Less than three minutes into Friday night’s home game versus Princeton, men’s hockey starting goalie Jeff Malcolm ’13 was charged in the net and struggled to get up. As teammates helped him off the ice, Nick Maricic ’13, who had not played since Dec. 28, took to the crease, knowing he’d need a strong performance to bring the Bulldogs up from a 1–0 deficit.
And he did just that. Yale (13-6-3, 9-5-1 ECAC) came back from behind to beat Princeton 4–2, with Maricic stopping 20 of 21 shots. The No. 8 Bulldogs started out strong again on Saturday in a highly anticipated match-up against crosstown rival No. 2 Quinnipiac (19-3-4, 12-0-2 ECAC), but they could not maintain their two-point lead and ultimately fell to the Bobcats 6–2.
“As a back up goalie, you know it can happen at any point,” Maricic said. “This late in the year, you don’t want to go in because the only time you’re going in is if something bad happens. You try to focus on one shot at a time and don’t let things snowball.”
Friday’s game started with a bang: the Tigers (7-10-4, 5-6-3 ECAC) got a wrister from the right circle past Malcolm just 20 seconds in. But the Bulldogs responded at 2:59 when Jesse Root ’14 took advantage of the Tigers’ “charging the goalie” penalty, scoring his seventh goal of the season and tying the game early — but not for long. Princeton forward Michael Sdao got one past Maricic at 3:16 and regained the lead for the visiting team.
The excitement of the first three minutes of play settled down and Yale found a rhythm. At 13:39 forward Kenny Agostino ’14 evened the scoreboard with a backhand goal off a rebound shot by defender Tommy Fallen’15.
“They scored on their first two shots and I liked that our guys didn’t get rattled,” head coach Keith Allain ’80 said. “Also, our goalie got hurt early and was out of the game. We just stuck with the plan and were able to break through at the end.”
Allain added that Agostino played one of the best games of his career on Friday and that after the Bulldogs tied the game at 2–2, they took over the momentum and did not relinquish it for the rest of the game.
Clinton Bourbonnais ’14 gave Yale the lead for the first time all night with a goal three minutes into the second period. Princeton pushed hard in the third period, trying to bring the game into overtime at least, but team captain Andrew Miller ’13 secured the Elis’ win with a goal off a rebound at 16:42. The Bulldogs outshot the Tigers 42–22.
On Saturday night, with Malcolm off the roster and Maricic starting in net for the first time since Dec. 1, the Bulldogs took an early 2–0 lead against hockey powerhouse Quinnipiac. The Bobcats took three penalties in the first 10 minutes of play, and Trent Ruffalo ’15 and Stu Wilson ’16 capitalized on two of them.
But the gameplay shifted in favor of Quinnipiac halfway through the first period. Yale took three penalties in the last half of the first period and two in the second, while the Bobcats cleaned up their play. The Bobcats scored a series of six unanswered goals, two in each period. Yale outshot Quinnipiac 13–8 in the first frame, but was ultimately outshot 39–32.
“We had a quick start, but we knew they were a top-ranked team,” Miller said. “They weren’t going to shy away and just lie down.”
Sophomore goalie Connor Wilson ’15 stepped in to relieve Maricic for the third period, but the Elis could not bring down their local rival, which has an 18-game undefeated streak.
Team staff have not disclosed the nature of Malcolm’s injury and it is unclear whether he will play next Saturday, as the Bulldogs travel to Brown (8-9-5, ECAC 4-6-5).
“It’s really hard, I was a goalie myself and I give Maricic a ton of credit,” Allain said. “He hasn’t played a lot but he works extremely hard. I always told him you will get an opportunity, and when you do make sure you’re ready.”
The Bulldogs will play their last home regular season games on March 1 and 2 against Colgate and Cornell, respectively.