Nader Granmayeh, Contributing Photographer

In a historic 2021-2022 season, the Yale women’s ice hockey team earned a place on the biggest stage in college ice hockey.

In March 2022, the Yale women’s ice hockey team advanced to the Frozen Four, where they faced off against No. 1 seed Ohio State. 

To secure their spot, No. 5 Yale beat No. 4. Colgate two minutes into overtime during the NCAA Regional Finals. Yale goalie Gianna Meloni ’22 and Tess Dettling ’22, who scored the final point, were instrumental in the Bulldogs’ victory.

“Right now we are all just soaking this in,” Tess Dettling ’22 said after Yale’s win over Colgate.

Having secured a spot in the Frozen Four, Yale prepared to go against Ohio State. As the No. 1 seed in the tournament, the Ohio State Buckeyes presented a challenge for the Bulldogs, but the Bulldogs refused to go down without a fight. 

“We’re thrilled that we’re here,” head coach Mark Bolding said when commenting on the team’s advancement to the semifinals. “Lots of hard work has gone into the season.”

The Frozen Four semifinals began with the University of Minnesota Duluth versus Northeastern University. The game was decided in double overtime, delaying the Yale-Ohio State matchup. 

The second semifinal game of the night — between Yale and Ohio State — began at a quick pace, but neither team was able to break the tie in the first period.

In the second period, defender Tabea Botthof ’23 scored the first goal for the Bulldogs. Following Botthof’s goal, Ohio State performed a seamless set play to tie the game at one. The Buckeyes soon took a one-goal lead after a strong individual effort from Buckeyes forward Jenn Gardiner, who carried the puck the length of the ice and scored after beating the defense with a toe drag.

During the game, the Bulldogs were persistent. In the third period, they fought hard to score, taking advantage of each and every goal-scoring opportunity. Yale earned a power play close to the end of the game, but the Buckeyes prevented the Bulldogs from scoring.

After a timeout with Coach Bolding, goaltender Meloni left the goal. Emma Seitz ’23 attempted a shot from the top of the circle, but it was saved by the Buckeyes’ goalie.

Nadine Muzerall, Ohio State’s head coach, then called a timeout with only 59 seconds left in the game, just as Yale was beginning to make strides on the offensive.

Unable to tie up the game in the final moments, Ohio State beat Yale and advanced to the Frozen Four finals.

The 2021-2022 women’s ice hockey season was monumental. The team’s trip to the Frozen Four was the first in the program’s history. The season’s success can be attributed to the work of head coach Mark Bolding and the valiant effort of the Bulldogs. 

This year’s graduating seniors each made meaningful contributions to the season’s success. Emma Seitz and Sofie Zander ’23 built a strong defense; Charlotte Welch ’23, Rebecca Vanstone ’23, Kaitlyn Rippon ’23 and Claire Dalton ’23 made powerful moves as forwards; and Courtney DeNaut ’23 was a resilient goalie.

When the Bulldogs took to the ice at the beginning of this year, they hit the ground running. Although the Bulldogs lost the ECAC championship game the year before, they scored the program’s first-ever ECAC Regular Season Championship in February 2023, a week after the team’s first Ivy League Championship.

The 2022-2023 season was a memorable one for the Yale Women’s Ice Hockey team. 

“I am so proud of this team,” team captain Claire Dalton said.

With a trip to the Frozen Four semifinals, an ECAC Regular Season Championship and an Ivy League Championship under their belts, the future’s looking bright for the Bulldogs. Keep an eye out next season. 

The Frozen Four was held at Pennsylvania State University.