The women’s hockey team (10-8-3, NESCAC 4-7-3) scored a 5-4 victory against Connecticut College (14-4-4, NESCAC 9-2-3) last weekend. Prior to facing the Polar Bears, the Camels were ranked No. 2 in the league and had only suffered one conference loss against No. 1 Middlebury. The Polar Bears’ momentum was broken on Tuesday after the team lost to Endicott (17-4-2) in its first non-conference loss this season.
“I feel like [Connecticut College] was a huge win for us,” said Katie Leininger ’20 in a phone interview with the Orient. “We kind of got into a lull in the middle of the season. I think we just kept working really hard and pushed through it. I think that we proved to ourselves and to other teams coming into playoffs that we are definitely a threat this season.”
Despite the win, the team’s celebration was cut short due to its loss against Endicott on Tuesday.
“Endicott was our first non-conference loss. It was pretty frustrating. We just dropped the ball,” said captain Jill Rathke ’18. “We didn’t really show up ready to play, and there are no good excuses for it. I think we’re just trying to forget about it, move on and look towards the weekend.”
To Rathke, the team’s loss against Endicott is an outlier in an otherwise good week. Moving forward, the team will work on improving technique and prioritizing scoring early in the game.
“I think that a challenge for us is to start strong,” said Rathke. “That was a goal for us last night, and we didn’t, and then we ended up losing. And I think that, whoever gets the first goal gets the momentum.”
The players are optimistic coming into the weekend, but understand that they face some key challenges.
“During the middle of season, we had some trouble scoring, and we kind of dealt with that and we’re now scoring. I think especially this weekend, that getting a lot of goals will be very important in boosting our confidence,” said Rathke. “We’ve also had trouble breaking it out, like breaking the puck out of our zone and getting out of our zone quickly and cleanly. These things help us build momentum going into the game and will also help us control the game.”
Working on these skills and scoring early will be incredibly useful in the game against Trinity this Saturday and in the NESCAC playoffs next week. The team is focusing on utilizing its strengths to bounce back from Tuesday’s loss.
“I think that we’ve been as a whole faster than the other teams. When we work hard and use our bodies, we can be faster and stronger than most teams,” said Rathke. “I think that we’ve mixed around the lines a lot, and so no matter who’s out with who there’s good chemistry between anybody. I think there’s a strong and good flexibility on our team.”
While the team is looking ahead to playoffs, right now the players are focused on taking it one step at a time and executing on the ice.
“Actions speak louder than words, and right now we just have to follow through,” said Rathke.
The Polar Bears will face the Trinity College Bantams at home today at 7 p.m. and tomorrow at 3 p.m.