Based on the men’s hockey team’s less-than-stellar record from last year, the rest of the ECAC may not be too worried about the Elis. But the Bulldogs seem to be warming up the ice just right this preseason, and the rest of the conference should be wary.
The men’s hockey team said they feel confident after a victorious scrimmage Saturday night against Concordia, 7-3. After two wins this preseason, momentum is picking up and the Bulldogs are ready to start their official season this Friday against No. 2 Cornell.
“[Scrimmage and exhibition games] are good confidence boosters,” captain Christian Jensen ’06 said. “It is nice to have a win under the belt and for a game to go well.”
Forward Joe Zappala ’06 said he was pleased with the Elis’ performance in their preseason finale.
“I was pretty satisfied with the weekend. We were skating really well,” Zappala said. “We were coming together.”
While the Bulldogs were pleased with the win, they said there was still room for improvement. The Elis amassed a 5-0 lead at one point in the second period, but ceded a score late in that frame and two more in the third. All three goals came against freshman goalkeeper Alec Richards, the Bulldogs’ starter.
Jensen said the game started well, but that the Elis did not play up to their potential as the game wore on. He said he hopes the early performance, and not the late-game let-up, was a preview of the upcoming season.
Despite the late Bulldog lapse, forward Michael Karwoski ’09 said he was pleased with how hard the Elis came out of the gate.
“In the second game [of the preseason] we came out harder, they weren’t ready,” Karwoski said. “Quick lead, we didn’t back down but just kept going.”
The Elis took an early lead when forward David Meckler ’09 scored off an assist from Karwoski. Then Karwoski gave the Bulldogs a 2-0 lead off a feed from forward Zach Mayer ’06.
Several upperclassmen said they are excited about new additions to the team this year. Zappala said the freshman class is strong and has been contributing from the beginning.
“They work hard and they are definitely going to allow us to exploit other teams’ lower lines,” Zappala said.
Karwoski said the freshmen got a decent amount of playing time in the scrimmage and exhibition game because Yale head coach Tim Taylor is looking at the freshmen’s performances to determine the regular season lines.
Because the team lost few players to graduation last year, the freshmen are adding to an already solid core, Karwoski said. He said the defense looks better than in past years, but the Bulldogs have five solid lines on offense as well.
The Elis have nowhere to go up but up this season after last year’s 5-25-2 record, a record Jensen deemed “subpar.”
Zappala said he is optimistic about Friday’s opener.
“[Cornell has] everything to lose and we have everything to gain,” he said.