The men’s hockey team has a long week ahead of itself.
A 1–0 loss to Brown on Sunday night eliminated the No. 6 Bulldogs from the ECAC Tournament in the third game of the quarterfinal round. Brown sophomore goaltender Mike Clemente delivered the performance of his career, as he shut down the Bulldogs’ offense, recording 44 saves, including 19 in the Yale-dominated third period.
“I’ve been coaching for a while, I’ve played the game my whole life, but that is single-handedly the best goaltending effort I’ve seen a goaltender make,” Brown head coach Brendan Whittet said. “He was unbelievable.”
Yale head coach Keith Allain ’80 added: “It was a night where their goalie stole the game. It’s as frustrating as it can get in a team sport when one guy is the difference in the game.”
With the conference tournament now over for the Elis, they will have to wait until next Sunday to find out if they have made the 16-team NCAA Tournament. Sunday’s loss pushed them back 12th place in the PairWise rankings.
The Bulldogs will be hoping for few upsets in the ongoing conference tournaments next week so that teams ranked behind them do not secure automatic berths.
Allain said the Elis expect to make the tournament and will hold a normal practice schedule this week.
“[Our chances] are high,” Allain said. “We’re going to practice as if we are in it.”
After controlling the game’s flow throughout their 6–3 victory Saturday, the Elis appeared confident throughout Sunday’s contest. The Bulldogs had quick movement along the ice and outshot their opponents in each period.
Yale had the first big opportunity of the night when a shot from center Mark Arcobello ’10 was almost put in by left winger Brian O’Neill ’12. The referees reviewed the play on video replay but quickly determined that the puck never crossed the line.
Nine minutetes into the first period, with Yale on the power play, Arcobello and center Andrew Miller ’13 collided with each other, leaving the puck in their zone. Brown center Jack Maclellan quickly picked up the puck and fired in a shot from the right circle to take the 1–0 lead on the shorthanded goal.
“That’s one that I should definitely have, but to be honest I don’t want to be hard on myself,” goaltender Billy Blase ’10 said. “I did well to keep it a one-nothing game. It’s tough that that had to be the game-winner.”
The shorthanded goal was all Clemente and the Bears needed.
The Bulldogs squandered a chance to have a 5-on-3 advantage with five minutes left in the first period, when Yale captain Ryan Donald ’10 retaliated against a Brown player who had just kneed an Eli. There had already been a delayed high-sticking penalty about to go against the Bears, but after Donald was penalized for roughing, Yale only had a one-man advantage.
The second period saw multiple chances from both teams, but solid work from both goaltenders kept it a one-goal game.
The third period is when the Yale offense really came alive — but so did Clemente. The Bulldogs unleashed a relentless attack on the Brown net, but were never able to put back a number of dangerous loose pucks on the rebound.
All game long, right winger Broc Little ’11, the team leader in goals, looked dangerous, but Clemente was able to stop all of Little’s shots, including a hard wrister from the slot with less that four minutes in the game.
Yale took a time-out with 1:04 left and pulled Blase, but the Elis did not get any more good looks on the Brown net, as two key Brown clearances helped to seal the underdog’s victory.
Overall, the Bulldogs outshot the Bears 44–21 but trailed in the category that counts — goals.
“I’m extremely proud of the way our guys competed,” Allain said. “I thought we showed great discipline getting through the hooks, the holes, the hacks, the whacks that were allowed to go on in the slot area in front of their net.”
The NCAA Tournament brackets will be announced next Sunday at 11:30 a.m. on ESPN2.