With 34 seconds left on the clock in Saturday’s game against No. 11 Dartmouth, men’s hockey captain Andrew Miller ’13 got a hold of the puck in the defensive zone and sent it sailing down the ice into the Big Green’s empty net, securing the night’s 4–2 win and the weekend’s Ivy sweep.
The No. 12 Bulldogs (11–4–3, 7–3–1 ECAC) dominated their first conference home weekend of 2013 against two of their biggest Ivy rivals. The Elis beat Harvard (5–10–1, 3–8–0 ECAC) 4–0 on Friday night and Dartmouth on Saturday, extending their team’s winning streak to four straight games. Yale moved up from fourth to second place in the ECAC with 15 points, behind Quinnipiac and just ahead of Dartmouth (10–6–2, 6–4–1 ECAC) with 13 points.
“It’s a huge sweep for us,” head coach Keith Allain ’80 said. “They are both great teams.”
In front of sell-out crowds, the Bulldogs managed to take an early lead and maintain it in both games. With this weekend’s victories, Yale won its two conference games of the season against Harvard and earned payback for a 7–4 loss to Dartmouth on Nov. 2 and a 2–2 tie on Oct. 26.
Friday night brought Yale’s first shutout of the season — and there was no better way to earn it than against long-standing rival Harvard. Miller and forward Antoine Laganiere ’13 set the pace early for the Bulldogs with a pair of goals in the first period. But it was Trent Ruffolo ’15 who stole the show with a career–high two goals, one each in the second and third periods, in only his fifth game back after a shoulder injury sidelined him for a month.
“My line mates did a great job tonight,” Ruffolo said. “I thought we moved the puck well and forced pressure on their defensemen. The whole team established physical play from the beginning, wore their defense down and forced them to create turnovers.”
In the second period, the Crimson had a prime opportunity to score when Laganiere and Colin Dueck ’13 took penalties in quick succession, giving Harvard a five-on-three advantage for over a minute. But Yale’s penalty kill allowed only one shot in that time frame, and Harvard came away empty-handed.
The Bulldogs outshot the Crimson by a margin of 39–21, and goalie Jeff Malcolm ’13 played well, bolstered by a strong defense.
“Malcolm was out in the top of the crease and aggressive in his posture,” Allain said. “You could tell it was going to be a tough night for them to score.”
Yale took a early lead again in Saturday night’s game, but the nearly evenly ranked teams battled to the last minute. Tommy Fallen ’15 and Laganiere scored in the first and second periods to give Yale a comfortable two-point lead, but Dartmouth got on the board in the last minute of the second period to pull within one. Jesse Root ’14 scored two minutes into the third period, and Dartmouth responded with a goal at 12:38, setting the score at 3–2. The Big Green pushed to make up their one-goal deficit, but gave Miller the opportunity for the empty-netter when they pulled their goalie for an extra man in the final minutes.
Yale had only two power plays throughout the entire game, but Laganiere and Root managed to capitalize on both of them. This was particularly remarkable against Dartmouth, which has the second-most effective penalty kill in the country. The Big Green had let in only four goals on 64 penalties before Saturday’s game.
“Dartmouth kills a ridiculous number of penalties, so scoring two power-play goals was really big for us,” Allain said.
Yale’s power play is sixth in the nation, as the team has capitalized on 21 of 91 for a 23.1 percent efficiency.
Dartmouth barely outshot Yale 29–27, and Malcolm stopped 27 of those shots.
“Dartmouth’s a really good team, and that was a huge task for us,” Root said. “It doesn’t sit well with us that we lost 7–4 to them. We battled hard for 60 minutes, and that was the key tonight. If we let up at all, it could have easily gone the other way.”
Next weekend, the Bulldogs will travel to take on No. 16 Cornell (8–7–2, 4–4–2 ECAC) and No. 20 Colgate (11–9–2, 3–6–1 ECAC) for the first time this season.