Two comebacks in three days proved too tall an order for the men’s hockey team in its double-header against Brown last week. The No. 17 Elis erased 2–0 and 3–2 deficits against Brown on Thursday night en route to a 5–3 win, but could not finish off an attempted comeback on Saturday night in Providence.
As on Thursday, the Bears (4–6–1, 3–3 ECAC) opened up the game by taking a 2–0 lead in the first period. Brown controlled play during the opening frame and led in shots on goal by a 19–9 margin.
“I think right now we aren’t preparing the way we should for the beginning of the games, and I think that’s a testament to the senior class,” forward Charles Brockett ’12 said. “We need to make sure that this team is ready to go every day and every game.”
The Elis (6–4–1, 4–2) managed to tie it up within the first seven minutes of the second period behind goals from Josh Balch ’13 and Antoine Laganiere ’13. Balch put Yale on the scoreboard for the first time of the night by finishing a crossing pass from Clinton Bourbonais ’14 only 76 seconds into the second period.
“It was obviously huge to get a goal right away in the second period to boost the morale a little bit … but in hindsight, it wasn’t enough, and we still lost the game,” Brockett said.
However, the Bulldogs did not hold the score. Brown gained a 3–2 advantage only 56 seconds later off a one-timer from Ryan Jacobson. The Bears notched another one before the end of the period when Matt Wahl scored on a low shot from the point for a two-goal edge.
But the Elis were not done yet. Again, they fought back and, for the second time that night, rebounded from two down to tie it up at four. Chad Ziegler ’12 kicked off the second comeback with a power-play goal off an assist from fellow forward Laganiere. It was Yale’s fourth power-play goal over the course of the two games against Brown.
Laganiere got back in on the goal-scoring action less than a minute later with his second goal of the night and his fifth on the season. After a Yale face-off win, he fired a quick shot toward Brown’s Jeff Clemente that was too hot to handle.
“It was just one of those games where everything seemed to work,” Laganiere said. “As your confidence builds it seems like nothing can go wrong. It was just one of those games where I was sort of in the zone.”
But Yale was unable to make a final push and take the lead. With only 2:13 remaining, Brown pulled ahead for the third time on the night with a goal from captain Jack Maclellan. After the game, head coach Keith Allain ’80 said that his team did not work as hard as it should have.
“Our work ethic wasn’t where it needs to be, and our team structure wasn’t either,” Allain said in an interview with Yale Athletics.
The Bulldogs will hit the ice again tonight for a 7 p.m. matchup at UMass (4–7–4). The Elis are 12–6 all-time against the Minutemen but fell 4–3 in overtime when the teams last played at Ingalls Rink in 2009.
Offensively, the Bulldogs will be looking to keep the momentum rolling against UMass. Yale looks stronger now than it has all season on that side of the puck, scoring 17 goals over its last four games.
Despite their recent offensive prowess, however, the Elis have lost three of their last four games. This slump is in large part due to defensive issues. Over that span, Yale has allowed 18 goals, seven of which were scored by previously winless Sacred Heart.
“We need to communicate as five-man units every shift,” Brockett said. “We need to understand where everyone should be and what everyone should be doing. But when it comes down to it, we need to be more intense mentally and physically, and we need to be more prepared.”
The Minutemen have not won a game since Nov. 12 and have lost three out of their last four. Statistically, they do not appear to be a very daunting opponent but have pulled off a few strong results this season and will take advantage if Yale does not come ready to play. Earlier this season, they topped current No. 3 Boston College 4–2 and tied current No. 11 Boston University 2–2.
Yale should match up well with the Minutemen on special teams in particular. One area where the Bulldogs have excelled all season is on special teams, an aspect of the game in which UMass has not performed well thus far. While the Elis rank second in both the power play and the penalty kill, UMass ranks 33rd and 56th respectively.
For the Elis, Laganiere will attempt to continue his recent hot streak. In the home-and-home against Brown last week he recorded three goals and two assists and is currently tied with captain Brian O’Neill ’12 for the team lead in goals with five.
The Bulldogs will take the ice at 7 p.m. tonight in Amherst, Mass.