The Yale women’s ice hockey team suffered a double-loss on opening weekend as it fell to a tough Princeton squad in its first Ivy tilt on Friday before being held scoreless against ECAC rival Quinnipiac the following night.
On Friday, Yale (0–2–1, 0–2–0 ECAC Hockey) lost 4–1 to the Tigers (2–2–0, 2–0–0) in New Jersey. Despite the final score, though, there were plenty of positives the Bulldogs took away from their opening series.
“I feel as though the main takeaways for the team as our season progresses is just that we control the amount of effort we put in each day,” defender Saroya Tinker ’20 said. “Whether that be extra workouts or early morning skills, the effort put in will give us the results we want on the ice — to win.”
The Princeton game was tight through the first period of play, with neither side able to make a breakthrough. The Tigers peppered the Yale net, firing 17 shots on the goal, but goalkeeper Gianna Meloni ’21 refused to be bested.
But in the second period, the game quickly turned in Princeton’s favor. Meloni was still turning aside shots and was aided by a couple crucial blocks from defender Lauren Moriyama ’21. Soon, though, Princeton found the game’s opening goal. Just six minutes into the second period, Princeton forward Carly Bullock picked the puck up off of her teammate Sarah Fillier and slotted it into the bottom right corner of the net for her first goal of the season.
Even after the goal, the Tigers kept the pressure on and were rewarded for their persistence. The Eli defense scrambled to keep the Tigers at bay and with five minutes left in the period Meloni made a incredible save off of a Princeton slapshot to keep the game in reach. Yet, the home team doubled its advantage a minute later. Forward Maggie Connors skated behind the Bulldog net and found Bullock with a clever pass, which the junior put away for her second goal of the night.
The game was put out of reach by Bullock’s third goal in the final minute of the middle frame, but the Bulldogs continued to battle. After weathering a fourth goal by Bullock, a long-range snipe in the first minute of the third period, the Bulldogs got to work, trying to get a goal of their own. In the final moments of the third period, they did just that, as forward Greta Skarzynski ’21 played a five-on-three power play to perfection, sending a perfect centering pass to fellow attacker Rebecca Vanstone ’22, who recorded her first collegiate goal with poise.
The game marked a career day for both Meloni and Bullock. With a remarkable 41 saves, Meloni broke her previous career best of 40 saves. Meanwhile, Bullock set Princeton’s single-game record for goals with the four tallies she recorded on Friday.
The Bulldogs continued to struggle into the weekend, as the squad fell to crosstown foe Quinnipiac (2–4–2, 2–0–0) by a score of 2–0 on Saturday afternoon.
At the match, Quinnipiac unleashed an offensive barrage on the Elis, launching 42 shots. Bulldog goalie Tera Hofmann ’20 proved up to the task, stopping 40 of them. The Bobcats began their aerial assault from the beginning, as Kenzie Lancaster scored early in the first period. Teammate Kati Tabin tapped in another goal just under five minutes into the third period, giving the home squad a 2–0 lead.
By contrast, Yale managed just 16 shots, with five coming from first-year defender Emma Seitz ’22. Seitz, forward Charlotte Welch ’22, defender Tabea Botthof ’22 and forward Sophie Veronneau ’20 created a four-faceted attack for Yale in the first period, as each fired multiple shots on goal. However, the promising start did not continue as the game progressed — the Elis finished with just 16 shots by the end of the match.
Though the last three Bulldog-Bobcat matchups resulted in Yale victories, this time it was the Elis left scoreless after the final buzzer. Yale last lost to Princeton and Quinnipiac in consecutive games in the 2015–16 season. That year, the Bulldogs finished 9th in the ECAC standings, marking the only time in the last five seasons that the Elis failed to snag a spot in the postseason conference playoffs.
“I expect a lot from the team this season, most of all growth. It’s a great group of supportive, hardworking girls, and I can’t wait to get into the season,” forward Kaitlyn Rippon ’22 said coming into the weekend. “Definitely watch out for Emma Vlasic ’19 our captain, Greta and freshman [forward] Claire Dalton ’22.”
Yale takes on Ivy opponent, Cornell, in their 2018-19 season home opener this Friday at 6 p.m. at Ingalls Rink.
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