The Yale women’s ice hockey team ended their season with a 1–0 victory over Dartmouth this past Friday evening, followed up by a 2–2 tie against arch nemesis Harvard.
The Elis (8–18–3, 7–12–3 ECAC Hockey) faced an underperforming Dartmouth (5–21–3, 4–16–2) unit, who are languishing in 10th place in the league. After defeating the Big Green, 2–0, the Bulldogs celebrated senior day in a hotly contested tie against the Crimson (11–13–5, 9–9–4) that ended 2–2 in overtime.
“It has been a tremendous honor representing Yale for the past four years on the ice,” captain and forward Emma Vlasic ’19 said. “I just love coming to the rink every day and working to get better with my teammates. The memories I’ve made over the past four years playing hockey at Yale will stick with me for the rest of my life.”
The Dartmouth matchup began with an even-keeled offensive showing from the two sides, but defense dominated the day. All 16 first-period shots were saved by the goalkeepers of the two teams — Kyra O’Brien ’19 and Christine Honor. A penalty on forward Becca Foggia ’21 in the 12th minute led to a power play opportunity for the Big Green, but Dartmouth was unable to capitalize on the mismatch.
The second and third periods offered much of the same. Dartmouth heaved four more shots than Yale in the second period, but the Elis responded with a whopping plus-11 shot differential in the third period. Nevertheless, both teams failed to capitalize on their offensive advantages. A Dartmouth penalty led to a Yale power play opportunity in the middle of the second frame and twice again in the beginning and middle of the third period. The Big Green received another power play chance at the very end of the third period, but neither team was able to capitalize on their regular time chances.
Overtime, however, breathed a breath of fresh air into both squads. A quick and blatant penalty call on Dartmouth’s Lotti Odnoga led to a successful power-play opportunity for the Bulldogs. Yale’s youthful jacquerie saved the game, as forward Rebecca Vanstone ’22 belted the puck into the net following a series of passes from fellow forward Claire Dalton ’22 and defender Emma Seitz ’22. These three critical Elis snatched victory from the jaws of a tie, finishing the season sweep of the Big Green.
The Bulldogs took the ice for the final time in the 2018–2019 season at home against Harvard. The game marked the last skate for Vlasic, O’Brien, defender Julia Yetman ’19 and forward Jordan Chancellor ’19. While neither team could find a winner after overtime, the Bulldogs brought out their best for their seniors and played one of their most complete games this year.
The first period got off to an inauspicious start for the Elis. Both teams quickly began to fire shots, and the frenetic pace of the game indicated that the score would not stay level for long. The Crimson struck first midway through the period, after forward Becca Gilmore buried the puck past O’Brien to make the score 1–0 in favor of Harvard. Yale was still dominating Harvard in terms of shots, with 14 to the Crimson’s six. However, the period concluded with the Elis unable to level the score — despite creating opportunities with ease.
Yet Yale dug deep and the Bulldogs were rewarded for their offensive onslaught in the second period, but it came from an unlikely source. Defender Saroya Tinker ’20 found herself with the puck on the edge of the crease, and the junior slapped a screamer that left the Harvard goalie no chance. The Elis could not keep the lead for long, as forward Kat Hughes cut through the Bulldog backline and restored the Crimson’s advantage.
The pace of the game remained high throughout the end of the second period and into the third. Yale was desperate for an equalizer, and the Elis got it sooner than they imagined. A minute after the Hughes tally, Yale was back on the attack once again. A clever pass from Kaitlyn Rippon ’22 sent Seitz in on goal. The first-year made no mistake, zipping a wrister past the Crimson keeper and knotting the game at two apiece.
The final period of play and overtime were frustrating for both sides. O’Brien was vital for the Elis in net, making save after save. She made 14 on the night, as her defense was strong in front of her. Meanwhile, the Yale offense turned it up in the third, as they hunted for that crucial winner. The Bulldogs put up 13 shots to Harvard’s six, but the Crimson keeper was equal to every Eli effort. Overtime couldn’t decide the game either. Vlasic had a final opportunity to win the match with time ticking down in the extra period, but her shot was heroically saved by Harvard’s netminder. The game finished 2–2 in a pulse-pounding stalemate.
“We talk a lot about leaving a legacy behind, with the team and for the team, and representing Yale is something I’ll never forget,” said O’Brien.
Yale finishes the year at ninth in the ECAC with 17 points on the season.
Bentley Long | firstname.lastname@example.org
Eamonn Smith | email@example.com