The Yale women’s ice hockey team traveled up the road to Hamden for the annual Nutmeg Classic, defeating UConn 6–2 in its first match but falling 3–1 to Quinnipiac in the final of the tournament.
The Bulldogs (6–5–0, 3–3–0 ECAC) have had a strong start to their season, netting 33 goals while only allowing 26 through their defense. The Nutmeg Classic was yet another chance to show their skills on the ice; on Friday, forwards Greta Skarzynski ’21 and Charlotte Welch ’22 grabbed two goals each while defender Saroya Tinker ’20 and forward Claire Dalton ’22 added single tallies of their own. Forward Grace Lee ’23 lit the lamp in Saturday’s game against the Bobcats to close out the Bulldog scoring for the weekend.
“I thought the team really came together as a unit this weekend and worked our systems pretty well for the most part, which gave us a lot of success in all three zones,” goaltender Gianna Meloni ’21 said. “Obviously, it wasn’t the result we wanted because we know we can win every game — we’re a strong enough team on and off the ice —but this definitely was an important stepping stone for us.”
Yale had a difficult start to its Friday matchup against the Huskies (8–7–1, 5–3–1 Hockey East), allowing two opposing goals in just five minutes. But they started to turn things around as Tinker faked out Husky netminder Morgan Fisher to fire a shot into the open side of the net, notching her sixth career goal in her 100th game. The Bulldogs narrowly outshot their opponents in the first period, but left the ice trailing 2–1.
The Elis returned for the second frame hungry for the lead. Four minutes in, Welch and Tinker set up Skarzynski for the second Bulldog goal — her first of the season. Shortly after, Yale took the lead when Welch picked up a rebound from Dalton to slam the puck past the goaltender. Less than a minute before the clock ran out, Welch slid the puck in again to take her second goal of the game and build the Eli lead to 4–2.
In the final frame, forward Tess Dettling ’21 set up Skarzynski for yet another tally, skating into open space before slipping the puck to her teammate for the fifth Yale goal of the game. To finish off the scoring, Dalton grabbed her third goal of the season with less than four minutes left — the assist going to forward Elle Hartje ’23. Overall, the Bulldogs outshot the Huskies 31–26.
“We came out ready to play against UConn but fell short quickly in the first few minutes losing 2–0, but after a positive spark on the bench and a goal to make it 2–1 we realized we were still in the game and were there to win,” Tinker said. “We’ve never won this tournament in my four years here but we are on the right track.”
Unfortunately, Tinker’s dreams of winning the tournament would fall just short as the squad fell to the Bobcats (8–6–3, 2–5–2). The Bulldogs controlled the tempo for much of the first period, holding onto a one-goal lead after Lee snapped a wrister into the back of QU’s net midway through the first. Meloni notched a first-period shutout, but eventually, the Bulldogs’ defense broke down.
In the second period, Meloni made a flurry of saves as the Bobcats peppered her with shots, but eventually let in two goals. The Elis struggled offensively, putting 11 shots on net in the second and scoring on none of them. They entered the third period looking to tie the game up, but failed to do so despite having two power-play opportunities. Eventually, Quinnipiac scored on an empty net to seal the deal, delivering a 3–1 loss to the Blue and White.
After this weekend’s games, Lee and Welch lead the scoring for the team, with six goals each. Hartje is close behind with five. Looking ahead, Yale will face rival Harvard this Friday.
“We are definitely looking forward to our game this Friday,” Welch said. “We have improved greatly since the last time we played Harvard, and I am very excited to see what we can do.”
The Bulldogs return to ECAC action against the Crimson at Ingalls Rink this Friday at 6 p.m.
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