Women’s hockey goes 0-2 on the road

by Josh Koenig | 11/10/13 2:25pm

by Maggie Rowland and Maggie Rowland / The Dartmouth

In a disappointing weekend on the road, the women’s hockey team failed to shake off an early season slump, dropping back-to-back contests against No. 6 Clarkson University on Friday evening and St. Lawrence University on Saturday. Over the road swing, the Big Green (1-6, 1-5 ECAC) was outscored 5-1, and did not score until the weekend’s final period of play.

“We definitely knew going in that it would be a pretty tough weekend,” co-captain Lindsay Holdcroft ’14 said. “Clarkson and St. Lawrence is always tough back-to-back.”

Coming into the weekend, the Big Green looked to build on the momentum of last weekend’s win against Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, its first of the season. Clarkson (8-3-2, 3-2-1 ECAC), however, had other plans. The Golden Knights jumped out to an early lead on in the familiar surroundings of Potsdam, N.Y., lighting the buzzer midway through the first-period. Battling through a tightly-contested second period, Clarkson ultimately iced the game in the third with two markers, running the final score line to 3-0.

“I think going into Clarkson we played pretty well,” Holdcroft said. “We improved on quite a few things, and it was a close game until the end of the third period. Obviously we weren’t satisfied with the turnout, but we did hang with a very good team.”

In only the second shutout of the season, the Big Green struggled to find offensive cohesion, a theme that would be repeated again on Saturday in the first two periods against St. Lawrence (5-7, 4-2 ECAC). Reflecting on the weekend, co-captain Ali Winkel ’14 said one reason for the Big Green’s recent offensive struggles might be a lack of familiarity among different lines.

“Coaches are trying different lines every week, so it’s hard to try and find chemistry,” Winkel said. “Once we find that, goals will start coming. We just have to get things going.”

Remaining in New York, the Big Green hoped to rebound against St. Lawrence on Saturday, to no avail. Having lost six of its last seven contests against the Saints, Dartmouth failed to buck the historical trend, dropping the matchup 4-1, with the lone goal coming from Mackenzie St. Onge ’17, who found the net for the first time in her collegiate career.

Although St. Lawrence found the net four times, the Big Green saw a significant contribution from another freshman, Robyn Chemago ’17, who started in goal for only the second time in her college career. In an impressive performance, Chemago knocked away 31 shots, but ran her record for the season to 0-2.

Following the weekend’s results, the Big Green remained near the bottom of the ECAC standings, in a tie for eighth with Union College and Colgate University. In the Ivy League, the Big Green remain tied for last with Brown University and Yale University. Even with this rough start to the season, however, the Big Green has identified several early-season strengths. In particular, the women have excelled against the power play, killing all nine of Clarkson’s opportunities this weekend.

“The special teams this year have been huge,” Holdcroft said. “I think we’re really working hard blocking shots, having our sticks in the passing lanes, and focusing on being on the same page. It’s been awesome.”

On a team with seven juniors and seniors, upperclassmen have worked hard to help maintain a positive attitude among younger players.

“We’re definitely not satisfied with being in the losing column right now, and the upperclassmen are using their experience to help us,” Devin Moir ’17 said. “Their experience has been really useful.”

Next weekend, the Big Green return home to Hanover for games against Colgate (3-9, 1-5 ECAC) and Cornell University, both of which notched at least one win in ECAC play this weekend. Attempting to turn its season around, the Big Green will focus on thinking positively and building on small victories, Holdcroft said.

“I think the big thing is not to get too down,” she said. “We need to focus on the things we need to work on, but keep in mind the things we’ve been doing well and are getting better at.”

The teams return home next weekend to face Colgate University on Friday and No. 3 Cornell University on Saturday at Thompson Arena.