After a record-breaking run in the ECAC playoffs, the No. 6 Yale women’s hockey team will skate into the NCAA tournament for the first time in program history. 

Just a week after falling in overtime, 2–1 to No. 4 Colgate (30–7–1, 16–5–1) in the ECAC finals, Yale (25–8–1, 16–5–1 ECAC) will face the Raiders again on the road for the regional finals of the NCAA tournament. After earning a bye in the first round of the NCAA playoffs, the fifth-seeded Bulldogs enter the tournament at the regional finals stage. 

“We had a great run,” Charlotte Welch ’23 said after Saturday’s loss. Welch recorded three assists last weekend against Princeton and Colgate. “Our main takeaway from this weekend is that you have to bury your chances when you have them.”

Yale hopes to improve its physicality in playoff hockey. While the Bulldogs appeared to be faster and more skilled at maintaining puck control, by the second period it became clear that the Raiders were bigger and stronger. Colgate played aggressively and began to win more puck battles in the second and third periods against the young Yale team.

The competition on the road this Saturday will be Yale’s fourth game against the Raiders this season. After winning the two regular season games by substantial margins, the Elis must examine their 4–0 and 3–0 wins to learn what previously worked against Colgate. 

“We are disappointed, but we’re not done,” head coach Mark Bolding said. “We’re proud of them. We just got to let it go quick, because we’ve got some things we can fix.”

The ECAC Championship was a controversial heartbreaker. Colgate scored the game-winning overtime goal shortly after a faceoff change in the neutral zone. Though the home team always has the right to the last change, the referees failed to catch Colgate’s late change after Yale sent out their line. 

Still, Bolding refrained from criticizing the referees after the game. 

“Smart move on them. They got a double change. At the end of the day, that’s a really important situation,” Bolding said. “The home team has the last change. I was a little frustrated with that. But nonetheless that’s over.”

The rematch against Colgate will be fiercely competitive and every second on the ice will count. 

The Raiders have a strong offense and are ranked third in the nation for scoring. Colgate will have to play against Yale’s formidable defense with veteran goalie Gianna Meloni ’22 and captain defenseman Greta Skarzynski ’22 leading the way. 

Helping Yale rank second in the country for fewest goals against this season, Meloni’s goals against average is 1.50, while her save percentage is an impressive .937. Along with other players, Emma Seitz ’23, ECAC Defensemen of the Year, also provides a unique challenge for Colgate with her defensive and offensive abilities. As a defenseman, Seitz has the fifth-most points (14–11–25) for Yale. This season, she has the third-most shots on the team with a whopping 123 pucks to the net.

Emma Seitz ’23 takes a shot from the left faceoff circle in ECAC finals versus Colgate. (

“I am super excited for this team to get the opportunity to perform on the national stage. It’s something we’ve worked for all year and deserve,” Skarzynski told Yale Athletics. “We have unfinished business from Saturday night.”

Of the 11 teams in the NCAA Women’s Hockey Tournament, five are from the ECAC, the most of any conference. Winners across the four conferences — ECAC, Hockey East, WCHA and CHA — were awarded automatic bids, while the other seven bids were at-large based upon team records and national rankings. 

Yale, which is the fifth seed, will play fourth-seeded Colgate on Saturday, March 12 at 3:00 p.m. in Hamilton, NY. The winner will face Ohio State, Quinnipiac or Syracuse in the Frozen Four semifinals in University Park, PA on March 18. All games will be streamed live on ESPN+.

Rosa Braceras covers Women’s Ice Hockey, Softball, and other sports news. She is a senior in Benjamin Franklin College majoring in History.