Two months ago, momentum swings carried the Bulldogs to a 4–3 victory over the Brown Bears in Ingalls rink. Last Saturday, the No. 10 men’s hockey team struggled to control the momentum in a 6–2 defeat to No. 2 Quinnipiac. But only one day earlier, Brown had done what Yale could not — the Bears held the high-powered Bobcat offense to a single goal and came away with a 1–1 tie.
This weekend, the Elis will make the trip to Providence to take on Brown at Meehan Auditorium, and the team that can control the momentum is likely to come away with the win. While the time of the game was originally slotted for a 7 p.m. puck drop on Saturday, the upcoming blizzard may push the game back to an earlier time on Sunday. Matching and superseding the Bears’ intensity, maintaining team defense and finding the back of the net will be the keys to the Bulldogs’ success in the contest.
“Brown is a team that plays fast, they finish all of their checks, they win races and they have good goaltending,” head coach Keith Allain ’80 said. “They’re a .500 team that is in every single game they play.”
While the Bears have won just eight of their 22 games this season, 14 of those games have been decided by one-goal difference or fewer. In their last matchup against the Elis, Yale came from behind for a 4–3 victory with three points from forward Antoine Laganiere ’13 and two assists from captain Andrew Miller ’13.
And with Anthony Borelli, the goaltender with the No. 2 save percentage in all of Division I hockey, suiting up for the Bears, Yale will be looking for its No. 11-ranked power play unit to approach the season-high four-goal performance it produced in the teams’ previous meeting.
After goaltender Jeff Malcolm ’13 took a bad hit in last weekend’s win against Princeton, Nick Maricic ’13 and Connor Wilson ’15 both spent time between the pipes over the remainder of the Princeton game and the next day’s loss to Quinnipiac. Allain said it is still a toss up for who will be suiting up in net for the Bulldogs, but Maricic’s experience may help the Elis at this time in the season.
“At this time last year, Nick was our guy,” Allain said. “He took us into the playoffs.”
No official description of Malcolm’s injury has been released, but Allain expects Malcolm to continue to improve by the day and hopefully spend some more time in the net this season.
“I think he’s coming along,” Allain said. “He’s doing more and more stuff every day and as soon as he’s ready, we’ll get him back to practice and see when he is ready to play in a game.”
Due to the impending snowstorm headed toward New England, the Elis will not make the trip to Brown on Saturday but instead head to Providence once things clear up on Sunday. By making the trip a day later, the Elis will have the advantage of completing one more practice to work out any last minute details before the sole game of the weekend.
“We have been working on our systems, making sure we are sharp in all three zones,” Miller said.
The Elis have not played fewer than two games in a weekend since their Jan. 4 matchup against Boston College. Competing in just one game will allow the Elis to catch up on some rest following a weekend of travel to upstate New York and a weekend of fierce league competition in Ingalls against both Princeton and Quinnipiac.
“I think it’s nice, particularly coming at this time of the year,” Allain said.
The puck will drop in Meehan Auditorium this weekend at 5 p.m. on Sunday.