this weekend as they began Ivy play. After a slow start against the Big Green (2–6–0, 1–4–0), the Elis used a four-goal third frame to power past Dartmouth 5–1 and grab their first win since Oct. 20th. The next day, in a matchup against rival Harvard, Yale overcame a two-goal deficit to tie the game at two in regulation, ultimately forcing the Crimson into a scoreless overtime.
“Our energy and positivity from the Dartmouth game carried over into the Harvard game, with the exception of the first period,” defender Mallory Souliotis ’18 said. “We have had a tough time starting games out strong and fast, which was evident in the Harvard game. However, we stuck together and played well as a team, and we were able to tie it up. We played probably the best 40 minutes of hockey against Harvard [in the second and third periods].”
In Friday’s match, the Big Green and the Elis faced off as evenly matched squads, with similar records thus far into the season. The opening frame saw neither team score although the Bulldogs outshot Dartmouth 10–7. It took a second-period power play to crack Big Green goalie Christie Honor, whose victories this season have all been shutouts. Just over a minute into the second frame, forward Emma Vlasic ’19 capitalized to score her first goal of the season on assists from rookie forward Greta Skarzynski ’21 and Souliotis.
The score remained at 1–0 until the end of the period, when Dartmouth equalized with a marker from Kate Landers, slipping one past Yale goalkeeper Kyra O’Brien ’19 in her first start of the year.
In the final frame, it was all Yale from the moment the puck hit the ice. Defender Julia Yetman ’19 scored to give Yale a lead it would not relinquish. Halfway through the period, forward Eden Murray ’18 extended the advantage to two with an assist from Skarzynski. And just three minutes later, Murray scored again for the Bulldogs, this time on the power play. To cap it all off, with eight seconds remaining in the third period Yale found the back of the net yet again, once more on a player advantage, with forward Laura Anderson ’20 putting the exclamation point on a dominant Yale win. O’Brien finished with 28 saves on 29 shots and now boasts a 96.5 save percentage in the limited time she has been between the pipes.
The Elis, whose excellent penalty killing was one of the lone positives from a winless pair of games last weekend, excelled at special teams against the Big Green. Their penalty kill was stellar once again, and the team also went three for four on the player advantage, making good on their declared intention to improve their power-play performance. Yale is now second best in the country in combined special teams, behind only Saint Anselm, with a combined 63.2 percent success rate. Both its power play and penalty kill are fifth best in the country individually, with 25 percent and 90 percent effectiveness, respectively.
“Our special teams were ready to go this weekend,” Saroya Tinker ’20 said. “Our power performing at 6 percent was most definitely a key factor in our win against Dartmouth, and it continued on into Saturday’s game versus Harvard.”
The next afternoon, in Cambridge, the Elis faced a steeper challenge in Harvard, which sits atop the ECAC standings with seven league points. The Crimson showed why it entered the game with just one loss as it dominated early in the game, building up a 2–0 lead. The team peppered Yale goalie Tera Hofmann ’20 with 15 shots in the first period alone. The Bulldogs’ penalty kill allowed its only goal of the weekend when Val Turgeon slipped the puck past Hofmann with five minutes left in the period. The second period saw Harvard widen its lead just three minutes after puck drop, but a goal from Skarzynski with three minutes to play in the frame cut the Crimson lead in half.
In the final frame, with just over a minute left to play, Hoffman found herself on the bench, leaving Yale’s net empty, to put an extra attacker on the ice. The Bulldogs made a push for the equalizer with the player advantage, and were rewarded when Vlasic scored her second goal of the weekend to tie the game up at two.
Play extended into overtime, where the Elis prevented Harvard from getting any shots on net while racking up two of their own. Ultimately, Crimson goalie Beth Larcom shut the door on a Yale overtime victory, and the Bulldogs had to be content with three of a possible four points on the weekend.
“It was a great weekend for us,” Vlasic said. “We played well and stuck with it in both games, and didn’t let a slow start derail our second game. I thought we did a great job working to establish our game in both contests and played good, Yale hockey.”
Yale was the first Ivy team to deny the Crimson a victory this season. The Elis continue conference play next weekend when they host Colgate and Cornell.
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