For the first time this season, the Yale women’s hockey team finished a weekend with all four points.
After a disappointing shutout loss to Princeton on the heels of a two-game win streak to open 2018, the Bulldogs (7–10–4, 5–7–2 ECAC) played a pair of games against Brown (2–19–0, 1–13–0) on Thursday and Saturday. In the first match, the Elis hosted the Bears at Ingalls Rink and triumphed with a 4–2 win, anchored by rookie goalie Gianna Meloni ’21. On Saturday, Yale traveled to Providence, where Meloni was perfect to hand the Elis a 3–0 shutout victory.
“Our execution was there against Brown,” defender Mallory Souliotis ’18 said. “Our penalty kill was flawless and our power play was able to take advantage in the Saturday game. We made some key adjustments from Thursday’s game to Saturday’s game and that was evident across the board. We didn’t dwell too much on the Princeton loss, we took some positives and learned some lessons from the loss and applied them this weekend.”
On Thursday, the Bulldogs opened with an early goal off the stick of defender Julia Yetman ’19, assisted by forward Kaitlin Gately ’18 and Souliotis. In the opening frame, the Elis outshot their opponents 9–2 and concluded the period with a 1–0 lead, where it remained until late in the second period.
In the middle of the second period, Yale served its first of four penalties in the frame and the match, but the Elis’ penalty kill quashed all three of the Bears’ power plays. Yale was on the player advantage twice in the period as well, and found its second goal late in the period from forward Emma Vlasic ’19, who capitalized on a drop from Souliotis to bring the score at the end of the period to 2–0.
The Bears continued to fire at Meloni and slipped their first puck past her five minutes into the final period to bring the score to 2–1. The Bulldogs responded just a minute later, when forward Greta Skarzynski ’21 scored with a Gately assist to widen the lead to two again.
Three minutes later and with 10 minutes remaining in the contest, Souliotis, assisted by Yetman and Gately, slapped home another goal to make it 4–1 before the Bears answered with one final goal to end the match 4–2. Souliotis concluded the match with one goal and two assists, while Gately nabbed three helpers. The Bulldogs narrowly outshot their opponents, 25–23.
On the road in Providence, the Bulldogs had an even better game as they faced off against Brown two days after their initial victory. The Elis had a slow start to the game, and were outshot 14–8 in the first period, but Meloni, who was in net once again after earning the win on Thursday, was sharp from the moment the puck dropped, keeping the game scoreless through the first frame.
In the second period, Yale scored a pair of power-play goals, continuing its dominance on the player advantage. Skarzynski scored her second goal of the week, and continues to be the driving force of Yale’s offense, leading the team in goals and points, with 11 and 20, respectively. Vlasic and Souliotis picked up assists on Skarzynski’s goal, and less than four minutes later, the trio combined for another power play tally, this time with Souliotis getting the goal. Meloni shut the door the rest of the way, making 30 saves for the shutout.
With the Bulldogs up 2–0 halfway into the contest, the score remained the same through the end of the game, until an empty net goal by Skarzynski with just 46 seconds remaining in the match cinched the victory for the Elis.
“It was a really great feeling to get the sweep this weekend, and we’re in a position in the conference where those four points will end up really paying off,” forward Jordan Chancellor ’19 said. “Gianna has been playing really great and it’s awesome to see her confidence grow every single game.”
With their weekend wins, the Bulldogs grabbed sole possession of the eighth, and final, ECAC playoff spot with a month left in conference play.
Yale hosts Harvard and Dartmouth next weekend.
Masha Galay | firstname.lastname@example.org
Angela Xiao | email@example.com