In an up-and-down break, the Yale women’s ice hockey squad went 3–2, splitting a series with the University of Vermont, losing to New Hampshire and sweeping Ivy foe Brown.
Yale (5–12–0, 4–6–0 ECAC Hockey) clashed with nonconference opponent Vermont (7–12–4, 5–9–2 Hockey East) in back-to-back matchups taking place on Dec. 7 and 8, with the Elis dropping the first contest 5–1 before snagging a 6–4 win in the second meeting. The Bulldogs then lost a battle against New Hampshire (8–11–4, 5–10–1 Hockey East) in a solo showdown on Jan. 8. But the squad followed the loss with a traditional home-and-away series against Ivy opponent Brown (5–11–1, 2–7– 1 ECAC Hockey) this past Friday and Saturday, reigning victorious in both matchups.
“I think that getting back to campus on the 29th and having a few weeks here to just focus on hockey was really important for our team,” defender Julia Yetman ’19 said. “We were able to put all of our energy on hockey without having to worry about school and we also had a lot of time to bond away from the rink which I think brought our team closer together.”
In the Elis’ first battle against the Catamounts at Ingalls Rink on Dec. 7, a three-goal outburst in the first period put the game out of reach for Yale as Vermont’s Abby Cleary slapped two shots past goalkeeper Tera Hofmann ’20. The third period saw two quick Vermont goals followed by a consolation strike from Jordan Chancellor ’19 on a power play to put the final score at 5–1 in favor of the Catamounts.
The next day, the Elis fared better when they catapulted over the Catamounts in a 6–4 shootout win. Though the first period was relatively peaceful, the second period saw a total of six goals: four in favor of Yale and two in favor of Vermont. Forward Claire Dalton ’22 scored the first goal of the hectic period, followed by a score from forward Rebecca Vanstone ’22. Forward Greta Skarzynski ’21 joined the scoreboard soon after while Vanstone slapped in another shot to bring her total for the period to two. In the third period, Dalton and Skarzynski each went on to score another goal to give the Bulldogs a 6–4 victory at the final buzzer.
The Elis started the new year engaging in a nail-biter against the New Hampshire Wildcats. Dalton scored her first goal of 2019 just minutes after New Hampshire’s Devan Taylor opened the scoring. Team captain and forward Emma Vlasic ’19 notched a tally of her own in the fifth minute of the second period, but New Hampshire’s Carlee Turner grabbed a swift reply. A power play, however, allowed the Elis a chance to strike back as defender Yetman grabbed a goal in the eighth minute. While Yale ended the second period with a slim 3–2 lead, New Hampshire rebounded in the third period as two Wildcats scored to bring the final to a 4–3 score in favor of New Hampshire.
The Bulldogs closed out their winter break games with a double-header against Brown. Coming into the matchup, Yale and Brown sported very similar records both in and out of conference play. However, Yale came out ready to dominate. In the first game — played on Friday night at Ingalls Rink — the Elis started the opening period with an offensive explosion, going up 3–0 in swift fashion. Defender Saroya Tinker ’19 capitalized on a Yale power play and notched her first goal of the season while forward Charlotte Welch ’22 found the back of the net to double the Yale advantage. With just seven seconds left in the first period, defender Emma Seitz ’22 made her scoring debut as she beat the buzzer to give the Bulldogs a comfortable three-goal lead. Vanstone assisted both the second and third goals with pinpoint passes.
The second period belonged to Brown, as the Bears stormed back into contention with two goals. Forward Lizzy Gross tallied her sixth goal of the season with at just two minutes into the period. Brown built off that momentum and found a second goal through the stick of defender Abby Nearis, rendering the once insurmountable Yale lead to just a single goal.
In the third period, Vanstone took the game into her own hands. She had already assisted two goals, but she did not stop there. Vanstone pounced on a loose puck in front of the Brown net to restore the two goal lead for the Bulldogs. Then, just three minutes later, she fired a wrist shot past the Bears goalie to put the game to bed at 5–2 in favor of the Elis. Her four point performance was crucial for the Yale victory.
“I think that the [Brown] win means a lot to us,” Vanstone said. “I think it is just the start of a big second half for us and it was very crucial to the girls in the dressing room.”
Going into Saturday’s rematch at the Meehan Auditorium in Providence, the Bulldogs carried their momentum from their Friday night conquest. Vlasic scored with just seven seconds off of the clock, demonstrating early that this game would be no different from the last. However, Brown battled back and knotted the game at 1–1 midway through the first period with a clever shot by forward Veronica Alois. But Yetman refused to let Yale end the first period tied, firing home her fourth goal of the season with 30 seconds left in the period.
The second and third periods were entirely controlled by the Bulldogs. Forward Becca Foggia ’21 picked up the puck from Chancellor’s deft pass and slotted it home to make the game 3–1. Vanstone, after assisting Yetman on the second goal, stranded the Brown goalkeeper with a vicious slap shot, securing a 4–1 victory for the Bulldogs. The back-to-back wins helped Yale pick up two crucial Ivy victories, improving its conference positioning as the season continues.
“Everyone was really excited to get back after break, and there has been a really good energy so far this second half,” said Yetman. “So we are looking to build off this energy and the two wins against Brown as we begin to prepare for Clarkson [and St. Lawrence] this weekend.”
The Bulldogs will travel to Clarkson for its next game on Friday at 6 p.m. at Cheel Arena in Potsdam, New York.
Bentley Long | firstname.lastname@example.org
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