The men’s hockey team will face off tonight against the Crimson for the 237th time in the history of Yale hockey.
Coming off a road sweep of St. Lawrence and Clarkson, the No. 12 Bulldogs (9–4–3, 5–3–1 ECAC) will take on Harvard tonight and No. 11 Dartmouth (9–5–2, 5–3–1 ECAC) Saturday night at Ingalls Rink at 7:30 and 7:00 p.m., respectively. The Elis jumped all over Harvard (5–8–1, 3–6 ECAC) in their first meeting this season with a season-high 49 shots on goal, but head coach Keith Allain expects the Crimson to put up a fight.
“They have some really dangerous forwards and some defensemen that like to get involved in the attack,” Allain said.
The Crimson’s top two scorers, forwards Alex Fallstrom and Tommy O’Regan, have each put up 10 points this season while senior defenseman and preliminary Hobey Baker contender Danny Biega has registered six points for the Crimson.
Forwards Kenny Agostino ’14, Antoine Laganiere ’13 and captain Andrew Miller ’13, the Bulldogs’ own Hobey Baker candidates, have registered 21, 18 and 17 points, respectively, so far this year. The Elis have also recently found point production from forward Nico Weberg ’15, who has a goal and two assists in his last two games.
“I think Nico has taken a huge step forward,” Allain said. “We want him to be a top-two line guy and right now, he’s showing why he should be.”
Despite the fierce rivalry ingrained in the mind of every Yalie and Cantab, the team aims to take a composed approach to this weekend’s game.
“We can’t really play with our emotions,” Agostino said. “We just have to stick to what helps us be a good hockey team.”
The balance they hope to bring to the Harvard game should serve the Bulldogs well in a matchup against the No. 11 Big Green the following night.
After managing only one point in their two matchups against Dartmouth this season, the Elis are looking to best the team ranked one spot above them in their second high-profile conference home game in two nights.
“Dartmouth is a big, strong team that is good in the corners,” forward Jesse Root ’14 said.
Allain added that the Big Green are “tenacious defensively” and have solid goaltending.
Yale is thankful to have both Root and Trent Ruffolo ’15, two of their top forwards, back in the lineup in anticipation of this weekend’s games.
“Take any team in college hockey. If you take two of their top six forwards out of the lineup, you are going to have to ask guys to do things that they’re not regularly doing,” Allain said. “I think we’re a better team with those two guys back in the lineup.”
While tickets quickly sold out to Harvard’s Friday night matchup and tickets to Saturday night’s game against the Big Green are selling fast, the Bullodgs are committed to treating this weekend’s games the same as any other.
“It doesn’t really matter who you play in the end,” Laganiere said. “It’s more fun, the fan turnout will be great, and there will be a lot of excitement around the rink.”
NBC will be covering the puck drop at 7:30 p.m. tonight at Ingalls Rink.