Yale Athletics

With their win against Cornell University on Saturday, the women’s hockey team clinched their first Ivy League Championship in program history. 

The No. 2 Yale women’s hockey team (24–2–1, 17–2–1 ECAC) split their games this weekend against two nationally ranked teams in a loss to No. 4 Colgate University (26–4–2, 16–3–1 ECAC) and a win over No. 14 Cornell (13–12–2, 10–9–1 ECAC).

After a hard fought 5–3 loss on Friday night to Colgate, the Bulldogs bounced back on Saturday as captain Claire Dalton ’23 provided the overtime heroics to defeat Cornell 3-2. 

“I am so proud of this team,” Dalton said. “Yesterday was tough, but we knew we could bounce back, especially with the school’s first Ivy League Championship on the line.”

Since Yale defeated Colgate in last year’s NCAA Regional Final, the Raiders clearly came into the new season with vengeance on their minds. Colgate has been the only team to beat the Bulldogs this year, and the two games against the Raiders stand as the only blemishes on Yale’s otherwise-perfect season. With the two teams currently occupying the top-two spots in the ECAC standings, the Bulldogs will likely need to find a way to break the streak and beat the Raiders if they are to win an ECAC Championship in addition to their Ivy League Championship.

A player that has proven this season to be a thorn in the side of the Bulldogs — as well as nearly any team she plays against — is Colgate senior forward Danielle Serdachny. Serdachny registered three assists against the Bulldogs, pushing her season total to 58 points, a Colgate season record. 

“That’s a really great accomplishment,” Colgate head coach Greg Fargo said to Colgate Athletics. “We’ve had a lot of great players come through this program over the years and for Danielle to accomplish that tonight is really special.” 

While Serdachny drives most of the offense for the Raiders, the Bulldogs boast a more diverse attack, which has proven to be an effective strategy for the team all season. Yale has four players in the top 30 in the nation in points per game, led by Elle Hartje ’24 with 1.32 points per game, the 13th highest in the country.

However, the story of the game for the Bulldogs against Cornell was their captain, Dalton.The captain first entered the scoresheet when she scored at the end of the second period to tie the game at two-all, but she would go beyond a tying goal.

With the teams tied at two at the end of regulation, the Bulldogs sent out their big guns to start three-on-three overtime, with head coach Mark Bolding electing to pair two of his most dangerous forwards — Dalton and Hartje — with his best offensive defenseman, Emma Seitz ’23. 

The trio proved to be what the Bulldogs needed, with Dalton collecting the puck below the goal line before driving hard towards the net and looping it around the Cornell goalie. 

The goal was the final punch in what has been a dominant stretch of play for Dalton, who entered February having been just named the Hockey Commissioners Association National Co-Player of the Month of January

“We want to have a high pace, aggressive style of play,” Hartje said. “A main focus of our team is to forecheck hard, create turnovers and get shots on net.”

The focus for the team now swings to the final weekend of regular season play, which will see Dartmouth College and Harvard University visit Ingalls Rink.

“We always want to beat Harvard,” Dalton said of the final regular season matchup against the rivals. “That is something that is ingrained in you the second you choose to come to Yale.”

The Bulldogs will play their final regular season game of the season on Saturday at 3 p.m. against the Harvard Crimson at The Whale. 

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.