The Yale women’s ice hockey team skated to its 16th win to break its record for conference wins in a season.
The Bulldogs (16–13–0, 13–9–0 ECAC) traveled up the road to Hamden on Friday to take on No. 10 Quinnipiac (19–12–3, 11–9–2) for the third time this season, defeating the Bobcats in a decisive 4–1 tally. The next day, the Elis fell 5–1 to No. 6 Princeton, the second team in the ECAC standings. The weekend solidified Yale’s position as fifth in the conference; the squad will kick off its playoff campaign on Friday against Harvard.
“We know the reality, we’re probably gonna be on the road in playoffs [but] we’re excited for the challenge,” head coach Mark Bolding said.
Friday’s game was an important win for the team. Not only did the Bulldogs break the program’s record for conference wins, but they defeated Quinnipiac for the first time this season after dropping two frustrating games against them earlier on. The Bobcats got the early lead, with forward Sarah-Eve Coutu-Godbout slamming a shot past goaltender Gianna Meloni ’21.
The Bulldogs answered back with ferocity, scoring four goals in the remaining playing time. Five minutes after the Bobcat tally, forward Claire Dalton ’22 tied up the game with the first Yale goal of the night. With just a few minutes left in the second period, Dalton and defender Emma Seitz ’22 assisted forward Charlotte Welch ’22 in scoring the second goal and gave the Elis the lead. The goal was Welch’s 12th of the season.
In the final frame, the Bulldogs showed their dominance over their opponents. While Meloni made save after save, forward Rebecca Vanstone ’22 scored her 11th goal of the season to extend Yale’s lead to two. With just over five minutes left, forward Rebecca Foggia ’21 solidified the win with the fourth goal.
In total, Meloni saved 23 out of 24 shots in this decisive victory.
“It went by really fast,” captain Laura Anderson ’20 said whilst reflecting on her Yale career. “This whole weekend is a fun way to celebrate the four years for the seniors. We hope to keep the momentum going of playing well. On the road, [it] will be a challenge … but we’ll be ready.”
Yale’s matchup against Princeton showed the team’s resilience, but ultimately, the No. 6 team came out on top. Vanstone opened up the scoring seven minutes in to grab her 12th goal of the season. But the Tigers answered back, tying up the game 15 seconds later. From that point, Princeton took over the contest, scoring twice in each of the remaining periods to defeat the Bulldogs 5–1. Though the Tigers took home the win, Meloni made an impressive 33 saves on the day.
The loss against Princeton did not change Yale’s playoff standing. The team ranks fifth in the ECAC, and will play fourth-ranking Harvard this weekend in a best-of-three series. Harvard (16–12–1, 15–6–1) has had a strong finish to its regular season, winning six of its eight games over the past two weeks. In 29 games, the squad has scored 82 goals, just a few more than Yale’s 78.
The two Ivy rivals have already played two times this season, with the Crimson winning 5–2 and 4–2 in the respective matchups. But in the months since these games, the Bulldogs have won 10 games and scored 44 goals. This weekend will be the final test of the Elis’ upward trajectory as they battle to move forward in the playoffs.
“Anyone can beat anyone, the scores of the games are very close most of the time,” defender Tabea Botthof ’22 said. “This is why we are confident heading into the playoffs, knowing that anything is possible.”
The puck drops between the Ivy rivals at 3:30 p.m. this Friday in Cambridge.
Akshar Agarwal | firstname.lastname@example.org
Alessa Kim-Panero | email@example.com