Melanie Heller, Contributing Photographer

The No. 8 Yale women’s hockey team (2–0–0, 2–0–0 ECAC) returns to campus for its home opener after sweeping Harvard University (1–3–0, 1–3–0) and Dartmouth College (0–3–0, 0–3–0) on the road. This weekend, Yale will face off against No. 4 Quinnipiac University (9–0–0, 3–0–0) and No. 14 Princeton University (0–2–0, 0–2–0).

Last weekend’s success catapulted Yale into second place in the ECAC standings, behind Quinnipiac. Friday’s game against the Crimson proved to be tough competition, but the Bulldogs fought hard for the 2–1 win against their Ivy foes. The last time that Yale beat Harvard in Boston was in Feb. 2020, when Yale won 4–3 in overtime of game two of the best-of-three ECAC Hockey Quarterfinal Series.

“We are building this program into a championship team, and the underclassmen are huge parts of our success,” Elle Hartje ’24 said. “Our coaches work super hard to recruit the right kids that will fit in with and better our team as a whole. We keep getting questions about how we are going to respond after last year’s success, and I think that the production from the younger players is proof that we have every intention to be even better this year than last.”

Last weekend, the Bulldogs’ underclass players came out in full force. Sophomores and first-years scored all six of the combined goals against Harvard and Dartmouth, demonstrating the depth and strength of the Yale bench.

13 minutes into the first period against Harvard, Hartje executed a spin move from below the goal line to fire off a backhand shot on net. Rookie Jordan Ray ’26, positioned at the backdoor, shoveled the rebound into the back of the net to score her first goal as a Bulldog. On the play, Hartje tallied her 50th career assist.

“It was a surreal experience, growing up with the goal of playing division one hockey and now that I’m actually here it is unreal,” Ray wrote in an email to the News. “Then on top of that to have scored my first goal in my first college game with my family there is a moment I will never forget.”

Going into the third period, the score remained 1–0. Yale and Harvard battled it out on the ice in the last 20 minutes of the game, resulting in a total of six penalties with three for each side. 

With less than five minutes remaining in the game, Anna Bargman ’25 outletted the puck to Ray in the defensive zone. Ray carried the puck through the neutral zone along the boards before dangling a Harvard defensemen as she cut into the slot. The rookie hammered one home off of her backhand to make the score 2–0.

The Crimson got on the board in the last two minutes of play to make the final score 2–1. 

Goalie Pia Dukaric ’25 had a standout game against Harvard. Dukaric made 37 saves, setting a new career record for the sophomore. Previously, her career-high was 28 saves. 

“The road trip was a huge success, and we are very happy to get two big ECAC wins,” head coach Mark Bolding told Yale Athletics. “We had great energy, teamwork and forechecking in both games and the pressure paid off as we had a lot of O-zone time.”

On Saturday, Dartmouth scored the first goal. But Yale bounced back on the power play about eight minutes later when rookie Carina DiAntonio ’26 netted her first goal of her Yale career off of an assist from Bargman. At the close of the first period, the score was 1–1.

The Blue and White took the lead in the second frame. Vita Poniatovskaia ’25 scored her first goal of the season, which was assisted by DiAntonio. DiAntonio notched her second goal of the night with less than three minutes left in the second period to make the game 3–1.

Bargman picked up the last goal for the Bulldogs with 18 seconds remaining in the game. The final scoreline read 4–1 in a Blue and White victory.

“Pia was great all weekend in the net and both Ray and DiAntonio made a big impact in their collegiate debuts netting two each while playing on our top two lines,” Bolding told Yale Athletics. “Now to prepare for a tough series ahead at home with Quinnipiac and Princeton.”

The Bulldogs will face tough competition against their local rivals on Friday for the home opener. Yale has not beaten Quinnipiac since Feb. 21, 2020. The Bobcats are currently undefeated and have an average of 4.2 goals per game with their opponents only earning an average of 0.8 goals per game.

With their eyes set on winning the ECAC this season, the Elis have a tough fight ahead of them

Princeton will be hungry to rebound after their pair of losses last weekend to ECAC opponents No. 6 Colgate and No. 9 Cornell. 

“The energy of the team going into the home opener is definitely high,” DiAntonio said. “We are all fired up and excited for our games this weekend.”

Students who purchased Harvard-Yale tickets online can pick up their tickets at the Yale women’s hockey home opener against Quinnipiac on Friday, Nov. 4 at 7 p.m. 

The puck drops at The Whale at 6 p.m. Saturday’s game against Princeton will take place at 3 p.m. Both 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.