M. HOCKEY | Bulldogs looking to stay atop ECAC

Forward Denny Kearney ’11 shields the puck from a Dartmouth defender on Feb. 5.
Forward Denny Kearney ’11 shields the puck from a Dartmouth defender on Feb. 5. Photo by R.J. Rico.

Tied for first place in the ECAC, and ranked eighth in USCHO.com’s PairWise rankings — a good indicator of which teams will make the 16-team NCAA Tournament — the No. 5 men’s hockey team finds itself in a strong position with four games left in the regular season.

Now all they have to do is stay there.

The Bulldogs (16–6–3, 12–4–2 ECAC) will hold their final homestand of the regular season this weekend as they take on fourth-place St. Lawrence (14–11–6, 8–6–4) tonight and last-place Clarkson (7–20–3, 3–13–2) on Saturday afternoon.

Riding a four-game winning streak after a dramatic 2–1 overtime win at No. 5 Cornell, forward Broc Little ’11 said that the Elis are at the top of their game right now.

“We’re playing the best we have all season,” said Little, Yale’s leading goal scorer. “We’re confident and we’ve shown that in our last couple of games.”

Little said much of the team’s success has come from its ability to out-shoot its opponents by a wide margin. Over the past four games, the Bulldogs have averaged 23.75 more shots per game than their opponents.

But Yale is going to need more than an explosive offense against the Saints tonight. Even though the Elis out-shot the Saints 42–29 on Jan. 23, St. Lawrence defeated Yale, 4–2, after taking a 2–0 lead in the first period. St. Lawrence got two goals past goaltenders Jeff Malcolm ’13 and Nick Maricic ’13 each. Over the past two seasons, Yale is 1–2–1 against the Saints.

“We’ve had some trouble with them the past couple of years,” Little said. “They play an up-tempo game and caught us back on our heels [last month]. We’re going to try to take the play to them and stay in control from the start.”

Since the defeat, though, the Bulldogs have put in goaltender Billy Blase ’10, who is 5–0–0 and leads the team with a .922 save percentage and 1.79 goals allowed average.

Whereas Yale is riding a hot streak, the Saints are currently on a 0–2–2 slide that includes a 5–0 shut-out loss against seventh-place Quinnipiac.

Although they are still in last place by three points, Clarkson defeated both Princeton and Quinnipiac last week, ending their eight-game losing streak.

Last month the Bulldogs defeated the Golden Knights 3–2 in a game that was tied 1–1 midway through the second period until defenseman Jimmy Martin ’11 gave Yale the go-ahead goal at 10:13.

The Elis are 8–2–1 at Ingalls Rink so far this year.

Tonight’s game against the Saints begins at 7 p.m. Saturday’s contest against Clarkson starts at 4 p.m. Both games can be heard on WYBC AM-1340 or wybc.com.

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