The men’s hockey team faces two stern tests of its ECAC credentials at Ingalls Rink this coming weekend.
The No. 10 Bulldogs (5–3–2, 2–1–2 ECAC) welcome fourth-ranked rivals Quinnipiac (12–1–0, 7–0–0) and Princeton (4–5–1, 2–4–1) on Friday and Saturday, respectively.
Quinnipiac’s Bobcats sit atop the ECAC with 14 points — four clear of second-place Cornell — and have won eight in a row. Their No. 4 national ranking is the team’s highest ever, and forwards Brandon Wong and Eric Lampe lead the team on offense with 19 and 18 points, respectively.
Forward Denny Kearney ’11 said the Bulldogs are looking forward to the game with their crosstown rivals Friday, but are not ignoring the challenge posed by a Princeton squad with a traditionally strong hockey program.
“Everyone’s excited about Quinnipiac,” Kearney said. “They’re the No. 4 team, and they’re off to great start.”
Last year the Bulldogs came out on top against Quinnipiac, winning 3–0 at Ingalls, and managed a 3–3 draw in a game that went to overtime at Quinnipiac.
On Saturday afternoon, the Princeton Tigers will have the chance to earn their stripes once again — they lost to the Bulldogs 5–2 in New Jersey in October in a game that did not count toward conference standings.
Princeton currently sits in eighth place in the conference, two spots behind Yale. The Tigers have also lost their last three games, conceding 15 goals along the way.
The Elis, in turn, will be looking to continue their recent offensive success. Before their 1–0 loss to No. 19 Vermont, they put seven past Holy Cross, eight past Sacred Heart and six past Brown.
“We want to put up a big number against Princeton, but their goalie [Zane Kalemba] is last year’s [ECAC] goalie of the year and player of the year, and I’m sure they’re working out their problems with defense,” Kearney said. “Hopefully we can put up a big number, but it’s going to be a battle.”
Last year Yale beat the Tigers 3–1 at Ingalls but lost the return game at Princeton, 2–0, with the chance to clinch the ECAC title on the line.
“We won’t be overlooking Princeton,” Kearney cautioned. “In the last two years, they’ve been right at the top of the league and haven’t lost too much.”
He added that the team was feeling confident after its close loss to Vermont on Monday. Although the team did not get the result it had hoped for, Kearney said the Bulldogs played closer to the way they want to play than they had in previous games.
Yale takes on Quinnipiac at 7 p.m. Friday and Princeton at 4 p.m. Saturday.