It’s playoff time.
The men’s hockey team (13–13–3, 10–10–2 ECAC) beat Princeton and tied Quinnipiac over the weekend in its final regular season games and ensured it will play Princeton at home in the first round of the ECAC playoffs this weekend. The Bulldogs went 3–0–1 over their last four games and finished sixth in the 12-team ECAC. Forward Jesse Root ’14 said the team is happy to end the regular season on a high note, but remains cautious for the playoffs.
“It’s great to build up momentum, but when the playoffs start, you start from scratch.” Root said. “These are a couple of big games, and they’ll be tough.”
For the Bulldogs this weekend, it was a grizzled veteran who stepped up one night and a rising star who stepped up the next. The Elis cruised to a 5–2 victory over Princeton (8–14–7, 6–12–4) on Friday night behind a goal and three assists from captain Brian O’Neill ’12. Saturday, they battled Quinnipiac (17–11–6, 9–8–5) to a 2–2 draw behind two goals from forward Jesse Root ’14. to the rubber in traffic and found Root, who picked out Laganiere for his second of the game.
“It was a gutsy team effort,” head coach Keith Allain ’80 said. “I thought we won each period, which is big on the road. We were opportunistic in transition and solid defensively, not allowing many opportunities.”on Bourbonais ’14 stole the puck from a Quinnipiac defenseman at the Bobcats’ blue line and fired a backhanded shot that Quinnipiac goalie Eric Hartzell stopped. Hartzell could not control the rebound, however, and Root swooped in for an easy finish.
“[Bourbonais] did a great job taking it to the net and made a really smart play to just throw it off his pads,” Root said. “I was just trying to beat my guy up the ice. Luckily I did that, Clint made a great play and I had an open net.”
With seven minutes remaining in the second period, Quinnipiac tied the score again on a beautifully executed power play while Laganiere’s penalty was still in effect.
After the flurry of goals in the second period, the teams returned to a stalemate in the third. Quinnipiac controlled the pace of the game for most of the period and outshot Yale 15–5. With less than five minutes remaining, the Bobcats looked as though they were going to score when they went on a power play. Quinnipiac had moved the puck effortlessly against Yale with a man advantage all night, but the Bobcats could not capitalize on their scoring chances.
In overtime, the Bulldogs recorded two shots on goal to Quinnipiac’s zero. Allain added that he was happy with the way the Bulldogs persisted in overtime.
“I thought we were the stronger team in overtime, and that’s very important,” Allain said in a press release. “Our team has the skill and grit to beat anyone in the league. If our attention is there, and our focus is there, we will see [in the playoffs] if we are good enough.”