The men’s ice hockey team (9-10-0, 7-5-0 ECAC) resumes conference action this weekend, traveling first to St. Lawrence (8-14-4, 4-7-1 ECAC) and then to Clarkson (10-9-5, 5-5-2 ECAC) — two teams the Bulldogs have already toppled at home this season.
After losing a scrimmage to the U.S. Under-18 Team, the Elis are looking to continue their regular season winning streak, which stands at four games.
Less than three weeks ago the St. Lawrence Saints were at Ingalls Rink, where they lost to the Bulldogs 4-3 in overtime. Yale opened the scoring early, as captain Vin Hellemeyer ’04 notched his third goal of the season.
“Every team that we play for the second game is going to be a hard game — they are going to be better than the first time and we are going to have to play better as well,” defenseman Joe Callahan ’05 said.
The Saints scored two unanswered in the second period before Christian Jensen ’06 tied the game early in the third period. St. Lawrence responded just over a minute later to go ahead 3-2.
Just past the midway point of the final period, Hellemeyer netted his second goal of the contest to eventually send the game into overtime. As the seconds ticked away in the extra frame, a tie seemed inevitable, but with just 24.8 remaining, Yale’s leading scorer, Joe Zappala ’06, fired in a slap shot for the victory.
The previous night, Clarkson came to town. The Bulldogs had a 3-1 lead heading into the third, but allowed the Golden Knights back into the game. With only a few minutes left, Clarkson had an open net to score on and the opportunity to knot it up at four, when Eli goalie Josh Gartner ’06 dove across the crease to make an amazing save. The Bulldogs quickly countered with a goal to increase their lead and then added an empty-netter to claim a 6-3 victory.
Though Yale won the game by a three-goal margin, Clarkson came inches away from tying it. Head coach Tim Taylor said he would have liked to see his team put the game away and not let the opposition creep back in.
“Going into the third period with a two goal lead, we have to work on how we are going to play that final twenty minutes,” Taylor said.
Clarkson has been in a lot of tight games this season, and three of its last four games have been decided by one goal, while the fourth ended in a tie. In its two games against Princeton and Vermont, Clarkson won in overtime.
Throughout the season the Golden Knights have proven they can skate with any team in the country. They tied both Cornell and Colorado College, two teams ranked in the nation’s top 15. Clarkson will host Princeton on Friday night before meeting Yale on Saturday.
Though St. Lawrence has struggled some this season, they too have shown they have what it takes to beat anyone. Just as the Bulldogs did, the Knights stunned New Hampshire, the eighth ranked team in the country, beating it 3-2. In their last game St. Lawrence defeated Clarkson. After leading 5-1, the Knights allowed Clarkson to sneak back before the game ended at 5-4.
While both Clarkson and St. Lawrence have seen close games, Yale has had its share of nail-biters as well. With six one-goal games and two overtimes thus far this season, the Bulldogs are accustomed to having late contests in the third period. The Elis managed to come out on top in all but one of those games and have proved they have what it takes when things are close. However, Taylor and his team would prefer to have a comfortable lead as the game winds down, and they will be looking to accomplish that this weekend against two teams they know they can beat.