The Yale women’s hockey team (16–5–1, 10–4–1 ECAC) faced off against the Brown Bears (4–17–2, 4–11–1) twice this weekend, once at each team’s home rink. Home-ice advantage was in full swing as the home team won each contest. The Friday matchup in Providence saw a 4–1 Bears victory while the Sunday New Haven rematch found the Bulldogs victorious with a 5–1 final score. 

It was a weekend of mixed emotions for the Bulldogs as the team was handled by a struggling Brown team on Friday night before bouncing back with five goals on Sunday afternoon.

“We worked tremendously hard and that was a big key,” head coach Mark Bolding said following the win on Sunday “We did get outworked there, so there’s no doubt about that, at Brown on Friday. Today, they put in the work, they prepared.”

In the first meeting, Brown scored a season-high four goals against the Yale team that at that time, was only allowing 1.3 goals per game. The Bulldogs’ starting goalie Gianna Meloni ’22 allowed three goals on 16 shots, while the fourth Brown goal came on an empty net with Yale trying to equalize.

Meanwhile, on the offensive end, the Bulldogs struggled to generate good offensive chances all night, only scoring one off the stick of Vita Poniatovskaia ’25. Throughout the weekend, Brown sophomore goalie Kaley Doyle frustrated the Yale offense, making 31 saves on Friday and then 40 more saves Sunday.

For her efforts, which were a big reason the teams split the two games, Doyle was named both the ECAC Goalie of the Week and the Rookie of the Week. 

“At the end of the day we have a great goaltender,” Brown head coach Melanie Ruzzi said to Brown Athletics following her team’s win. “Kaley Doyle gives us a ton of confidence. She made some huge saves.”

However, the Bulldogs were able to snap back into form for the second meeting with the Bears, potting five goals en route to a victory back home at the Whale. 

After only being able to force one puck past Doyle in the first game, it was clear that the Bulldogs had a plan for the rematch. The Elis peppered the Brown net all afternoon with 45 shots on goal. The game marked the sixth time that the team has put over 40 shots on goal.

Five different Bulldogs scored on Sunday afternoon, with senior forward Maya Kerfoot ’22 getting the team started with her first career goal. With under seven minutes to play in the first period, Kerfoot broke a 0–0 deadlock with a snipe over Doyle’s blocker into the top right corner.

The goal seemed to wake the Bulldogs up out of their slump, as the team bench erupted in celebration for the senior’s goal that pointed to good things to come that afternoon.

“This is a really great program and I’m really happy to be here,” Kerfoot said. “I was just really excited to score a goal for our team. It felt really good.”

Five Bulldogs had multipoint nights for the team, with forwards Elle Hartje ’24 (0–2–2), Charlotte Welch ’23 (0–2–2), and Rebecca Vanstone ’23 (0–2–2); and defensemen Poniatovskaia (1–1–2) and Anna Bargman ’25 (1–1–2) each shining during the game.  The scoreline showcased the tremendous depth that Coach Bolding has built in only two years of recruiting. 

First year goalie Pia Dukaric ’25 got the start over Meloni and did her part. The Bulldogs’ defense only allowed 12 shots on goal for Brown, but it seemed as if all 11 saves from Dukaric came in big moments to prevent any momentum from swinging to the Bears.

“It’s one of those games where you have got to be sharp. You know, you can give up a power play goal, but [Pia] was really steady,” Coach Bolding said of his first year goalie. “That gives us more confidence, in having multiple options in net.”

Unfortunately for the Bulldogs, only one win on the weekend was not good enough to maintain their No. 8 national ranking, as the team fell a spot to No. 9.

Currently in the national rankings, three of the top ten teams in the nation call Connecticut home, with No. 8 Quinnipiac, No. 9 Yale and No. 10 University of Connecticut. 

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.