ECAC top four within reach

They say good things come to those who wait. And for this, the men’s hockey team has waited long enough.

With back-to-back wins over St. Lawrence and No. 12 Clarkson last weekend, the Bulldogs (12-9-4, 8-6-4 ECAC) ended a seven-game skid against the Golden Knights, earned their first sweep of the season and bested a ranked squad for the first time in over 15 months. They also secured enough points in the ECAC to guarantee a top-eight finish — where they have not placed since 2003-’04 — and home ice in the first round of the conference playoffs.

This weekend, another opportunity awaits the Bulldogs.

Deadlocked in a three-way tie for fifth place in the conference, the Elis will travel north to face Harvard (11-11-3, 9-7-2) and Dartmouth (9-12-4, 4-11-3) in the hopes of cracking into the top four. With just two weekends left in the regular season, the Bulldogs can finish anywhere from second to eighth in the ECAC — standings that will determine which teams earn home ice in the playoffs and which will receive the gift of a first-round bye. It has been five years since Yale finished high enough to earn a bye.

And the upcoming matches provide a perfect opportunity for the Bulldogs if they play the way they did this past weekend against frontrunner Clarkson. In the fall, the Bulldogs gutted out a 3-3 tie against the Crimson, who have enjoyed similar success to Yale this season. And just a few weeks ago, the Elis took care of business against the Big Green, handing them a 6-3 defeat at the Whale.

All three squads have a great deal at stake as they look ahead to the postseason, as Harvard hopes to break out of the same tie that the Elis are in and Dartmouth will be looking to hoist itself out of the basement of the ECAC.

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