Women's ice hockey drops two games to top conference teams

by Jake Philhower | 2/5/18 2:10am

Women’s hockey has faced a tough schedule in the past two weeks, playing both Eastern College Athletic Conference foes and top talent in the country. The team went on a difficult road trip to play two key Ivy League opponents last weekend in Brown University and Yale University.

On Jan. 26, the Big Green faced off against the Bears, who despite their record of 2-19, proved to be a tough matchup for the Big Green as they came out with a strong offensive attack and solid defense, posting two goals and allowing only one shot from Tess Bracken ’19 to find the back of the net in the first two periods.

The Big Green responded well in the third period however as Bracken proceeded to put on a show, netting two goals, including the game-winning goal with only 45 seconds remaining in regulation. Brown was unable to find an answer for Bracken’s offensive efforts as her first career hat trick proved to be just enough to get the Big Green a vital 3-2 victory in Providence, Rhode Island.

“The game against Brown was actually my first game playing forward,” Bracken said. “It was a bit of a whirlwind. I just tried to get the puck on net and luckily it worked out in my favor, but it was definitely an amazing feeling.”

Though Bracken was able to fill up the box score for the Big Green, she wasn’t alone in putting in the work required to pull out this important win. Several other players had strong performers for Dartmouth. Their efforts went beyond the scorecard but did not go unnoticed by their teammates. Captain Hailey Noronha ’18 noted Christina Rombaut ’20’s performance.

“There was one particular play when we were stuck in our zone for a minute or so and all five skaters were gassed,” Noronha said. “Once the puck was chipped out, [Rombaut] gave it everything she could to challenge the Brown defender to get a whistle to allow everyone to change. That is one single play, but [Rombaut] plays with that kind of edge every time she is on the ice.”

The road trip ended on a bit of a sour note for the Big Green, however, as it suffered a 6-0 loss to Yale in New Haven, Connecticut. The first period featured a fairly competitive matchup between the Ivy League rivals, but a four-goal second period for the Bulldogs proved to be more than enough for a Yale win. The tough loss hurt the Big Green as every ECAC is important for the playoff picture.

At home this weekend, the Big Green women had their work cut out for them as they hosted No. 4 Colgate University and No. 5 Cornell University, Dartmouth’s fifth- and sixth- ranked opponents, respectively, in its last eight games. Dartmouth suffered two losses this weekend to Colgate 5-1 and Cornell 3-1. “For us, those are the games that are the easiest to get motivated for,” Caroline Shaunessy ’19 said after the Cornell game. “We always play better against the better teams and try to have the underdog mentality and knock them off when they aren’t expecting it.”

Though Dartmouth fell to a 5-17-1 record on the season, there were positive takeways from the weekend. The team played a gritty game against one of the nation’s top teams in Cornell and is looking to pick up a few wins this weekend against Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and Union University. These games will determine the fate of this Big Green team as it tries to make headway in the ECAC standings and work toward a playoff berth. The women are in 11th place, ahead of Brown only. To make playoffs, the Big Green will have to finish the regular season ranked within the top eight of the conference.

“I think our team is in a great place going into these games next weekend,” Bracken said. “We played a strong game against Cornell and the games against both Union and RPI are definitely winnable.”

Dartmouth is scheduled to face off against RPI at 6 p.m. at Thompson Arena on Friday as it looks to pick up a crucial win to kick off its Winter Carnival home stand.