M. HOCKEY | Defensive struggle

Different setting, same result.

The No. 10 Yale men’s hockey team (5–3–2, 2–1–2 ECAC) fell 1–0 to the No. 19 Catamounts (6–5–1) at Vermont last night in a rematch of last year’s NCAA Tournament East Regional semifinals, which saw Vermont defeat the Bulldogs, 4–1, in Bridgeport, Conn.

Monday’s loss ended the Elis’ three-game winning streak, as their offense — which had averaged seven goals in each of the past three games — was shut-out for the first time this season. Yale was shut-out twice all of last season.

“It was a heck of a hockey game,” head coach Keith Allain ’80 said. “We played really well. We didn’t execute as well as I’d like on offense.”

The Bulldogs had struggled with goaltending during last year’s contest. Both teams had 26 shots on goal but goaltender Alec Richards ’09 struggled in front of the net, letting in four shots.

But goaltending was not at fault in Burlington, Vt.

Jeff Malcolm ’13 had one of the best performances of any Eli netminder this season, stopping all but one of the Catamounts’ 27 shots. But that was enough to make the difference.

The game’s lone goal came with about five minutes left in the second period, but not without its fair share of controversy.

During a pile-up in front of the Yale goal, Vermont forward David Pacan’s shot crossed the line right before the net became dislodged. A referee blew the whistle and signaled no goal, but upon reviewing the replay, signaled that it was, in fact, a score.

But the Bulldogs claim that the puck did not cross the line until after the net had been dislodged.

“There was a scramble in front and a shot hit the crossbar and dropped,” forward Josh Balch ’13 said. “I grabbed it. If it went over the line, it was after the net had been moved.”

Malcolm added, “There was a crossing pass and then I made a save. [Pacan] flipped up the rebound and it went behind me. I think Balch caught it and threw it under me.”

Besides the goal, the two teams played a largely even contest, with the Bulldogs recording 26 shots on goal and with the Catamounts having 27 shots on goal.

Each team had six power plays, but neither was able to benefit from the man-advantage.

Malcolm was pulled with 43 seconds left, but forward Broc Little’s ’11 shot after a face-off in Vermont’s zone sailed over the glass after bouncing off of an Eli. The away squad was unable to get another look on goal before time expired.

Little led the team with five shots on target.

It was Malcolm’s second start in his collegiate career. The Bulldogs have been juggling between Malcolm, Ryan Rondeau ’11, and Nick Maricic ’13 this season.

Despite the disappointing loss, Allain said he was impressed with Malcolm’s performance.

“It’s tough to pitch a shutout and lose,” he said. “Jeff looked confident, he came out on top of the crease. This was a great test for a young goalie and I thought he came out with flying colors.”

Because the game was a non-league contest, the Bulldogs remain tied for fourth place in the ECAC standings.

Yale returns to league play this weekend at Ingalls Rink in what looks to be two hotly contested games against No. 4 Quinnipiac on Friday night and Princeton on Saturday afternoon.

Quinnipiac is in first place in the ECAC and will be another early season test for the Elis, who have thus far had mixed results against highly ranked opponents. The Bulldogs earlier defeated then-third ranked Cornell, but have since lost to then-11th ranked Massachusetts and Vermont.

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