After taking home a win and a tie in last weekend’s Ivy League Showcase tournament, the Bulldogs are looking to top their season opening performance and take two wins this weekend.
Yale (1–0–1) is going on a road trip to take on Dartmouth (1–0–1) and Harvard (1–0–0) on Friday and Saturday night to open ECAC conference play. Head coach Keith Allain said physical play from the Big Green and individually skilled players from the Crimson will pose a challenge for the Elis. To top their two Ivy League opponents this weekend, the Bulldogs will have to compete and play at a high speed.
“We have been focused on all aspects of our game and executing at high speed,” Allain said. “We are able to compete on the weekends with a relentless aggressive style of play.”
The Bulldogs’ explosive play brought bursts of scoring in their first two games. In last weekend’s matchup against Dartmouth, right wing Antoine Laganiere ’13 blasted two past the Big Green in the second period, just nine minutes apart. Against Princeton, the Bulldogs scored first and added another pair of goals in the second period, just two minutes apart.
The Elis will have to play aggressively to battle Dartmouth’s gritty offense.
“Dartmouth looks to beat you with an aggressive forechecking system and strong net front play,” Allain said. “Their forwards and goaltender look to be a real strength for them.”
Finding a balance between aggressive play and penalties is important as well for the Bulldogs this weekend. Aside from a 15 minute boarding and game misconduct penalty, the Bulldogs have only accumulated 12 penalty minutes — the same amount as the Crimson, while the Big Green has put up 16.
The Bulldogs have scored a total of five goals in two games while the Crimson have scored five in a single game and the Big Green has put away six goals in two games.
“Harvard has a very good power play,” Allain said. “They have a number of players capable of beating you one-on-one.”
Freshman forward Jimmy Vesey leads the attack for the Crimson with two goals and an assist in his first game. For the Big Green, junior forward Eric Robinson leads the attack with two goals in his first two games this season. The Bulldogs have two players that have registered three points in their first pair of games. Laganiere has put up three goals and forward Clinton Bourbonais ’14 has contributed three assists.
On the power play and penalty kill, the Bulldogs will have to work as a team. The Elis have gone one for eight on power play opportunities compared to the Crimson’s one for two and the Big Green’s three for nine. On the penalty kill, the Bulldogs will also have to outwork the competition.
While still a high success rate, the Elis’ penalty kill percentage of 0.75 is not the same as the Crimson and Big Green’s perfect penalty killing percentage.
“We are focused on being better in our team game, pushing the tempo and applying pressure on our opponents,” Allain said.
Yale has beaten Harvard in five of the last seven contests and Dartmouth in 10 of the last 11.
The Elis will take on the Big Green tonight at 7 p.m.