Last Friday night, the Yale men’s hockey team (16–10–3, 12–9–1 ECAC) was tied 3–3 with Colgate at the end of the regular 60 minutes of play and faced a five-minute overtime period for the seventh time this season. With two and a half seconds left in the extra frame, forward Josh Balch ’13 tipped the puck past the Raiders’ goalie, maintaining the Bulldogs’ undefeated record in overtime play for the 2012–’13 season.
“I think our success in overtime this season is certainly a testament to the character and will of our team,” forward Kenny Agostino ’14 said. “There is never a feeling of doubt during overtime amongst any of the guys. We have confidence in our goalie and confidence in each other that we can always find a way to get the job done.”
This season, Yale tied Dartmouth and Boston and beat Colorado College and Denver in overtime in nonconference games. The team has also had success within the ECAC conference, tying Union and beating Cornell and Colgate in games which extended beyond the usual 60 minutes.
Team captain Andrew Miller ’13 said that the team has worked hard for a year with trainer Joe Maher, which has helped it push hard through to the end of games. Miller added that the team focuses on maintaining its best effort in the third period of games.
“When we play in overtime, I think the key is to stick to the game plan as much as possible,” forward Antoine Laganiere ’13 said. “We need to stay consistent in our individual and team play so everyone knows what to expect of their teammates.”
This will be crucial for the Bulldogs as they start postseason play in the ECAC quarterfinals. After securing a first-round bye last weekend, Yale will face off next on March 15 at Ingalls Rink.
Agostino said that the team’s competitive mindset and experience in overtime will help it through the playoffs, as “you could expect every game to be a battle.”
“Many times, playoff games will be close and we must not allow the nervousness to set in,” Laganiere said. “The way to accomplish is by adhering to the plan, set from the beginning. It is the best way, in my opinion, to ensure victory.”
The first round of ECAC playoffs will start this Friday, pitting Cornell against Princeton, Clarkson against Brown, Colgate against St. Lawrence, and Harvard against Dartmouth. Quinnipiac, RPI, Yale and Union are ranked top in the league and will bypass the first round.