In a weekend of underdog upsets across the ECACHL, the Bulldogs were no exception.
The men’s hockey team fought hard to come back and tie No. 15 Cornell (9-7-3, 5-4-3 ECACHL) before falling to a less-talented Colgate (10-12-4, 4-5-3) team in upstate New York this weekend. Coming home from the trip with one point, the Elis (8-8-3, 5-6-1) remain in seventh place in the conference, still two points behind the Big Red and now tied with the Raiders.
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“It was a long way to go just to get a point,” captain Matt Cohen ’07 said. “But it was a pretty hard-earned point on Friday night.”
Facing a sold-out crowd at Lynah Rink, the Bulldogs eked out a 2-2 tie against a talented Cornell squad Friday evening. The Big Red jumped out to an early lead in the first when freshman forward Tony Romano flipped the puck into the net past goalie Alec Richards ’09. But the Elis answered back halfway through the second frame, when Cohen notched his third goal of the season off a feed from teammate Robert Burns ’07 to tie the score at 1-1.
Romano nearly got his second score of the night on a power play at 15:12, but the referees called a penalty on forward Matt Nelson ’09 for covering the puck with his glove. Though Richards stopped Romano’s subsequent penalty shot, the score did not remain tied for long, as the Big Red capitalized on a rebound 12 seconds later to take the lead.
As the minutes ticked away in the third period, the Elis struggled to connect on offense, garnering only three shots before a fluke goal put them even with Cornell once again. Goalie Troy Davenport went behind his own goal to play the puck along the boards but lost his balance and fell. He ended up knocking the puck back towards the goal, where it flipped off of the skate of a Big Red defender and into the open net at 18:38, sending the game into extra minutes. Defenseman Tom Dignard ’10, the last Eli to touch the puck, was credited with the goal.
“We played great for an entire game at Cornell,” Nelson said. “[The second goal] was not a pretty goal at all, but we had been putting the pressure on Cornell for most of that period and we deserved it.”
Neither team was able to break through in overtime, although the Bulldogs, invigorated by the last-minute goal, spent most of their time on offense. The Elis were held to just three shots in the extra period (17 overall) because the Cornell squad played a strong defensive game, head coach Keith Allain ’80 said.
After battling back to get the upset in Ithaca, the Bulldogs did the opposite against Colgate on Saturday, starting strong but faltering as the game wore on. The Elis pulled ahead halfway through the first period when Bill LeClerc ’07, who leads the Bulldog blueliners in scoring, bagged an unassisted goal that took Colgate netminder Mark Dekanich by surprise. But Yale enjoyed its only lead of the entire game for just 39 seconds, as the Raiders went on to score four unanswered goals in the next 35 minutes on their way to a 4-1 victory.
“We came out in the first period playing really well, but we had a couple of isolated mental lapses that led to them scoring and eventually getting the win,” Cohen said.
Neither squad managed to capitalize on power plays, despite five chances for Yale and seven for Colgate. Richards had an uncharacteristically-low 13 saves before Matt Modelski ’07 replaced him early in the third. Seeing his first action of the season, Modelski stopped all five shots that came his way.
“Once Colgate scored a few times, we started to get into some bad habits,” Nelson said. “We got away from our normal style of play and didn’t play our best.”