M. HOCKEY | Elis play two close ones in Hanover

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Photo by Joy Shan.

The hockey team debuted a new look at the Ivy League Shootout this weekend. The Bulldogs played low-scoring games behind a tough defense resulting in an undefeated opening weekend.

After outscoring opponents, 14–7, in last season’s Ivy League Shootout, the Bulldogs (1–0–1, 1–0–1 ECAC) held only a 4–3 advantage this season after a 2–2 tie with Princeton and a 2–1 victory over Dartmouth.

After graduating nine seniors, the Bulldogs are getting used to playing with new personnel.

“The group we lost last year was a great bunch of guys both talent and leadership wise,” goalie Jeff Malcolm ’13 said in an email to the News. “I think our guys this year have done a really good job stepping up into those roles.”

After trailing by a goal halfway through the game, Princeton tied the match with less than a minute left in a four-goal second period and held off a relentless Yale attack in overtime for the tie.

The Tigers frustrated the Bulldogs starting in the first period. The Blue and White peppered Princeton goalie Sean Bonar with 13 shots in the opening frame — the Tigers managed just four against Malcolm — but could not find the back of the net.

Less than five minutes into the second period, the Tigers drew first blood.

Defenseman Mike Sdao took a feed from center Eric Meland and sent a long shot that bounced past Malcolm. Sado also notched a goal against the Elis in a 5–3 loss last season.

But the Tigers’ lead was short-lived. Three minutes later, Nicholas Weberg ’15 deadlocked the game at 1–1 with his first career collegiate goal. Blueliner Colin Dueck ’13 sent the puck across ice to an unguarded Weberg, who then fired a shot from the right circle past the outstretched leg of Bonar. Matt Killian ’15 also recorded his first career assist on the play. The class of 2015 impressed all weekend, adjusting well to the college game.

“It’s usually a bit of a jump from the leagues leading up to college but [the freshmen] seemed to fit in really well this weekend,” Malcolm said in an email to the News. “We have a talented class that came in this year and I think we saw a bit of that this weekend.”

The Bulldogs struck again with less than five minutes left in the second period.

“We worked the puck around the perimeter until Brian [O’Neill ’12] and I had a 2-on-1 on the left side of the net,” Miller said. “The defenseman stepped up to play me so I slid it down to [Brian] on the goal line, and he made a good move to put the puck behind the goalie.”

O’Neill’s goal gave the Bulldogs a 2-1 lead. The senior captain notched a point for the sixth straight game since last March.

However, the Bulldogs could not take advantage of the game’s other four power play opportunities, coming away empty-handed each time.

With just 32 seconds left in the middle frame, the Tigers permanently tied the score up. Forward Rob Kleebaum streaked down the right side and flipped an off-balance backhand shot. The puck flew through the air into the upper left corner of the net.

Princeton outshot the Bulldogs 9–3 in the final period, but Malcolm did not let a single shot past him. The junior goaltender finished with 26 saves in his first regular season start since last November.

While the Elis attacked the net continuously in overtime, Bonar sopped all five shots he faced, finishing with 28 saves.

The last time the Blue and White skated to a tie was on Feb. 25, when Colgate managed a 1–1 draw against the No. 3 Bulldogs at Ingalls Rink.

A similar script unfolded on Saturday against Dartmouth as Yale took a 2–1 lead in the second period. But this time, the Elis hung on to claim their first victory of the season.

The two teams walked off the ice after tying the opening frame at 0–0. However, the Big Green controlled the puck all period, outshooting the Bulldogs 14–5. But Malcolm, in his second consecutive start, held off the Dartmouth onslaught.

“In close games in college hockey there are going to be at least two, maybe more, grade-A scoring chances,” Miller said. “If our goalie can come up and make those saves like Malcolm did, that puts us in an excellent position to win.”

Malcolm came up big again early in the second period. With Gus Young ’14 and Antoine Laganiere ’13 both in the penalty box, Dartmouth had a two-man advantage and seemed poised to jump out to an early lead. But Malcolm and the rest of the Bulldogs killed the penalty to keep the game scoreless. Malcolm said triumphs like these were made possible by the defense in front of him.

“I thought our guys played well defensively in front of me and kept most of their shots to the outside,” Malcolm said. “I thought our guys limited the second and third opportunities and let me see the first shot.”

The momentum shifted midway through the middle frame in favor of the Blue and White, who outshot the home team 14–8.

On a power play, forward Clinton Bourbonais ’14 fired a hard wrist shot toward the net from the top of the circle. Dartmouth goalie James Mello deflected the puck but could not react in time as Laganiere flicked it in for his first goal of the year.

The Bulldogs had an opportunity to extend their lead a few minutes later in a scramble in front of Dartmouth’s net. The puck went in, but the referees called the goal off for goaltender interference.

With 6:08 left on the clock, the Big Green’s Eric Robinson redirected a pass near the red line into center ice and toward a streaking Eric Neiley. The freshman forward launched a rising shot that went over Malcolm’s shoulder, tying the match at 1–1.

However, the Elis’ aggressive attack paid off again just a minute before the second intermission.

Left winger Chad Ziegler ’12 took a pass from fellow forward Charles Brockett ’12 behind the net and skated out in front of the crease before sending the puck past Mello’s left shoulder into the net.

The Bulldogs never gave the Big Green another chance to even the score up, killing two penalties in the third period, including a 6-on-4 situation where Dartmouth pulled Mello off with a minute left.

“Our guys showed great courage with a slow start on the road, having a goal waved off and fighting through the third-period penalty kills,” head coach Keith Allain ’80 said in an interview posted on the Yale athletics website.

The Elis will play their first home games of the conference schedule this weekend with games against Cornell and Colgate on Friday and Saturday nights.

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