NEW HAVEN, Conn. – For the second day in a row Saturday at Ingalls Rink, a short-handed Yale women's ice hockey team battled a tough opponent deep into the game. And while the Bulldogs had just enough offense to earn a 2-2 overtime tie with No. 7 Cornell Friday night, on Saturday afternoon Colgate eventually pulled away with a pair of third-period goals for a 3-1 win. Sophomore forward Jordan Chancellor scored Yale's goal, and freshman goaltender Tera Hofmann made 35 saves.
The Bulldogs were playing without three forwards. Senior Phoebe Staenz is with Team Switzerland at the Final Olympic Qualifier, where the Swiss have gone 2-0. Senior Krista Yip-Chuck was injured last weekend, and junior forward Kaitlin Gately was injured Friday night. So for Joakim Flygh, Yale's Susan Cavanagh Head Coach of Women's Ice Hockey, this weekend turned into a chance to learn how his squad would handle adversity.
"They're a team," said Flygh. "They play for each other, and we had different kids step up. From an effort standpoint, we were as good as we needed to be. We just need to execute."
While Yale (10-13-4, 8-10-2 ECAC Hockey) was coming off that overtime battle with No. 7 Cornell Friday, Colgate (22-7-3, 13-6-1 ECAC Hockey) had pasted Brown 7-3 to extend its winning streak to five. The red-hot Raiders offense had outscored opponents 24-5 in that span, but found it much tougher to light the lamp on Saturday.
After more than 30 minutes of scoreless hockey, a 5-on-3 gave the Raiders the opportunity to break on top. Forward Breanne Wilson-Bennett was all alone at the far post, banging in a feed from forward Jessie Eldridge at 11:58 of the second to make it 1-0.
As the period wound down, the Bulldogs took advantage of a turnover in the Colgate zone to tie the game up. Freshman forward Laura Anderson intercepted a pass and put a shot on goal that Colgate netminder Julia Vandyk stopped, but Chancellor put home the rebound at the 18:28 mark to send the game into the third knotted 1-1.
The Bulldogs had some Grade-A chances to take the lead in the third, but the game turned dramatically in a span of just over a minute midway through the period. First, Vandyk made a tremendous play to deny Anderson off a feed on a 2-on-1 from junior forward Eden Murray. Then, Raiders forward Megan Sullivan knocked away a Yale pass at the Colgate blue line, chased the puck down in the neutral zone and skated in all alone on Hofmann. She went bar-down over Hofmann's stick for what would be the game-winning goal, making the score 2-1 Colgate at 9:12.
Vandyk made one more great save, kicking away a shot by Anderson with 90 seconds left, before Yale pulled Hofmann for an extra attacker. Forward Annika Zalewski's empty net goal at 18:58 made the final 3-1.
Hofmann finished the weekend with 71 saves in total, and has now started five straight games after a couple weekends splitting time with sophomore Kyra O'Brien.
"She's been really good down the stretch," said Flygh. "For the last 12 games or so our goaltending in general has been very good. They are giving us an opportunity to win."
Yale paid tribute to its five seniors -- Staenz, Yip-Chuck, defenseman/forward Abby Gahm, goaltender Hanna Mandl (Nobleton, Ont.) and defenseman Taylor Marchin (Algonac, Mich.) -- after the game. That quintet has seen the program make dramatic progress over the last four years. The team was just 9-16-7 their freshman year, but has already surpassed that win total this season. The Bulldogs have qualified for the ECAC Hockey playoffs for the third time in the last four years after going five years without a playoff appearance prior to that. Overall the seniors have led the team to 44 wins so far.
"They have meant a lot to us," said Flygh. "They have helped change our culture, and they have been a great group to work with."
Yale plays at Harvard next Friday.
Report by Sam Rubin '95 (firstname.lastname@example.org, Yale Sports Publicity)