Musco Sports Photos

Seven months after making it to the Frozen Four, the Yale women’s ice hockey team is back at it with a 5–0 shutout against McGill. 

On Saturday afternoon, the Bulldogs hosted the Martlets in a preseason exhibition match at Ingalls Rink. By the end of the first period, captain Claire Dalton ’23 had scored two goals for the Bulldogs in the first period and Kate Shaughnessy ’25 clinched another to put the Bulldogs up 3–0. Rookie Naomi Boucher ’26 scored her first collegiate goal in the second period while Elle Hartje ’24 earned her first goal of the year in the third.

“Going into the exhibition, our goal was to try out different lines and see who has good chemistry together on the ice,” said Hartje. “We were also able to dress everyone, which is always fun. Even though we were experimenting, our ultimate goal was to build confidence and win.”

Both the Canadian and American national anthems played before faceoff and a Canadian flag was draped across the Sachem Street section of the rink’s stands. Dalton noted that for Canadian members of the Blue and White, this weekend felt “particularly special” as some members of the team celebrated Canadian Thanksgiving with their families. The exhibition took place during the peak of Family Weekend and was the first flavor of competition for rookie skaters.

The Bulldogs began the game with aggressive drives deep into Martlet territory and kept the puck on the other side of the rink for the majority of the first period. Halfway through the first stretch, Dalton fired a shot into the net and earned the Bulldogs’ first goal. Less than three minutes later, Ciara Coleman ’26 assisted Shaughnessy in clinching a second goal. 

“It’s always ideal to start the season with a win,” said Shaughnessy. “Being able to contribute with a goal was just a bonus. I think the main takeaway from the game was that capitalizing on offensive opportunities combined with playing stingy defense will set us up for success against future opponents.”

With less than five minutes left in the first period, Emma Seitz ’23 set up Dalton for her second goal and secured a three-point lead to finish off the first frame. In the first 20 minutes, the Martlets fired two shots while the Bulldogs hit 17. 

Kicking off the second period, McGill attempted to rebound and made it deeper into Blue-and-White territory. However, deft defense from the Bulldogs blocked each of the seven Martlet attempts in this period. Vita Poniatovskaia ’25 along with goalie Pia Dukaric ’25 fended off the aggressive push as Dukaric maintained a ten-for-ten save statistic. With two minutes left in the period, Poniatovskaia assisted rookie Boucher in her first collegiate goal.

“[It was] great to have the opportunity to play before official games start,” Charlotte Welch ’23 said. “We were mainly looking to get more comfortable playing with each other and get adjusted to the pace of games after some time off.”

The Bulldogs dominated the third period with an offensive push in the first five minutes including a stretch where the McGill goalie lost her stick for about 20 seconds. A minor penalty in the thirteenth minute by Martlet Makenzie McCallum led to the first power play in the game. Less than a minute later, Dalton and Welch assisted Hartje in bagging the Bulldogs’ fifth and final goal. 

The Blue and White ended the final period with 18 shots to McGill’s one. In total, the Bulldogs outshot the Martlets by 37. 

“This team makes my job as captain so easy,” said Dalton. “They are disciplined, hard-working and respectful. This game was no different. Everyone did their best despite going with a large lineup which limited everyone’s playing time.”

Coming into the game, Dalton said that the team focused on “winning as many games as possible,” giving first-year players the chance to play and building chemistry. Hartje and Dalton both noted that consistent support from their families made it so that this weekend felt like any other.

Ahead of the upcoming season and after finishing the best season in Yale women’s hockey history, the Bulldogs aim to build upon their momentum. 

“We want to have a high-pace, aggressive style of play,” said Hartje. “A main focus of our team is to forecheck hard, create turnovers and get shots on net. We definitely will look to be an assertive team this year.”

The Bulldogs will host both Brown and Princeton in preseason scrimmages on Saturday, Oct. 15.

Hamera Shabbir covers golf and fencing for the Sports desk and the School of the Environment for the Science and Technology desk. Originally from California's Central Valley, she is a sophomore in Branford College majoring in Environmental Studies.