The Yale women’s hockey team (15–4–1, 9–3–1 ECAC) will look to defend its No. 8 national ranking and stay sharp against Brown (3–16–2, 3–10–1) in two games this weekend. 

The teams will meet Friday night in Providence at 6 p.m. and then again 24 hours later in New Haven. For the Bulldogs, much of the focus will be on maintaining their good form of late, having won their last four games.

“It’s a dream come true. Honestly, I never thought [being nationally ranked] would happen. Coming in my freshman year I never thought that that would be possible,” Becca Vanstone ’23 said. “Coach Mark [Bolding] has really done an excellent job recruiting with the program and he’s really changed it around.” 

Vanstone will look to have a big weekend and continue contributing offensively with 10 goals on the season, trailing only Elle Hartje ’24 who has 11 goals. Yale has averaged 3.9 goals a game this season, which makes their offense the fifth-best in the nation. 

The Bulldogs also boast a stout defense and goaltending duo. Senior goaltender Gianna Meloni ’22 is the first option for Bolding and stands eighth in the nation with a 1.36 goals against average over 11 games. Pia Dukaric ’25 has also played nine games and is currently ranked fifth in the country with a 1.33 goals against average. 

“Everybody’s just pulling together for each other,” Bolding said. “Even though it’s a big group, it’s a pretty close group.”

Brown enters the game ranked 10th of 12 teams in the ECAC standings with three wins on the season. The Bears are led offensively by senior forward Shay Maloney who has scored nearly a quarter of the team’s goals this season. 

Two of Brown’s three wins have come since the new year as they beat both Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and Union College by a score of 2–1. The win against Union came on Tuesday night in a rare midweek ECAC game that the Bears will hope to use to carry momentum into the weekend against the Bulldogs.

Other than a preseason scrimmage, this weekend will be the Bulldogs’ first meeting with the Bears this season. Since the 2001-02 season, the Elis lead the series 22–13–3 over the Bears.

As the season continues, the Bulldogs will also have to contend with the recent public health circumstances, as the Omicron variant has once again limited attendance at games. 

“It’s been a challenge not having spectators at the games. Especially when parents want to be there for the seniors’ last year, it’s hard for everyone on the ice to not have their family there cheering Yale on,” Meloni said. “At the end of the day, you’re here to represent the school but you always miss seeing family and friends after the game.”

Forward Claire Dalton ’23 has 59 career assists, which is only nine short of the all-time Yale record.  She also leads the team with 22 assists this season.

Spencer King is an Editor for the Sports desk. He has covered the Yale football and women's ice hockey teams. He has also previously covered the Yale men's lacrosse team and most things Bulldogs sports. Spencer is a junior in Davenport College and is majoring in Political Science.