The Yale women’s ice hockey squad was bested by formidable foe No. 2 Minnesota twice last weekend. The Elis suffered a 7-1 defeat on Friday evening before falling to the Golden Gophers 3-1 on Saturday afternoon.
The weekend’s events began Friday evening, as Yale (2–10–0, 2–6–0 ECAC) battled defending WCHA Tournament champions Minnesota (15–2–1, 9–2–1 WCHA) at Ingalls Rink. The Golden Gophers got out to an early 1–0 lead as forward Nicole Schammel slapped a shot past goalie Tera Hofmann ’20 after a sustained assault on the net by Minnesota attackers. Yale proceeded to go on the offensive, but Minnesota was able to recapture the momentum and score again. Minnesota forward Taylor Wente scored her fifth goal of the year after teammate Grace Zumwinkle managed to win a face-off. The Elis, however, responded with a goal of their own in the 19th minute. Forward Charlotte Welch’s ’22 shot was blocked while the Bulldogs were short-handed on the ice. But first year forward Claire Dalton ’22 capitalized on a rebound, bringing the tally at the end of the first to 2–1 in favor of the Golden Gophers.
“Minnesota is obviously a fantastic hockey team, and I think we came into the weekend a little bit intimidated,” said defender Emma Seitz ’22. “After adjusting to the speed of the game Friday, we were more confident in our ability to play with them by Saturday.”
Yale began the second period of the match short-handed due to penalties, and Minnesota made the most of the shortage with a power play score by defender Emily Brown just 28 seconds into the frame. The Golden Gophers dominated the period, as the squad sent volley after volley against the Yale defense. Soon, Zumwinkle herself was on the scoreboard, as she notched a power play goal just 20 seconds after a penalty for holding on captain and forward Emma Vlasic ’19. Zumwinkle scored again less than four minutes later, placing the puck just out Hofmann’s reach. Coach Joakim Flygh then decided to swap Hofmann with goalkeeper Kyra O’Brien ’19, hoping to prevent the score margin from expanding beyond the existing 5–1 disparity. O’Brien held down the back line until the 19th minute of the frame, as Zumwinkle capped off her second period hat trick with a flick that sent the puck flying past O’Brien.
The Bulldog defense came alive in the third, as the Golden Gophers were kept to just a single goal. The two sides exchanged volleys in the first 10 minutes until Minnesota was finally able to break through at the 11th minute. Defender Olivia Knowles sliced a shot into the net to put the Golden Gophers up 7–1. Though Minnesota continued to press Yale, the Elis were able to keep the seven-time national champions from grabbing an eighth goal.
On Saturday afternoon, the Bulldogs welcomed the Golden Gophers to Ingalls Rink once again. The Bulldogs hoped to fare better than they had the night before, but the game got off to a rocky start for Yale. Minnesota came out of the gates firing and dominated the first period of play. The Golden Gophers led the Elis in shots 11–5 in the first period.
Forward Abigail Boreen opened the scoring after snapping home a wrist shot about halfway through the period. Minnesota did not let up after its early tally, and with three minutes to play, forward Kippin Keller smashed the puck past goalkeeper Hofmann to put the Golden Gophers up two heading into the second period. The Bulldogs were hurt by their penalties as they committed three infractions that amounted to six minutes in total.
Yale’s defense walled up in second period, stifling the dangerous Minnesota attack and creating some chances themselves. Hofmann was having a day in net, stopping all seven of the shots she faced in the second period. The junior ended the game with an unbelievable 41 saves. She was helped by stellar play from defender Botthof, who was all over the ice in the second period to stop the hard-charging attackers.
The third period saw the Bulldogs put some pressure on Minnesota. With just four minutes played in the period, Botthof turned defense to offense when she fired home a loose puck in front of the Golden Gopher goal. Yale finally had some momentum and looked poised to find the equalizer. But despite the best efforts of the Elis, the Golden Gopher defense held strong and clung to their one goal lead for the majority of the period. The Bulldogs pulled Hofmann with under two minutes to go, trying to utilize the extra attacker. The move proved to be costly, as forward Zumwinkle passed the puck into the empty Yale goal to put the game to bed at 3–1.
“Friday’s game helped us prepare for Saturday because we now knew exactly what to expect from Minnesota,” said defender Tabea Botthof ’22. “They are a fast and skilled team, but we were certainly able to match their pace in the second game.”
Yale has another double-header this weekend versus Vermont, with games at 2 p.m. on both Friday and Saturday back at Ingalls Rink.
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