At fifth in the nation, the Yale men’s hockey team has certainly earned respect in the rankings. But after a 3–2 loss this week against a losing Harvard team, the Bulldogs are eager to show the game was a fluke when they take the ice at home on Saturday.
For the first time in more than a month, Yale (9–4–3, 5–2–2 ECAC) will return to Ingalls Rink to take on Brown (5–10–1, 3–5-1) on Saturday night.
“The travel day at Harvard kind of hurt us a bit so we’re looking forward to the energy and great support that we always get from our fans at Ingalls,” forward Brian O’Neill ’12 said.
Although Yale is ranked fourth in the ECAC and the Bears are tied for ninth, the Bulldogs have something to prove after their 3–2 loss at Harvard Tuesday. It was only the third victory of the season for the Crimson, who had been floundering in 10th place in the12-team conference.
“I think everyone is going to put in a little extra going into this game,” O’Neill said. “It’s an ECAC game, so all of these games are important, but I think everyone might be playing with a little bit of a chip on their shoulder after our game at Harvard.”
In their previous meeting against Brown this season, it took overtime for the Elis to defeat the Bears, 6–5, as Yale squandered a 5–2 lead before regaining momentum down the stretch.
Despite the Harvard loss, the Bulldogs are still hot, going 7–2–1 over the past 10 games. Brown, on the other hand, is on a three-game losing streak after being crushed 9–4 by 11th place Dartmouth last week.
“We took our foot off of the gas in our last game against [Brown], so this time I’m sure our defense will step up,” O’Neill said.
If the Brown goaltenders continue to struggle like they did against the Big Green, it could make for an easy opportunity for the nation’s highest-scoring offense. Yale has outshot their opponents this season by an average of nine shots.
But the Bulldogs learned last week that having a statistical advantage does not guarantee a victory.
Tuesday, the Elis held a 37–22 shots-on-goal advantage over Harvard. But goaltender Jeff Malcolm ’13 allowed three goals in the second period to give the Crimson an insurmountable 3–1 lead.
Head coach Keith Allain ’80 has alternated between two freshmen netminders all season long. Malcolm and Nick Maricic ’13 have started six games each and have nearly identical save percentages (.908 and .909, respectively). But Malcolm has recently been receiving more time in net.
Malcolm has started in five of the last seven games, allowing an average of 2.2 goals per game. Maricic has allowed three goals in the past two games, including a two-goal performance against No. 3 Wisconsin over break.
The Bulldogs are 5–1–1 this year at Ingalls.
Saturday night’s contest is slated for a 7:30 start.