Courtesy of Steve Musco
A pair of losses to No. 9 Colgate and No. 6 Cornell this weekend mathematically eliminated the Yale women’s ice hockey team from ECAC Hockey postseason play. Yale (7–18–2, 6–12–2 ECAC Hockey) fell to Colgate (19–8–5, 13–4–3) this past Friday evening with a devastating scoreline of 6–3. The Bulldogs then traveled to Ithaca to challenge Cornell (18–3–6, 15–3–2), but the Big Red blasted Yale out of playoff contention with a 4–0 shutout.
“Over the course of the season, we grew as a team, adding more perfection to our systems and improving in terms of finishing games strong and playing consistently over three periods,” defender Tabea Botthof ’22 said. “We showed great effort not only this past weekend, which is why we are confident that we can compete well against Dartmouth and Harvard next weekend. Our fans can expect good and fast hockey games this Friday and Saturday, and we will be celebrating our seniors in the last weekend of the season.”
Friday evening began with a bang, as forward Charlotte Welch ’22 slid an opening goal past Colgate’s goalkeeper Julia Vandyk in the ninth minute. The Raiders responded quickly, with Shae Labbe launching a shot of her own past goalkeeper Tera Hofmann ’20 less than a minute after Welch’s score. Colgate continued its counteroffensive with another goal. This time, Jessie Eldridge thwacked the puck past Hofmann in the 14th minute to put the Raiders up by one. Colgate boasted a 2–1 lead at the end of the period and never trailed the Bulldogs again.
The Elis again began the period swiftly, as a series of beautifully executed passes resulted in forward Rebecca Foggia ’21 plunking the puck past Vandyk in just the third minute of the second period. But Colgate answered the lone Eli goal with two of their own. This time, Shelby Wood handled the wood and wrung the biscuit by Hofmann in the 15th minute. The Raiders then converted on a power play opportunity, and Olivia Zafuto zapped a zinger into the back of the net in the 18th minute to put her team up by a 4–2 margin.
The final period of play saw five penalties as the game’s intensity progressively increased. Colgate’s Larson Bailey belted a bullet past the Bulldogs’ backline about halfway through the period to put the score at 5–2. In response, Welch walloped her second game goal in the 13th minute of the third frame, and from then on, the game became physical. Eldridge received a penalty for hooking just moments after Welch’s goal, which the Elis followed up with a pair of infractions by defender Saroya Tinker ’20 and forward and captain Emma Vlasic ’19. Vlasic received a 10-minute misconduct penalty for her actions, while Tinker took the standard two in the box. The ensuing power play prompted an all-out scramble, and the Raiders took advantage with Bailey clinching a point in the fracas. The score cemented a 6–3 advantage for Colgate, and the Raiders secured another win at home.
“… We knew we needed to win games and get points this weekend, but we didn’t so it’s frustrating,” Vlasic said. “We played two tight games against two good teams but just couldn’t find a way.”
Yale’s game against Cornell was an equally challenging outing for the Bulldogs. Cornell’s high-flying offense that has placed them near the top of the conference in shots and goals per game this year showed up in a vital way for Saturday’s contest. The Bulldogs hung tough, but the barrage of the Big Red bested the Elis 4–0 in what became a somber Saturday. The frustrating game saw Yale tally fewer than half the shots of Cornell, as the Bulldogs scrambled to create opportunities in front of net.
The first period set the tone for the entire game, with Cornell applying pressure early on. About 10 minutes into the game, forward Grace Graham grabbed the puck outside of the crease and slotted it home for the opening goal of the contest. The Bulldogs tested the Bear’s goalkeeper but could not find the equalizer. Yale and Cornell both went on the power play in the first, but neither team managed to capitalize on the offensive opportunity.
Cornell kept its foot on the gas pedal in the second 20 minutes of the game. The Big Red threatened Hofmann’s goal with a flurry of shots, but she was equal to the attack. The netminder made 35 saves in total, with the majority coming in the second period. However, a Yale penalty put Cornell on the power play, and the home team made the Bulldogs pay. Forward Kristin O’Neill slid the puck under the pad of Hofmann to double the Big Red’s advantage. The period finished with Cornell outshooting Yale 10 to three.
Despite holding a three-goal lead, Cornell did not let up in the final period while Yale continued to struggle to get shots on goal. O’Neill secured a brace with a skillful swing of the stick, assisted by her teammate Maddie Mills. Yale did not give up though, putting up eight shots in the period. Yet, none of these found the back of the net. The Bulldogs pulled the goalie late in the period, which allowed Cornell to add a final tally. Defender Willow Slobodzian cleared the puck into the open Eli net to make the game 4–0 in favor of Cornell. The final buzzer sounded on a disheartening defeat for Yale.
“We are going to bring a lot of energy this weekend,” Vlasic said. “You want to win every game you play in, so our mindset isn’t going to change heading into the last two games at home. “
The Elis close out the season with home games against Dartmouth and Harvard next weekend.
Bentley Long | firstname.lastname@example.org
Eamonn Smith | email@example.com