In its opening weekend, Yale (2–0–0, 0–0–0 ECAC) hosted St. Anselm (1–5–0, 0–0–0 NEWHA) on Friday night before traveling to Fairfield on Saturday to take on Sacred Heart (2–5–0, 0–2–0 NEWHA). The Bulldogs made a promising start to the season with a safe 8–0 victory against St. Anselm and an assured 7–0 win at Sacred Heart.

Last weekend, Yale took on the Connecticut Whale — one of six teams in the Premier Hockey Federation — in an exhibition game. The Bulldogs dominated the professional women’s squad 8–3, including a hat trick from Charlotte Welch ’23 and a shorthanded goal from Elle Hartje ’24. Preparations continued with a scrimmage against Brown the next day. These games were the Bulldogs’ first competitions since the ECAC conference playoffs against Harvard in March 2020.

After the cancellation of the 2020-21 season due to the COVID-19 pandemic, almost half of the roster — 13 of 30 players — now consists of rookies. Head coach Mark Bolding believes senior leadership will show the newcomers the ropes.

“We have a good number of experienced players at every position who know what it takes to win, and that’s what you need to compete in this conference,” Bolding told Yale Athletics. “Having that returning leadership and on-ice experience will be crucial to our success.”

Friday’s game was Yale’s first contest with St. Anselm in program history. While this also marked the Bulldogs’ first game of regular season play, the game took place in the Hawks’ fourth weekend of competition. Two weeks ago, No. 3 Quinnipiac swept St. Anselm in a two-game series.

Against St. Anselm, Yale first-years proved they were ready for collegiate level competition by opening the scoring. Within the first 10 minutes of play, Emma DeCorby ’25 and Anja Trummer ’25 each received a pass from Olivia Muhn ’25 and slotted the puck into the net.

“Oh it feels great,” DeCorby told the News about scoring the team’s first goal in her first collegiate game. “It’s a great start. I’m smiling from ear to ear.”

With 6:20 left in the first period, Rebecca Vanstone ’23 increased the Bulldogs’ lead to 3–0. Just 20 seconds later, Vanstone punched in her second goal of the game after a tussle in front of the net. After letting in four goals across eight shots, St. Anselm’s goalie Allie Kelley was subbed out for Annabella Lalande.

After 20 minutes, the Bulldogs led both the scoring 4–0 and shots on net 19–5.

After a dominant first period, St. Anselm began to get scrappy with the Elis, taking five minor penalties across the latter two periods. On the powerplay, Yale took 26 shots, 15 of which were on goal. Forty seconds into the Hawks’ third penalty of the second period, captain Greta Skarzynski ’22 knocked in the Bulldogs’ first power-play goal of the season. In the last minute of regulation, Claire Dalton ’23 put the biscuit in the basket only 29 seconds into the powerplay. 

Goals from Hartje and Tess Dettling ’22 rounded out the scoring to put the Bulldogs up 8–0. Yale also dominated shooting, with 108 shots — 59 of which were on target — after 60 minutes. 

Fifteen players added points to their personal stats on Friday, and no single player accumulated more than three points.

“It’s super exciting to see how much depth we have.” Skarzynski told the News. “I think this is a really special group, from our top players producing down to our freshman line getting some points up.”

Dalton (1–2–3), Welch (0–3–3) and DeCorby (1–1–2) took the three stars of the game. 

Yale last played Sacred Heart in 2014, when the Bulldogs proved victorious across two games.

“Anytime you go on the road, you’ve got to be prepared,” Bolding told the News ahead of the away game against Sacred Heart. “It’s just a matter of playing a team game and hopefully we can keep the momentum going.”

The Elis certainly were prepared for their Saturday game in Fairfield, blanking the Pioneers 7–0. Special teams were the talk of the night with second-period shorthanded goals from Vita Poniatovskaia ’25 and Dalton — her second of the night. Grace Lee ’24 also added a powerplay goal in the third.

With Hartje, Vanstone and Dettling each lighting the lamp, the Bulldogs led by seven after 60 minutes.

Between the pipes, Gianna Meloni ’22 and Pia Dukaric ’25 each secured shutouts and earned the win during Friday and Saturday’s games, respectively. 

Coming into this season, the Bulldogs were undefeated against NEWHA schools, outscoring them 37–4 across four games.

Melanie Heller currently serves as the Sports Editor for the Yale Daily News. She previously reported on women's hockey. Originally from Potomac, MD, she is a senior in Silliman College double majoring in Economics and Humanities.