The No. 7 Yale women’s hockey team (24–7–1, 16–5–1 ECAC) will face off against the Princeton Tigers (13–14–5, 9–10–3) on Friday at Ingalls Rink in the ECAC semifinals. 

The Bulldogs entered the tournament as the second seed, but following Princeton’s upset of top-seeded Harvard, the Bulldogs were the highest remaining seed after defeating St. Lawrence University in a best-of-three series. The win earned the team the right to host the ECAC championship weekend for the first time in program history.

“I think we knew, from the start, that this team was gonna do it and we expected to win this series and move on [in] the tournament,” forward Becca Foggia ’22 said. “It’s a great feeling as a senior to get to host the tournament for the first time in program history.”

Ingalls Rink, regarded by many as one the best collegiate rinks in the country, will finally get its chance to host the women’s ECAC tournament. The Whale, which Wall Street Journal said had the “Best Design,” will certainly be a raucous environment come Friday afternoon when the Bulldogs take the ice. 

Hosting the tournament is just one of many firsts for the program in the first two years of Mark Bolding’s tenure as head coach. Building off of setting the program record for wins in his first season with 17, Bolding broke that record again this year, with 22 regular season wins.

“It’s so easy to be at home and the Yale crowd was so great today. Students, faculty, staff, just friends, people who are family, so I mean really a treat to have that happen. Home ice is going to be a lot of fun and I think, you know, you think about it, the players deserve it,” head coach Mark Bolding said. “When you are actually the number two seed and you get it done, you actually deserve it, so I’m really happy for them. It’ll be fun for the hockey community to support us and we’re looking forward to Friday.” 

Bolding was rewarded for the team’s outstanding year by being named ECAC Hockey Coach of the Year. However, the awards did not stop with Bolding as the Bulldogs filled out many of the ECAC year-end awards. 

Both forward Elle Hartje ’24, a finalist for ECAC Hockey Best Forward, who broke the single-season program record with 33 assists, and defenseman Emma Seitz ’23 were named to the ECAC First-Team All-League. Forward Claire Dalton ’23 and goaltender Gianna Meloni ’22, who was a finalist for ECAC Goalie of the Year, were also named to the ECAC Third-Team All-League

The team also had success in the end of year Ivy League awards. Seitz was named to the First Team, forwards Dalton and Charlotte Welch ’23, the teams Academic All-Ivy League player, were honored on the Second Team, and Hartje and Meloni were both All-Ivy Honorable Mentions. Defenseman Vita Poniatovskaia ’25 was also named to the ECAC All-Rookie team.

Seitz, who is a finalist for ECAC Hockey Player of the Year, leads all ECAC defenseman with 13 goals, was also named the ECAC Hockey Best Defenseman of the Year. Seitz was also second in the ECAC with a +17 on-ice rating.

“That’s huge, just for the program,” Seitz said about hosting the ECAC tournament, “When I came here it was a goal of mine and I know it was a goal of the other girls in my class and the senior class.”

For Princeton, the focus will be on continuing to upset highly ranked teams. The Tigers’ upset over first seed Harvard was the first time the eighth seed has ever advanced in the ECAC women’s quarterfinals. 

If the Bulldogs want to advance to the ECAC championship, the top priority will be finding a way to get the puck past the Tigers’ standout senior goalie Rachel McQuigge, a member of the First-Team All-Ivy. McQuigge held Harvard, the No. 9 ranked team in the nation, to only two goals in the three quarterfinal games, averaging over 34 saves a game. 

The Bulldogs and Tigers have already faced off twice this year, with Princeton winning the first meeting 2–0 and then the Bulldogs winning 3–0 in the second meeting on Feb. 19.

The ECAC semifinals between Yale and Princeton will drop the puck at 3 p.m. on Friday at Ingalls Rink. The winner will face off against either Quinnipiac or Colgate on Saturday at 3 p.m.

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.