Yale will travel down Whitney Avenue to take on ECAC foe No. 10 Quinnipiac this Friday before heading to New Jersey to take on No. 6 Princeton the following day.
The Bulldogs (15–12–0, 12–8–0 ECAC) are coming off a weekend split, defeating Colgate 5–3 but falling to No. 1 Cornell 5–1 despite putting up a battle. The Bobcats (18–11–3, 10–8–2) defeated Yale in their previous two matchups this season, both of which were tight contests — Yale will look to avoid a season sweep against the Bobcats. The squad then travels to New Jersey to tame the Tigers (20–5–1, 15–4–1), who also defeated Yale back in January.
“We’re excited,” head coach Mark Bolding said. “Three times with a league opponent doesn’t happen very often. We played them tight for two games and it got away from us in the third in both games. And the Princeton game at home was an awesome game, we played well.”
The Bulldogs will need to claim a win this weekend to secure advantageous seeding in the postseason — if they defeat the Bobcats, then they will retain the fifth seed. If the team defeats Princeton, but not Quinnipiac, then it may drop to sixth. Losing both games would mean the Elis could potentially drop down to the seventh seed. Yale might also move up to the fourth seed if it wins both of its games and No. 7 Clarkson loses all of its remaining games.
The matchup against Colgate showcased the strength and determination of Yale’s squad. Defender Emma Seitz ’22 gave Yale an early lead, scoring with just 20.1 seconds left in the first frame. After finding themselves behind 2–1 early in the second period, the Bulldogs scored four straight goals to close out the victory. Rookie forward Elle Hartje ’23 made her mark, scoring two of the five Yale tallies and assisting on one more.
Colgate outshot Yale 33–27, but netminder Gianna Meloni ’21 made 30 saves to keep the Raiders at bay.
The following day, the Bulldogs challenged Cornell — the top ranked team in the nation — in what was Yale’s final home game of the season at Ingalls. The two teams found themselves fairly even in shots in the first period, but neither team found the back of the net until forward Kirsten Nergaard ’20 nailed a shot to grab the first tally of the game midway through the second period.
Cornell soon tied things up. Minutes later, a controversial call against Yale in the second period changed the tone of the game as the Bulldogs fought off the power-play advances of the Big Red. But Cornell found a way in, scoring four consecutive goals to end the game 5–1. The dominant squad leads the ECAC with 37 points, scoring 75 goals against its conference opponents while allowing only 13.
The Bulldogs will play their final two games of the regular season outside of New Haven, but that shouldn’t phase them.
“Away games are not too different from home games,” Tabea Botthof ’22 said. “We travel to away games on Thursday and stay in a hotel together. I personally like to have the whole team together at one place when we are away, because it makes me feel a little more focused on hockey and on the team itself. Once the puck drops though, it doesn’t matter where you are anymore, you just play.”
This Friday, Yale and QU will go head-to-head once again. The Elis last challenged Quinnipiac on Feb. 1 at Ingalls, falling 3–1. Meloni made an impressive 27 saves in that game, but it was not enough to stop the Bobcats. Though the scoring was tied up at 1–1 for a majority of the contest, QU had two lucky shots at the end of the third frame to take home a win.
This will be the third contest between the Bulldogs and the Bobcats this season, with Yale looking to prove itself one more time before the playoffs. Since last playing Yale, Quinnipiac has won three of its four matchups, including a 2–1 win over Clarkson.
Riding a six-game winning streak, the Bulldogs went into their last tilt against Princeton on Jan. 31, which ended with a 2–1 loss. Since last playing Yale, the Tigers have scored 15 goals in 5 games, winning all except their most recent contest with Clarkson. Princeton trails Cornell — the top seed in the ECAC — by six points.
“I think we’ll be prepared,” captain Laura Anderson ’20 said. “On the road obviously will be a challenge but we competed with Qpac and Princeton so I think they’ll be good games and we’ll be ready.”
The Bulldogs look to end the regular season on a positive note and gain some momentum as they prepare for the ECAC playoffs.
Akshar Agarwal | firstname.lastname@example.org
Alessa Kim-Panero | email@example.com