When a team is mired in a slump, nothing goes its way; losing becomes common and winning rare.
Having dropped seven of their last eight games and five straight, the men’s ice hockey team, which starts postseason play this coming weekend, simply needs to get the taste of winning back into its mouth. Such a slide is not alien to the Bulldogs, who opened the season 1-6.
“This is the second time this year we have hit rock bottom,” forward Christian Jensen ’06 said. “Last time it kicked off a great win streak and we can only hope that it happens again. We are right now as terrible as we were then, hopefully it’s just a flukey thing and we can bounce back like we did last time.”
After a rocky start, the Elis went 10-4 thanks to a mid-season tear. Yale begins the ECAC playoffs next weekend and if the team can turn this slump into a similar winning streak, it could be a contender for the title.
However, this weekend, in two losses to Union and RPI, it was apparent that the Bulldogs are stuck in a deep slump. Yale surrendered nine goals, while only netting one against two teams it had defeated earlier this season.
Less than a month ago against Harvard, the Elis were riding a six game winning streak and it appeared they would extend that to seven, as they took a 5-2 lead into the third period. Things turned for the worse and Yale gave up five straight goals to lose 7-5 in the Feb. 6 contest.
Since then, the Bulldogs, who closed out the regular season seventh in the ECAC, proved themselves 3-1 against a Colgate squad that finished with the best record in the conference. Yale also played well in a 2-1 loss to Cornell, the ECAC’s second best squad.
Otherwise, the month of February has been rough for the Bulldogs, who have been outscored 33 to 16 and unable to regain their scoring touch.
“It’s a little disappointing, but we have to move on from here,” captain Vin Hellemeyer ’04 said.
The Bulldogs will be looking to turn things around in the best-of-three series against St. Lawrence in the first round of the ECAC playoffs.
“Early in the season, we had a nice win against Princeton and the road sweep of Union and RPI and we had a little momentum built up,” head coach Tim Taylor said. “Obviously a playoff series win could accomplish the same thing for us.”
Yale has faced St. Lawrence twice already this season. Both games came right down to the wire and, in the end, the Bulldogs captured one-goal victories, one of which came in overtime. The Elis must continue their success against the Saints in order to revive themselves from their current skid and continue their season.
“We have had a tough little stretch here, there is no doubt about that,” Taylor said. “I don’t think there are too many teams in the league that haven’t had there ups and downs but unfortunately we have had our real low ebb here the last couple of weeks. We are looking forward to getting back on our feet with a good week of practice, and take on whoever comes in our building Friday night.”