The Yale women’s hockey team (17–1–1, 10–1–1 ECAC) is living up to their high preseason billing by rising to the No. 2 ranking in the nation. The team has gone undefeated in the 2023 calendar year and boasts a nine-game win streak, with their last, and only, defeat coming on December 3.

“Having the best preseason rankings in school history is an honor and a challenge,” captain Claire Dalton ’23 said before the season. “It’s great that fans and voters believe that we will continue to be a contender this season. I also see it as a challenge to prove that we belong at such a ranking (or higher) and that last year was not just a fluke.”

On the road to the No. 2 Bulldogs have won all seven of their games in the new year, most notably defeating No. 9 Clarkson University (19–6–1, 8–4–0 ECAC) by a score of 3–1.

With team success leading the way, individual success has followed. With Dalton notching her hundredth career point earlier this season, she has since been joined by two teammates in the 100-point club.

On Jan. 7, forward Charlotte Welch ’23 tallied her hundredth career point with a goal. Elle Hartje ’24 became the third player to reach the mark with a goal against Brown a week later.

Following a stellar sophomore season, Hartje has proven to be one of the best playmakers in the country, averaging 0.94 assists a game, the ninth best nationally.

“Hockey is a team sport, and the team’s success is reliant on all players working cohesively together. I think that my assists are just proof of how well our team meshes and gels,” Hartje said. “Getting goals and assists is always nice because it is a manifestation of all the hard work we put in day in and day out.”

While Hartje has paced the Yale upperclassmen, the younger players have been led by first-year forward Jordan Ray ’26.

Ray is second on the team with 20 points, trailing only Hartje. Ray has also potted the second most goals on the team with eight tallies on the season. Despite her calm performances on the ice, Ray is also making sure to take time to appreciate the realization of a lifetime dream.

“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 said earlier in the season.

While Hartje and Ray have taken care of the offense, sophomore goalie Pia Dukaric ’25 has kept things locked down in net for the Bulldogs.

Following a 4–0 shutout of Brown on Saturday, Dukaric set the program record for shutouts in a season, posting her sixth thus far. With a 1.206 goals allowed average, Dukaric ranks third in the nation, proving the strength of the Bulldogs throughout their lineup.

The Bulldogs will return to action on Friday, Jan. 20, in an away game matchup with the Princeton Tigers.

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.