The No. 8 men’s hockey team faces an important ECAC doubleheader this weekend, travelling to Saint Lawrence and No. 14 Clarkson. The Bulldogs are coming into the weekend after an impressive stretch of games over winter break, going undefeated (4–0–1) in five games. The News sat down with forward Cody Learned ’16 to discuss the season and his recent success, which includes winning the MVP of Yale’s Rivalry on Ice game against Harvard at Madison Square Garden on Jan. 11. The Amherst, N.H. native scored a career-high two goals, helping the Bulldogs to a 5–1 trouncing of the Crimson.

Q. How has the season been going for you so far? What has it been like for you seeing your ice time jump?

A. We have had a pretty good start. We have 14 games in the next seven weeks so the rest of the season will be very important. We need to have a strong second half. As far as my playing time goes, I’ve have some more oportunities this year. It’s awesome to be getting time and I am just trying to make the most of it. I just want to keep doing what I can to help the team.

Q. What did winning the MVP at MSG mean to you? 

A. It was really cool. It was definitely an honor to win it. I think the more important thing is that the team won the game. Overall it was a really good team effort. There were a lot of guys on our team that really contributed, especially goaltender Alex Lyon ’17 who played unbelievably throughout the game. Getting an individual award was nice but the important thing is we won.

Q. Do you think the success the team has had over the winter break will propel the team into the rest of the season?

A. Definitely. I think we’ve improved a lot since the beginning of this year. We talk about getting better everyday. We know we need to keep working and improving as the year goes on. Hopefully by the end of season our work will pay off.

Q. What have you learned about the team that you might not have expected coming in? Is there something that has surprised you about the team character or dynamic?

A. I don’t know if it really surprised me but we have an awesome group of guys this year. We are a really close team. We have a good chemistry, which is really important if we want to be sucessful. Everyone gets along really well and we all have the same mindset. We all want to get better.

Q. There hasn’t been a truly settled lineup at the forward position with injuries and personnel changes a regular occurrence this season. Has this been a nuisance for the team or a sign of the talent and depth of the roster? 

A. It definitely hasn’t been a nuisance. It’s a long season so there are always injuries and different factors that cause changes in the lineup. I think for the most part when injuries happen it’s an opportunity for someone else to come in. You want to do what you can and no matter where you are or what line you are playing on you want to make the most of it and do what you can to help the team.

Q. What are you expecting from a tough road game slate coming up this weekend?

A. It is a big weekend for us. We are going to two very tough places to play. Clarkson is having a great year and Saint Lawrence has a great offense so this weekend will be a good challenge for us. We want to go up there and play our game. It doesn’t matter who we play, if we do well we can beat anyone. It’s an important weekend for us. We will take it one game at a time.