March 15th, 2014 | Sports

HOCKEY|Elis on brink of elimination

After a crushing 6–2 loss at No. 6 Quinnipiac on Friday night, the Yale men’s hockey team finds itself down to its last chance at making the NCAA tournament.

The Bulldogs (17–10–5, 10–8–3 ECAC) must win tonight and Sunday night in order to advance to the next round of the ECAC tournament and keep their national championship dreams alive.

But the quarterfinal series against the Bobcats (23–8–6, 12–6–4) got off to an inauspicious start when Quinnipiac defenseman Connor Clifton put QU on the board just 5:10 into the first period.

The second period, however, was where things really unraveled for the Elis. Two bad passes were intercepted and converted into goals for the Bobcats, and a penalty on defenseman Rob O’Gara ’16 led to a power play goal to make it 4–0 Quinnipiac.

Defenseman Ryan Obuchowski ’16 finally scored Yale’s first goal with 3:21 left in the second period, and forward John Hayden ’17 added another power play goal 2:19 into the third. But a goaltender switch from Alex Lyon ’17 to Patrick Spano ’17 failed to make a difference, as the Bobcats scored twice in a 2:52 span to extend the lead to 6–2, where it would stay.

A loss in either tonight’s game or Sunday’s game, which will only be played if the Bulldogs win tonight, would eliminate Yale from the ECAC tournament and likely from any hopes of an at-large bid to the NCAA tournament.

The Elis are currently tied for 17th in the PairWise rankings, which determine the NCAA field. Only 16 teams qualify for the tournament.