After a rocky road trip against No. 13 Clarkson and St. Lawrence, the No. 10 Yale men’s ice hockey team aims to right the ship with a pair of games against Brown this weekend.
The Bulldogs (9–4–4, 4–3–3 ECAC) fell 3–2 to Clarkson last Friday after scrounging up just 19 shots, the fewest the Elis have registered all season. But they rebounded to topple the Saints 4–2 last Saturday due mainly to three first period goals.
“It was an inconsistent weekend,” head coach Keith Allain ’80 said. “I didn’t think we were very good on Friday night and I thought we were very good on Saturday night. We’ve got to find a way to compete for six periods the way we competed for three [last weekend].”
Forward John Hayden ’17 was a bright spot in the game against the Golden Knights and the Saints, tallying a pair of goals against St. Lawrence and an assist in each match.
Hayden, however, is far from the only freshman contributing for the Elis. Forward Mike Doherty ’17 is third on the team in points with 11, and forwards Chris Izmirlian ’17 and Frankie DiChiara ’17 have played significant minutes on the ice. Goaltender Alex Lyon ’17, meanwhile, has started 14 of Yale’s 17 games and posted a .919 save percentage.
“As a group, they’ve done a great job,” Allain said. “These guys came in ready to work and they’ve been a big addition to our team … We feel very strongly that they’re just scratching the surface.”
Hayden credited the older players on the team with doing a great job of keeping the energy positive in the locker room.
If Yale wishes to remain among the elite ECAC teams, they need a good showing against Brown (7–7–3, 4–5–1), which lurks just two points behind the Bulldogs in the standings.
In the teams’ first matchup, which was a non-conference season opener for both squads, Yale fell 4–1 after yielding three third period goals. However, both teams are markedly different from what they were that first game: Brown has switched goalies, with freshman Tyler Steel taking the reins, and Yale has changed around the personnel on its lines.
“Our structure offensively and defensively is different, and Brown’s will be as well,” Allain said. “I would expect our compete level to be a little different than it was that Friday afternoon.”
The Bears are led by forward Matt Lorito, who finished second in the conference in goals last year with 22, but two sophomores have also made major contributions on the ice. Forwards Nick Lappin and Mark Naclerio each rank among the top 15 in the conference in points, shoring up a Brown attack that has still been fairly toothless, ranking just eighth in the ECAC at 2.60 goals per game.
Yale may be without two of its top skaters against the Bears. Forwards Carson Cooper ’16 and Doherty both recently suffered injuries, with Cooper missing both games last weekend and Doherty missing Saturday’s contest against St. Lawrence. Allain said neither player practiced Wednesday.
No matter who is healthy, Hayden said that the Elis will need to channel their play from the game against St. Lawrence in order to win.
“Our mentality is … to give every game a lot of intensity and come into every period with that same amount of intensity,” Hayden said. “If we bring that same energy here, we’ll have a lot of success.”
Yale plays in Providence on Friday night at 7:05 and returns home to Ingalls on Saturday evening, where the puck will drop at 7:00.