Courtesy of Steve Musco

By Bentley Long and Eamonn Smith

Contributing Reporters

The Yale women’s ice hockey team notched its first win of this  2018–2019 season against Union on Friday before following it up with a hard-fought defeat to Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute on Saturday.

“Friday’s game was a huge win for the team,” forward Rebecca Vanstone ’22. “Saturday wasn’t the outcome we were hoping for. However, the team is going in the right direction. We are a close knit group of girls, and I’m excited for the rest of the season.”

The Bulldogs (1–5–0, 1–5–0 ECAC Hockey) downed the Dutchwomen (2–9–2, 0–3–1) in a dominant 6–1 victory by the Elis. Captain and forward Emma Vlasic ’19 had a show-stopping night, contributing to three of her team’s six points. She netted a pair of goals in the first and third periods and also added an assist.

The first period set the tone for the entire game, with both teams finding opportunities on net. But only Yale was able to capitalize on its chance. The first goal came midway through the first period when Vanstone and Claire Dalton ’22 combined to set up Vlasic for her second goal of the early season. With about two minutes left in the first period, goalkeeper Tera Hofman ’20 made two crucial back-to-back saves to keep the lead for Yale.

The Elis doubled their advantage nine minutes into the second period. Forward Jordan Chancellor ’19 scored her first goal of the season off skillful passing of the puck from fellow attackers Greta Skarzynski ’21 and Charlotte Welch ’22. The senior stranded the Union keeper to give her team a comfortable two-goal lead. Union refused to roll over and came right back with a goal of its own. Defender Megan Ryan scored her first goal of the season four minutes after Yale went up 2–0, halving the deficit for the Dutchwomen.

Yale refused to let the goal swing the momentum, putting the game well out of reach with an unprecedented four-goal outburst in the final frame. Defender Tabea Botthof ’22 opened up the barrage with her first collegiate goal at 6:58 in the third. A Union penalty midway through the period put the Elis on the power play, an opportunity the Bulldogs pounced on. Defender Saroya Tinker ’20 found fellow defender Julia Yetman ’19 with a perfect pass. Yetman slapped the puck home to make the game 4–1.

The Bulldogs were not done yet, eager to cap off their opening win of the season in style. Vlasic added her second score of the game with seven minutes to play, stretching the lead to 5–1. Forward Maya Kerfoot ’22 provided the setup for her captain, notching her first career assist. Near the end of the game, Vanstone scored an empty net goal to ice the Yale domination.

The Bulldogs battled Rensselaer (4–5–2, 2–2–0) in a hard-fought 2–1 defeat the next afternoon at Houston Field House in Troy, New York.

A strong Eli defense limited the opposition to only 24 shots attempted on goalie Gianna Meloni ’21. Despite an early goal by Rensselaer forward Sabrina Repaci, Yale responded with a seven-shot period. The first period was marked by pair of consecutive penalties by both sides. RPI’s Kirsten Iwanski and Vanstone were both booked for checking while RPI’s Josefine Hansen and Skarzynski followed them soon after for offenses of interference and hooking, respectively.

The Bulldogs levied 13 shots against RPI netminder Kira Bombay in the second period, but the squad ultimately failed to put a puck in net. The Engineers’ early offensive assault on the Elis faltered, as they only fired a half-dozen pucks at Meloni throughout the frame. Vanstone was sent to the penalty box again after another minor in the 12th minute, but Yale was able to fend off a Rensselaer power play opportunity by way of two athletic saves by Meloni.

With less than three minutes left and trailing 1–0, Chancellor tapped in a goal off of a smooth smack from classmate Yetman. Skarzynski was also credited with an assist on the score at 17:45 in the third.

However, RPI countered with a score of its own shortly thereafter, putting the Engineers up 2–1 before time expired. Following a Meloni save, Repaci won a faceoff and slung the puck directly to Blake Orosz, who snapped a slap shot right into the goal with just 28 seconds remaining in the game. Yale continued to battle as Tinker ripped another shot before time ran out, but it ricocheted off of Rensselaer defender Megan Hayes.

The Bulldogs will look for their second win of the season this Friday, as they take on conference foe No. 9 St. Lawrence at Ingalls Rink at 6 p.m. before playing host to No. 3 Clarkson on Saturday at 3 p.m.

Bentley Long |

Eamonn Smith | .