After being forced to watch Friday night’s game from the stands, four members of the men’s hockey team made up for lost time Saturday.
Fueled by the return of key players from a one-game suspension, the Bulldogs (1-2-0, 1-1-0 ECAC) routed Colgate (4-4-1, 1-1-0) 6-1 after being on the other side of a lopsided 2-6 loss to Cornell (3-0-0, 2-0-0) the night before.
The four players combined for eight points in the win, with three of them scoring goals. Chris Higgins ’05, forward Nick Deschenes ’03, Evan Wax ’03 and Stacey Bauman ’03 were suspended for fighting the North Dakotans the week before.
“It was really hard to watch Friday from the stands as the team lost, and it makes you want to go out and help the team win the next night,” right wing Evan Wax ’03 said.
Halfway through the first period, the Elis opened scoring when Deschenes threaded a pass to a waiting Higgins, who easily tipped the puck past Raider goalie Steve Silverthorn.
Less than forty seconds later, rookie forward Christian Jensen ’06 tallied his second goal of the season on a wraparound shot that would eventually prove to be the game-winner.
Two minutes into the second period, Wax redirected a centering pass from forward Ryan Steeves ’04 to increase Yale’s lead to three. But with less than a minute remaining in the period, Colgate broke goalie Pete Cohen’s ’05 shutout bid when Adam Mitchell scored on a power play goal.
Both teams received seven penalties. But Yale only was able to capitalize on one of their man-up opportunities.
“We still need to work on our power play,” said Higgins. “It is extremely important to score power play goals as they can shift the momentum of a game in our favor.”
The third period saw complete Bulldog dominance.
Deschenes’ slap shot score came just three minutes into the period, triggering Silverthorn’s removal. The Colgate sophomore goalie had a tough day in net, giving up four goals on just 18 Bulldog shots.
Empty-net goals by Higgins and Joe Zappala ’06, sealed the decisive victory.
“The game was a lot closer then the score indicated,” Wax said. “Still, I thought our team played real well, especially in the first half of the game. We came out real hard and ready to play, and everyone seemed to have good jump in their legs.”
Friday night, things did not go quite as smoothly for the depleted Bulldogs. Without Higgins, Wax, Deschenes and Bauman, Yale was forced to dress eight freshman against a Cornell team that has been predicted to win the ECAC title by most sports media groups.
“We knew that it was going to be extra difficult to beat them, especially at their own rink,” captain Denis Nam ’03 said. “But I think that we played with a lot of heart, and that the eight freshmen who played in that game — for some of those guys, it was their first game ever — all gained a huge amount of experience just from playing one game.”
After holding the Big Red scoreless for the majority of the first period, Yale gave up the first of six goals with four minutes left in the period. Forward Shane Palahicky beat Eli goalie Pete Dobrowlski ’04 to make the score 1-0, and minutes later defenseman Jeremy Downs did the same.
By that point, Cornell simply continued to wear down Yale with its deeper bench and deep offensive pressure. While the Big Red only managed one goal in the second period, a power play shot from winger Sam Paolini, they were able to light the lamp three more times in the third period.
Yale managed two third-period goals, twice narrowing Cornell’s lead to three. At 5:23 into the stanza, forward Vin Hellemeyer ’04 buried a rebound past Cornell’s Dave LeNeveu to narrow the Big Red lead to 4-1, and with just over a minute remaining in the game rookie Nate Jackson ’06 deflected the puck off LeNeveu’s back and into the goal to bring the score to 5-2.
Cornell’s Palahicky, who had opened the scoring, closed the scoring with five seconds on the clock when he drove home a power play goal.
“Cornell is a really hard team to play against because they don’t give up many scoring chances, and they were able to expose some of our weaknesses,” Nam said.
Regardless of the loss, the Elis were able to leave the weekend with a win and two points in the ECAC because of their cohesive effort on Saturday and with the help of returning players.