In a frustrating weekend on the ice, the Yale women’s hockey team fell to both No. 6 Clarkson and St. Lawrence by 5–1 scorelines.
Yale (5–14–0, 4–8–0 ECAC Hockey) first tackled the Clarkson Golden Knights (18–5–1, 9–3–0) on Friday night in Potsdam, New York. After defeating Clarkson 5–1 at Ingalls Rink in mid-November, the Elis capitulated this time around and succumbed to a 5–1 defeat of their own. Yale then took on the St. Lawrence Saints (11–11–2, 6–5–1) on Saturday afternoon, but the Bulldogs could not build momentum and returned to New Haven with a second 5–1 loss.
“The team is excited heading into crucial conference games in the second half of the season,” forward and team captain Emma Vlasic ’19 said. “Even though we had a tough weekend this past weekend, we are looking to keep building moving forward. RPI and Union are going to be two good games and it’s going to be important for us to get off to a fast start and establish our game early on.”
Friday night’s match got off to a rough start for the Elis as Clarkson’s Loren Gabel, currently sitting second in points scored in ECAC Hockey, scored just eight seconds into the first period. The Golden Knights followed Gabel’s unassisted bullet with another quick goal when Elizabeth Giguere, the leader in points scored in ECAC Hockey, smacked a stunner past goalkeeper Tera Hofmann ’20 in the fourth minute. Finally, Michaela Pejzlova, placed third in points scored in ECAC Hockey, hammered in a heater in the 14th minute of the period to give Clarkson a 3–0 lead.
Pejzlova then went on to assist in Giguere’s second goal of the night, just under seven minutes into the second period. However, a penalty on Clarkson’s Josiane Pozzebon a minute later would lead to Yale’s lone score of the match. First year phenomenon forward Rebecca Vanstone ’22 snuck a power play goal past Golden Knight goalkeeper Kassidy Sauve to finish a series of passes initiated by fellow first years forward Charlotte Welch ’22 and defender Emma Seitz ’22. Pozzebon would get her revenge, however, assisting Giguere’s third goal of the match in the 18th minute of the second period. This play marked Giguere’s second short-handed goal of the game, as she finished with her first hat trick of the season.
Yale’s second game of the weekend was away against tough conference opponent St. Lawrence on Saturday afternoon. The Bulldogs came in looking to avenge their 3–1 loss from November, but the Saints were ready for a fight. St. Lawrence built on a hot start and controlled the game, despite the best efforts of the Elis’ attack.
The Saints came out firing in the first period, leaving Yale to chase the game throughout the rest of the matchup. Defender Lydia Grauer put St. Lawrence up just two minutes into the contest, slotting the puck past goalkeeper Gianna Meloni ’21. Yale went on the power play shortly after, but could not find the equalizer. Defender Skylar Podvey then doubled the Saints’ advantage with 15 minutes remaining in the period. Meloni made two crucial saves in front of net, but she was unable to keep out a vicious slapshot from forward Kalie Grant halfway through the period. St. Lawrence went up 3–0 and goalkeeper Kyra O’Brien ’19 entered the game for Yale to replace Meloni.
Yale refused to let the daunting deficit deter it and struck back at the beginning of the second period. Forwards Claire Dalton ’22 and Welch ran a break to perfection, with Welch slotting a perfect pass through to Dalton. Dalton fired a venomous wrister into the back of the net to cut the St. Lawrence lead to two goals. Seitz was also credited with an assist on the goal, her sixth assist in her last five games. However, the Saints refused to let the momentum shift. St. Lawrence capitalized on a power play, with forward Kayla Nielsen slotting it home to restore the three goal advantage. Fellow forwards Rachael Smith and Maggie McLaughlin provided the assists on the goal.
While St. Lawrence had a vice grip on the match, Yale did not quit. The Bulldogs threatened on the offensive end, and O’Brien was steady in goal. The senior recorded 26 saves in just 50 minutes of play, a strong showing between the posts. However, the Saints shut the door on Yale’s hopes with three minutes left to go. A long clearance off of a Yale power play led to St. Lawrence going on a two-on-one break. Forward Jessica Poirier centered the puck to Grant for the attacker’s second goal of the contest. This late tally solidified the scoreline at 5–1 in a win for the Saints.
“I notice a large difference in play from October to now, and am very excited for what is in store this second half,” said Welch. “Everyone is very excited and optimistic about the future. We had a tough schedule the first half of the season, but I think that helped us improve quicker.”
Yale returns home against Rensselaer at 6 p.m. on Friday.
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