Steve Musco

Although the Yale women’s ice hockey team lost in a 5–2 showdown with Harvard on Friday night, the Elis rebounded on Saturday, toppling Ivy-foe Dartmouth with a 2–0 scoreline.

The Elis (7–15–1, 6–9–1 ECAC Hockey) engaged Harvard (7–11–3, 6–8–2) in a tough tussle in Cambridge on Friday night, ultimately losing to the Crimson by three goals despite a late rally. However, Yale rallied on Saturday and overcame Dartmouth (4–18–1, 3–13–0) by a 2–0 tally.

“The score in the Harvard game wasn’t reflective of our play, as we played a solid game — the shots were equal and the faceoffs were pretty close,” forward Kirsten Nergaard ’20 said. “Rebecca Foggia had an incredible shot to break the shutout, and Tabea Botthof had a great power play goal. Unfortunately, their goalie performed well and held down the scoring.”

Last weekend, Yale threw everything in its arsenal at the Crimson in an attempt to retain its position as the eighth and final playoff-bound seed in the conference, as the Elis previously were ranked only a half-game ahead of Harvard. Despite late game heroics from several key Bulldogs, the Crimson was able to put the game away early on in the match, notching two goals in the first 11 minutes of play.

Harvard began the first period with a blast from forward Brooke Jovanovich in the fifth minute. Yale launched a counteroffensive effort, but the Crimson defender Marayna McDonald floated a flick past goalkeeper Tera Hofmann ’20, giving the Crimson a 2–0 advantage at the end of the first period. The Crimson capitalized on its lead during the second period as forward Kristi Della Rovere, Harvard’s leading goalscorer, slung a pair of shots into the net in the fifth and seventh minutes. At the end of the second period, Yale faced an insurmountable 4–0 margin.

The Bulldogs, however, persevered. After Kat Hughes notched a mark for the Crimson in the sixth minute of the third period, the Elis quickly responded. Forward Rebecca Foggia ’21 smacked the skillet past Harvard’s Lindsay Reed just 37 seconds after Hughes’ shot. Yale initiated an offensive outpouring that resulted in 16 shots on goal in the period — the highest for either team for any period in the contest. The Eli efforts paid off, as a series of passes from defender Saroya Tinker ’20 and forward Greta Skarzynski ’21 led to defender Tabea Botthof ’22 hammering a hot shot past Reed in the final minutes. But ultimately, the Bulldogs could not postpone the inevitable, and the final scoreline was 5–2 in favor of the Crimson.

On Saturday afternoon, Yale snatched its sixth conference win in a pivotal game against Dartmouth, shutting out the Big Green in a 2–0 victory. The Bulldogs came out firing, looking to avenge their loss the previous day. Dartmouth could do little on the offensive side against determined goalkeeper Hofmann. She stopped all 32 of the shots she faced in the game. The win was Yale’s first shutout this season.

The Bulldogs set the tone in the first period, flying around the ice to disrupt the Big Green. With about eight minutes to play in the opening frame, Yale’s aggression was rewarded with an opening goal. An ill-advised Dartmouth penalty put Yale on the power play, and defender Emma Seitz ’22 made sure the opportunity did not go to waste. A slick pass from Botthof set up Seitz to slot the puck home from the left circle. Forward and captain Emma Vlasic ’19 also received an assist on the goal. Yale ended the period with the momentum and a one-goal advantage.

A good start only got better for the Bulldogs, as they kept their foot on the gas in the second period of play. Dartmouth threatened Yale at times, but could not find a way past the Yale backline. The Elis then doubled their advantage seven minutes into the middle frame. Forward Kaitlyn Rippon ’22 put her name on the scoresheet for the first time in her college career with a poised wrister. The goal was the product of senior experience and first-year talent, as forward Jordan Chancellor ’19 provided the perfect pass for Rippon to pounce on. Defender Lauren Moriyama ’21 was also awarded an assist on the tally. The Bulldogs ended the period with a commanding two-goal advantage.

The third period was simply about maintaining the lead for the Elis, and they did not let up despite their lead. Hofmann played a large role in securing the win with her third career shutout and first of this season. As a result of her skill between the posts against the Big Green, her save percentage rose to .919 and her goals against average dropped to 2.58. Highlighted by Hofmann’s performance in the net, Yale’s defense was impenetrable, as Moriyama and Tinker were making crucial blocks in front of the Yale net throughout the final 20 minutes. As the clock wound down, the Bulldogs maintained their 2–0 lead to clinch the win.

“Overall we are playing better and executing a little better,” coach Joakim Flygh said. “We are a young team and when you are looking at our production, it is a lot from our freshmen. Their strong second half has been great for us, as they adjust to the college level of hockey. They are getting more used to us as a team. We are becoming a more consistent hockey team because of this. We need to grow a little bit defensively. Defending off the rush has been difficult for us.”

Yale has two more crucial conference games next weekend as it prepares to square off against Quinnipiac and Princeton at Ingalls Rink.

Bentley Long | bentley.long@yale.edu

Eamonn Smith | eamonn.smith@yale.edu