SCHENECTADY, N.Y. – Buoyed by a pair of early goals from defensemen, the Yale women's ice hockey team picked up a 2-0 win at Union Friday night at Messa Rink in the team's first ECAC Hockey game since last November. Sophomore Julia Yetman and senior Taylor Marchin provided the early tallies, and freshman goaltender Tera Hofmann made 21 saves for her first career shutout.
"We wanted to get our defensemen involved in the scoring," said Joakim Flygh, Yale's Susan Cavanagh Head Coach of Women's Ice Hockey. "Any way we can get a win, whoever can chip in offensively, we'll take it."
The first period began with a lopsided 5-0 shot total in Yale's favor. By the time Hofmann gloved a Union shot with 6:13 left in the period, Yale had as many goals (two) as Union had shots. That was thanks in part to two penalties on Union, and the second one proved costly. Just as the power play was winding down, Yetman took a pass from junior forward Eden Murray at the top of the right circle and fired in her fourth goal of the season at 7:01, matching her total from all of last year. Freshman forward Laura Anderson also assisted on the play.
Less than two minutes later the Bulldogs extended their lead to 2-0, as Marchin's slap shot from between the circles snuck past goalie Kate Spooner at the 8:48 mark. Junior forward Courtney Pensavalle and sophomore forward Jordan Chancellor assisted on the play.
Marchin, who entered the game fifth in the nation in points per game among defensemen (0.87), has four goals in the last five games. She has already topped her goal, assist and point totals from last season (6-8-14 this year, 1-5-6 last year).
"She's just enjoying playing hockey, not getting too wrapped up in anything else," Flygh said in explaining Marchin's career year. "She's having fun her senior season."
Union (3-18-0, 0-9-0 ECAC Hockey) hung tough, though, and managed to outshoot Yale 10-9 in the second period. The Dutchwomen may not have many wins to show for their efforts, but they clearly have made strides under first-year head coach Josh Sciba. The team had been winless last season, and has not won a league game since December of 2014.
"They work extremely hard on both sides of the puck," said Flygh. "Even from our game against them earlier this year [a 5-1 Yale win], they are one of the most improved teams in our league. That's a good thing. It makes it a better league, where you have to compete every night."
The Bulldogs incurred a pair of penalties in the second, including one where the Dutchwomen were able to control the puck on a delayed penalty call and get an extra skater on the ice for more than 40 seconds. But Hofmann stopped every shot she faced, and the Bulldogs took a 2-0 lead into the third.
The third period saw Hofmann make a key save early, denying forward Rachel De Perio with the blocker after a turnover in the Yale zone. In the final minutes of the game the Bulldogs had to kill off their fourth penalty, and a block by Marchin with 2:30 to play helped them do that. Union pulled Spooner for an extra skater in the final minute, but junior defenseman Kara Drexler and Yetman blocked the Dutchwomen's final shot attempts and helped seal the victory.
Yale (5-8-3, 3-5-1 ECAC Hockey) continues to play without its leading goal scorer, senior forward Phoebe Staenz, who is playing for her native Switzerland in the Nations Cup. The Swiss, who have one win and two losses in the tournament, will play Sweden in the fifth-place game Saturday at 12:00 p.m. in Telfs, Austria. The Bulldogs play at Rensselaer Saturday at 3:00 p.m.
Report by Sam Rubin '95 (firstname.lastname@example.org, Yale Sports Publicity)