The Yale women’s ice hockey team returns for the spring semester coming off two wins against Clarkson and St. Lawrence this past weekend.
The Bulldogs (9–8–0, 6–4–0 ECAC) traveled to Minneapolis the first weekend of January and fell to the dominant No. 2 Minnesota Gophers 6–3 on Saturday and 4–1 on Sunday. The squad brushed itself off for its conference matchups this past Friday and Saturday, defeating the Golden Knights (15–3–4, 6–2–2) 5–2 and the Saints (8–8–5, 3–4–2) 2–1. The Elis will meet Rensselaer in upstate New York on Jan. 17, looking to repeat their shutout on Nov. 9.
“I think we started out 2020 with a couple good games in Minnesota,” captain Laura Anderson ’20 said. “Obviously, they weren’t the result we wanted, but we played well and it built up confidence to carry with us for the next games. The team is excited to keep all of this going.”
In the first matchup of their Minneapolis weekend, the Bulldogs charged the ice, fighting to outshoot their opponents in a scoreless first period. Minnesota found the back of the net first in the second frame with a shot from high-scoring forward Sarah Potomak. Less than two minutes later, her younger sister Amy Potomak notched the second tally of the game and her seventh of the season. Yale refused to be shut out as forward Charlotte Welch ’22 assisted forward Claire Dalton ’22 on the first Bulldog goal of the game. Despite Yale’s efforts, the Gophers scored twice more, bringing the score up to 4–1 by the end of the second period.
Returning for the third frame, the Bulldogs were eager to show their skills. Though Minnesota forward Abigail Boreen snuck in her second goal of the season, the Elis answered back with forward Elle Hartje ’23, who picked up a pass from Dalton to notch her sixth goal of the season. Forward Grace Zumwinkle claimed the sixth and final Gopher tally — her 14th of the year. Eager to get in more shots, Dalton grabbed one more Bulldog goal in the final minute to close out the game 6–3.
On Sunday, Minnesota and Yale met on the ice once more, with the Bulldogs keeping away the Gophers’ advances until the last minutes of the first period, when Amy Potomak notched her second goal of the weekend. In the second frame, the Gophers grabbed two more tallies from forward Taylor Wente and Zumwinkle. With less than five minutes left in the game, the Elis finally got on the scoreboard. Making good use of a power play, Welch scored the single Bulldog tally of the game with defender Greta Skarzynski ’21 picking up the assist. But the Gophers had the final word, with Zumwinkle claiming her third goal of the weekend and 16th of the season to close out the scoring 4–1.
Yale took on No. 5 Clarkson this past Friday in New Haven. Clarkson scored first, but forward Rebecca Vanstone ’22 evened things up with under a minute to go in the first frame. The Bulldogs started to pull away in the second, notching two goals. The Bulldogs let up just one and netted two uncontested goals in the third and walked out of Ingalls with a 5–2 victory. One of the biggest takeaways was the stellar performance of netminder Gianna Meloni ’21, who stopped 20 shots in total, with half of those coming in a flurry from the Golden Knights in the third period. This is perhaps the most impressive win in the new squad’s short history.
“We had a great trip in Minnesota and despite not winning there, the team really got connected and learned how to play together versus the gophers,” head coach Mark Bolding said. “It carried into tonight and we had a solid team effort, great forechecking and consistent goaltending. Excited to see if we can string together some more conference wins here in the month of January.”
The Blue and White defeated St. Lawrence 2–1 on Saturday in a close bout. Forward Grace Lee ’23 capped off a four-point weekend for Yale with the eventual game-winning goal, collecting a rebound from defender Saroya Tinker ’20 and firing the biscuit past the Saints’ netminder.
Both the defense and offense clicked, with Yale dominating the shot tally 30–19. Meloni made 20 saves, including a big-time stop on a breakaway late in the second period.
“Heading into the next couple games, I think we’re on a really good roll,” Lee said.
The Bulldogs will take on Rensselaer on Friday, Jan. 17 in Troy, New York. Yale defeated RPI 3–0 back in November. The Engineers are currently winless on the season, and the Bulldogs are looking to keep that streak alive.
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