The Yale men’s hockey team fell in a 3–1 defeat to Providence on Tuesday, its first loss of the New Year after two consecutive wins. The Bulldogs seized an early lead just over a minute into the game, but the Friars fought back and converted three times to deny Yale a clean sweep of its non-conference games this week.
The Elis (6–7–2, 2–5–1 ECAC Hockey) entered the game after one of their best performances of the season, a 4–2 victory over UConn. The matchup against Providence (9–7–4, 1–5–2 Hockey East) tested Yale against a third team from the tough Hockey East conference and provided a clash of two of the four most recent national champions. The Bulldogs hoisted the trophy in 2013, and the Friars followed two years later in 2015. However, the Elis failed to reach the heights they scaled against UConn and Northeastern, and an inconsistent display against Providence doomed them to a demoralizing defeat.
Yale could not have scripted a better opening to the game, as captain and forward John Hayden ’17 slotted home his team-leading 12th goal of the season. With just 1:33 elapsed in the contest, forward Frank DiChiara ’17 deflected a rocket from the point off the stick of defender Billy Sweezey ’20, and the ricochet found Hayden who buried the chance.
The early goal proved the high-water mark for Yale offensively as Providence took control of the game. The Friars tied it up midway through the period on the player advantage, as Providence forward Scott Conway beat Yale netminder Patrick Spano ’17 for his fifth power-play goal of the season. Only Spano’s excellence stymied the Friar attack for the remainder of the period and prevented Providence from extending their lead despite outshooting the Bulldogs 14–3.
Providence broke the tie with three minutes to play in the second period and gained an advantage that would hold up, as Freshman forward Josh Wilkins fired his team-leading eighth goal of the year past Spano to put the Friars in front. The Elis mustered just three shots in the period, leaving them with a paltry total of six after two periods that paled in comparison to the 26 efforts with which Providence peppered Spano.
The Friars doubled their advantage 5:09 into the third period, but the Bulldogs earned a golden opportunity to claw back into the game just moments later. The official ejected Providence forward Brandon Duhaime for a dangerous check from behind just 12 seconds into a Friar power play after a slash on DiChiara. The subsequent five-minute major combined with the unsportsmanlike conduct on the Providence bench gave the Yale offense an opportunity for redemption to erase the futility of the first two periods, but its barren run continued to a 3–1 final.
After outshooting UConn 41–15 on Saturday, the Elis were outshot 36–14 in a painful role reversal and came up empty in five power-play opportunities. With two difficult league games coming up this weekend in the duo of Clarkson and No. 16 St. Lawrence, the latter of whom defeated Yale 5–2 earlier in the season, the Bulldogs will look to get back to work and put its nonconference loss behind them.
Play against Clarkson is set to begin on Friday at 7 p.m. at Ingalls Rink.