WOMEN’S HOCKEY: Bulldogs prove elite in early season games
The Yale women’s hockey team is undefeated early in the season after downing highly ranked opponents.
The Yale women’s hockey team (8–0–0, 4–0–0 ECAC) has proven to be among the nation’s best following early success in an undefeated start to the season and winning the Henderson Collegiate Hockey Showcase.
After big wins over nationally ranked ECAC foes No. 4 Quinnipiac (14–1–0, 6–1–0 ECAC) and No. 15 Princeton (4–5–1, 2–4–0 ECAC), the Bulldogs faced off with No. 12 Pennsylvania State University (11–8–1, 3–1–0 Big 10) in a pair of home games, downing the Nittany Lions twice.
Following the wins over Penn State, the Bulldogs headed to Las Vegas for Thanksgiving break to play in the Henderson Collegiate Hockey Showcase. This was the teams’ first year playing in the showcase, which made its debut this year. The tournament replaced their usual Nutmeg Classic that the Bulldogs have played in since 2007.
“The Vegas tournament was really fun,” captain Claire Dalton ’23 told the News. “I am glad we got the chance to participate!”
Once there, victories against Boston University and No. 5 University of Minnesota propelled the Bulldogs to No. 3 in the nation in the USCHO poll, where the team also received three first-place votes. Minnesota fell from No. 3 to No. 5.
The Bulldogs battled against the Terriers for two scoreless periods before Carina DiAntonio ’26 knocked one past the BU goaltender off of assists from Charlotte Welch ’23 and Dalton. Dalton’s assist marked her 100th career point as a Bulldog, making her the third player to reach this milestone in program history.
“It is an honor,” Dalton said about reaching the milestone. “It is indicative of the corner this program has turned. We have plenty of girls on pace to break and set records, some of whom aren’t even seniors. When both the team and individuals are reaching new heights, you know the program has a bright future.”
Less than a minute after DiAntonio’s goal, Emma Harvey ’25 scored to make the final score of the game 2–0. Yale goalie Pia Dukaric ’25 made 26 saves against the Terriers, recording her third shutout of the season.
The game against Minnesota comes as one of the biggest in the team’s history, and Yale stands alone as the only remaining undefeated squad in the country.
In the first period of the game both teams filled the nets, with six goals scored between the teams.
In the first two minutes of the game, Rebecca Vanstone ’23 gave the Bulldogs a 1–0 lead as she notched her first goal of the season in her second game back after sitting out for approximately six weeks due to an injury.
“I think it’s huge in any game for the team to score first, as it gives us momentum and confidence, and this was no different,” Vanstone said. “We were especially hyped up since it was such a huge game for us, and I think getting the first goal set the tone for the game.”
The teams appeared set to enter the first intermission tied at two goals apiece with under a minute remaining in the period. However, with under 37 seconds remaining in the first, rookie Jordan Ray ’26 scored to put the Bulldogs back in the lead.
Four different underclassmen earned points for Yale against Minnesota, continuing an early season trend of big contributions from young players.
First-year forward Ray leads the Bulldogs in goals and points at five and 10, respectively. First years have folded into the team seamlessly, contributing up and down the lineup.
“We are building this program into a championship team, and the underclassmen are huge parts of our success,” Elle Hartje ’24 wrote to the News earlier this season. “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.”
At 3–2 against Minnesota, Yale wasn’t finished. Rather than settling for one goal, Dalton scored 11 seconds later to double the lead going into intermission.
Minnesota scored a power play goal in the second period to narrow Yale’s lead to 4–3. Despite the Gophers outshooting Yale 8–5 in the third period, Dukaric was a brick wall in net and managed to secure the Bulldogs’ victory.
“Beating Minnesota was amazing,” Dalton said. “This will be very important for overall team morale. We have a big weekend coming up against Cornell and Colgate, and we will need to come in confident to take down these two talented opponents.”
Yale will return home to Ingalls Rink to compete against ECAC opponents Cornell and Colgate. The puck drops on Friday, Dec. 2 at 6 p.m. as the Bulldogs play the Big Red. Yale will face Colgate on Saturday, Dec. 3 at 3 p.m. Both games will be live streamed on ESPN+.