Yale Athletics

After a three-point weekend to open Ivy play, the Yale women’s hockey team could not replicate that success over break, failing to win any of its four games.

The Bulldogs (2–6–4, 1–5–2 ECAC) were unable to carry the momentum from the successful road trip against Dartmouth and Harvard home against a pair of ranked teams. They fell 5–1 to No. 3 Colgate (14–2–0, 5–1–0) and 3–0 to No. 8 Cornell (5–3–0, 5–1–0). Yale then notched a pair of ties, mounting a third-frame comeback against local rival Quinnipiac (8–7–2, 4–4–0) to tie the game up at 3–3 on Friday before blowing a 2–0 lead to settle for a 2–2 stalemate against Penn State (2–7–8, 0–2–4 College Hockey America).

“Our game against Quinnipiac included some of the best hockey we have played this season,” defender Mallory Souliotis ’18 said. “Even though we were playing from behind for most of the game, we were relentless all game and never gave up.”

From the moment the puck dropped, the Elis struggled to find their footing against the Raiders, who fired off 10 shots on goalie Kyra O’Brien ’19 before Yale managed its first. Two efforts in the flurry found their way into the net to hand Colgate a 2–0 lead 10 minutes in. The Bulldogs responded to that opening salvo by capitalizing on a turnover. Forward Courtney Pensavalle ’18 stole the puck from a Colgate defender and sent it across the ice to forward Laura Anderson ’20, who slapped the puck home to halve the deficit.

The Elis amped up their offensive play for the remainder of the first period, but the score remained unchanged until the second frame. The Raiders extended their lead early, slipping the puck past O’Brien just one minute into the period. Yale coach Joakim Flygh swapped in rookie goalie Gianna Meloni ’21, who held Colgate scoreless until it brought the score to 4–1 with a goal off a deflection halfway into the second frame. The Raiders notched a power-play goal in the third period to cap off the 5–1 loss for Yale.

The next afternoon, the Bulldogs fell in a 3–0 shutout to their second ranked opponent of the weekend. In the opening frame, goalie Tera Hofmann ’20 made 13 stops and her Big Red counterpart, Marlene Boissonnault, made six to keep the game scoreless. In the second period, Hofmann managed 10 more saves, but Cornell fired two pucks past her, once on the Big Red’s sole player advantage of the game, to seize the lead.

In the final frame, the Big Red continued to pepper Hofmann with shots, extending the lead to the final tally of 3–0. Hofmann totaled 30 saves in the game, but Cornell’s 33 shot attempts more than doubled Yale’s 15. The Bulldog offense sputtered even when given a player advantage, going zero for three on the power play.

Coming off the winless weekend, the Elis travelled to UConn to compete in the Nutmeg Classic, earning a pair of ties.

“We played well in the tournament this past weekend, but I don’t think we have yet to play to our full potential,” forward Jordan Chancellor ’19 said. “We’ve struggled with putting together three really competitive periods throughout the season and we saw this carry into the games this past weekend. We have a lot of talent and potential on this team that we have yet to tap into this season, so none of us are completely satisfied with the outcome of this weekend.”

On Friday, Quinnipiac grabbed an early lead with a goal seven minutes into the first frame. Minutes later, the Bulldogs responded with a goal from rookie forward Greta Skarzynski ’21, assisted by forward Emma Vlasic ’19. The Skarzynski tally, combined with eight Hoffman saves, tied the first-frame score up at one.

In the second frame, the Bobcats pulled ahead with a pair of goals, one on the player advantage, but Yale returned the favor with a strong final period. Skarzynski and Vlasic, the Elis’ top forwards, teamed up again to deliver Yale’s second goal two minutes into the third frame, and Vlasic returned just 24 seconds later to collect a goal of her own and level the score at three. In overtime, neither team managed to find a winning goal. Yale lost the subsequent shootout, which was used solely to determine which team would advance in the tournament, with Vlasic earning the lone Eli goal.

“After having lost to Colgate and Cornell, we were ready to go against Quinnipiac. We played well and within our systems to help us come back and tie them,” defender Saroya Tinker ’20 said. “We were satisfied but not content with our performance.”

The next day, against Penn State, the Bulldogs switched scripts, building up a lead in the first two periods before their opponents came back in the final frame.

The Bulldogs jumped out to an early lead, with Vlasic scoring before the two-minute mark in the first frame. The Nittany Lions could not crack Meloni in the first frame, giving the Elis a one-goal lead heading into the second. Vlasic returned to score her third goal of the weekend on a second-frame power play, assisted by Souliotis and Skarzynski and extending the lead to 2–0.

But Penn State answered in the third period, netting a power-play finish six minutes into the frame, before tying the game up with just two minutes left to play. A scoreless overtime handed Yale its second tie in as many days. In her first career start, Meloni made 36 stops.

“Our game against Penn State emphasized yet again the issues our team has been having this year,” Souliotis said. “We were ahead 2–0 going into the final 20 minutes, and as a team we just handed the game to them. Although it ended in a tie, it was definitely like a loss to us. They didn’t win that game, we lost it.”

The Bulldogs struggled with playing clean against the Nittany Lions — Yale aggregated a staggering 16 minutes in the penalty box. But the Bulldogs’ penalty kill unit kept Penn State in check, allowing the Nittany Lions just one goal in seven opportunities.

Yale’s special teams are a highlight for the team. The last four games have shown the team’s penalty kill in top form, but the Bulldogs have struggled with converting on the player advantage, finishing just once in ten power plays across the past four games.

Angela Xiao | angela.xiao@yale.edu