Yale vs. Air Force: Keys to the Game

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Photo by Max de la Bruyere.

Play 60 minutes

Two periods into the last game between Yale and Air Force, the Elis looked like they were coasting to the win. They had shut the Falcons out for 40 minutes and taken a commanding 3–0 lead. Then Yale collapsed. Air Force scored four times in the final stanza and hung on for a shocking 4–3 victory. It would be easy to blame Yale’s first loss of the season on thin Colorado air or early season rust, except that the Elis have played similarly uneven games throughout the season. In a January loss to Brown, they let a 2–1 lead slip out of their fingers when the Bears scored two late third period goals. On March 11, they gave up a 3–1 third period advantage to a mediocre St. Lawrence team and lost in overtime. Third period collapses aren’t the only evidence of Yale’s propensity to disappear for periods at a time — the team is often slow coming out of the gate. In three of their past five wins, the Elis have been tied at the end of 20 minutes.

Watch out for Jacques

The Air Force offense scores at the seventh-best clip in the nation, and no component of it is more important than captain Jacques Lamoureux. The smooth-skating center leads the team with 24 goals and 20 assists this season, but he has been especially important in the clutch. Lamoureux has lit the lamp five times and added two assists in his team’s four playoff games so far. At no point recently has his presence been more important to the Falcons than in the Atlantic Hockey championship game. With a berth in the NCAA Tournament on the line, Lamoureux scored the only goal of Air Force’s 1–0 nailbiter.

Pass, pass, pass

When it’s clicking, Yale’s offense is nearly impossible to stop. The team lit up Cornell for six goals in the ECAC Championship game. The Elis boast two lines of superb talent: when the top trio of Brian O’Neill ’12, Andrew Miller ’13 and Chris Cahill ’11 go cold, Broc Little ’11, Kevin Limbert ’12 and Denny Kearney ’11 pick up the slack. But when both lines go cold, things get ugly. In some of Yale’s lower-scoring efforts, including a 1–1 tie against last-place Colgate in late February, the big guns stopped passing. The Elis might be one of the quickest teams in the country, but one skater can’t take on a whole defense on his own. Yale played like a team in the ECAC playoffs, and must continue to do so this weekend.

Let Ryan play his game

Ryan Rondeau ’11 has not allowed a goal in more than three games. He has the lowest goals against average in the country. Enough said.

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