MEN’S ICE HOCKEY: Fast start saves two points for Elis

Photo by Henry Ehrenberg.

A disappointing 3–2 loss on Friday against Clarkson was quickly discarded by the Yale men’s ice hockey team, which scored three first period goals en route to a 4–2 victory over St. Lawrence on Saturday.

With the win, the Bulldogs salvaged two points for the weekend, crucial if the Elis (9–4–4, 4–3–3 ECAC) wish to remain in the conference title hunt. Archrival Quinnipiac (18–4–5, 8–2–3) leads the league with 19 points, but the Bulldogs are within striking distance at 11 points, having played three fewer conference games.

“After losing like that, we were definitely more prepared for the next night,” goaltender Alex Lyon ’17 said. “It fueled the fire a little bit.”

The Bulldogs beat No. 14 Clarkson (15–7–2, 8–2–0) in their first matchup of the season back on Nov. 2. In that game, Yale jumped out to a 4–1 lead and withstood two late goals by the Golden Knights to win 6–3.

But the Elis failed to match that offensive outburst this past Friday, registering a season-low 19 shots and scoring just twice. Lyon made 32 saves, but a disallowed goal in the third period for the Bulldogs proved consequential.

“We came out ready to play the first game [in November] and far from that in our second contest, and it showed,” defenseman Rob O’Gara ’16 said in an email to the News.

That slow start against Clarkson was all but wiped away the following night against St. Lawrence (8–12–2, 2–6–2), as the Bulldogs jumped out to an early 3–0 lead. A pair of power play goals courtesy of defenseman Matt Killian ’15 and captain Jesse Root ’14 set the tone, and forward John Hayden ’17 redirected a shot from Root into the net to stretch the Bulldogs’ lead to three goals with 4:41 left in the first frame.

After allowing three goals on 17 shots, the Saints switched goaltenders to start the second period. But just 21 seconds into Tyler Parks’ time on the ice, Yale struck again, with forward Kenny Agostino ’14 finding Hayden for his second goal of the game.

“We honestly had something to prove after the Clarkson game,” Hayden said. “Against St. Lawrence, we came out, stuck to our system and worked hard.”

Lyon credited the fast start with helping to give him confidence for the rest of the night.

The Eli defense did a great job neutralizing Saints stars Matt and Greg Carey. Both came into the game in the top-5 in the conference in points, with older brother Greg standing second in the country with 40 points. Against Yale, however, St. Lawrence failed to score until the third period, and Greg could not find the back of the net at all.

Though the offense played a big role in picking up two points against St. Lawrence, Lyon was a central figure in that game as well as in the Clarkson match.

“Alex has been awesome in net,” O’Gara said. “He makes big saves when we need them and allows us to be in every game we play in. It’s definitely a confidence boost as a defenseman having someone behind you more than capable of bailing you out every now and then.”

Yale hopes to avenge an early season loss against Brown this week, traveling to Providence on Friday and hosting the Bears at Ingalls Rink on Saturday.

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