The Yale women’s ice hockey team will take on the Rensselaer Engineers (0–22–1, 0–12–0) on Friday and the Union Dutchwomen (2–16–5, 2–6–3) on Saturday in New York.
The Bulldogs (9–8–0, 6–4–0 ECAC) are coming off of a momentous home stretch in which they took on the Clarkson Golden Knights (15–3–4, 6–2–2) and the St. Lawrence Saints (8–8–5, 3–4–2). The Elis made a statement, defeating ECAC rival Clarkson 5–2 on Jan. 10 and continuing the winning streak with a 2–1 rout of fellow ECAC team St. Lawrence.
“Impressions are being made within the group to be a more structured, team-oriented and hard-working team, and I think it’s paying off,” head coach Mark Bolding said earlier in the season.
Bolding’s words proved to be true again when the Bulldogs picked up their most significant win of the season thus far last Friday. The Clarkson game was marked by excellent performances on both the offensive and defensive ends. Forwards Elle Hartje ’23, Claire Dalton ’22, Charlotte Welch ’22, Rebecca Vanstone ’22 and Sophie Veronneau ’20 each notched a goal for the Elis. The defense, meanwhile, only allowed two goals, with netminder Gianna Meloni ’21 stopping 20 shots — half of which came in the third period alone.
The Bulldogs faced off with the Saints the following day, with forward Grace Lee ’23 and Hartje making a name for first years on the squad and scoring two Yale goals of the day. Overwhelmingly, the Elis outshot the Saints 30–19, with Meloni tallying another 20 saves for a total of 40 for the weekend.
The Bulldogs’ next opponents, the Engineers, have not won a game since March 2, 2019. The Blue and White made light work of them in their last meeting back in November, winning 3–0. In that edition, Yale outshot RPI 39–15. With the Bulldogs firing on all cylinders, all signs point toward a victory in similar fashion.
“It’s always easy to get cold if you are not getting too many shots, but staying focused in between periods is what’s important,” goaltender Tera Hofmann ’20 said back in November.
Yale thrashed the Dutchwomen at the Whale in their last meeting, shutting them out and netting five goals of their own. Lee’s hat trick in that game solidified the Bulldog win. Union is also currently 1–8–2 at home, with its sole win coming back in November. This game should be no different; the Elis have been on a tear and will look to extend their win streak to four.
The Bulldogs have already surpassed last year’s win count. A major factor to this success is the performance of the squad’s new first years. The leading goalscorer is Grace Lee, who has notched nine goals. Fellow teammate Hartje leads the team in points with 17.
“We are really excited about where the team is at right now and the second half of the season should be a blast!” defender Emma Seitz ’21 said.
The Yale women’s hockey team will take the ice against Rensselaer in Troy, New York, then travel to Schenectady, New York, to take on Union the next day. Yale is currently tied for fifth in the ECAC and has 10 conference matchups remaining after this weekend.
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