Five games into season, the men’s hockey team has yet to find its groove on the offense.
But a suffocating defense gave the Bulldogs (3–1–1, 2–1 ECAC) a 2–0 victory Friday night over the hapless Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (1–9, 0–3), who have dropped their last eight contests. The Engineers generated six power play opportunities but came up empty each time against the stout Elis’ penalty-killing unit, which has allowed just one power play goal so far this year.
The Blue and White offense drew first blood less than two minutes into the game.
Left-winger Josh Balch ’12 stole the puck away from defenseman Pat Koudys in the neutral zone and sped down the left side of the rink toward netminder Bryce Merriam. Balch faked a shot to Merriam’s left before slipping the puck behind the outstretched goalie for his first goal of the year.
But defensive plays dominated the rest of the game as neither team could create good scoring opportunities.
After skating to a stalemate in the opening frame, the Engineers were determined to equalize the score in the second period, outshooting the Bulldogs 13–8. However, netminder Jeff Malcolm ’13 proved too tough for RPI to overcome, blocking every shot he faced. Malcolm finished the game with 27 saves and posted his second consecutive — and second career — shutout.
The Elis’ blueliners stunned RPI’s offensive momentum all game long with relentless back-checking and disruption of the Engineers’ passing lanes. Despite drawing three penalties in the middle frame, the Bulldogs kept the Engineers scoreless through two periods.
With less than two minutes left in the game, the Blue and White struck the final blow.
Less than a minute into Yale’s third power play of the night, forward Kenny Agostino ’14 slipped the puck to a waiting Clint Bourbonais ’14 in front of the net. The sophomore center buried the shot into the back of the night for his second goal of the year.
The Bulldogs will face off against No. 9 Union on Saturday. The Dutchmen were upset by Brown Friday evening, losing 2–1.