In a crucial conference home stand at Ingalls this past weekend, the No. 13 men’s hockey team split its two games, thrilling the fans in attendance with a 3–2 overtime loss to No. 10 Cornell and a 4–1 bounce-back win against No. 18 Colgate.
The Bulldogs (11-6-4, 6-5-3 ECAC) suffered a heartbreaking defeat to the Big Red (11–4–5, 7–3–4 ECAC) on Friday after forward Brian Ferlin scored on a breakaway with just 17 seconds left in the sudden-death period. In the Elis’ Saturday game against the Raiders (13–11–3, 9–5–1 ECAC), Yale bounced back thanks to a relentless penalty kill and five points from blueliners, including goals from Ryan Obuchowski ’16 and Gus Young ’14.
“We played well both nights and we felt like we should have won Friday night but we didn’t get the bounces,” Obuchowski said. “The team showed great effort in both games, especially Saturday night when we needed everyone, and we all played well.”
Friday night’s matchup between Cornell and Yale was dominated by the goaltenders, the Big Red’s Andy Iles and the Bulldogs’ Alex Lyon ’17. The two netminders rank inside the top 25 in goals against average and save percentage in Division I hockey this season. Iles and Lyon combined for 65 saves and traded highlight reel stops all night.
Cornell tallied first through John Knisley’s goal with just over two minutes gone in the first. The Elis quickly answered when tenacious play around Iles’s net led to Young finding the back of the net on a backhand shot.
The Elis put 15 shots on frame in the first period and took the lead on one of the last, when Anthony Day ’15 scored his fifth of the season. The junior, who would later leave the game unable to skate off under his own power, gained the blueline and fired a wrister from the right circle that flew into the top corner of the net.
Despite outshooting the Big Red 13-6 in the second frame, Cornell tied the game at 2-2 five minutes in after a scramble in front led to a tap in goal. The Bulldogs had two power plays and skated four on four for a further two minutes but failed to breach Iles’s net.
The third period featured more of the same from Iles as well as superb play from Lyon, who stopped all eight shots he saw in the frame. The rookie finished the game strongly, showing off his quickness in denying the Big Red twice during a late Cornell power play.
The Bulldog faithful had been thoroughly entertained all night, and the overtime period lived up to the excitement of regulation play with end-to-end action and four shots for both teams. While Ferlin’s top shelf finish ensured the Elis would go home disappointed, no one could doubt Yale’s effort, and the players received a standing ovation from the fans after the buzzer sounded.
“It was a huge emotional letdown, to lose in that fashion,” Lyon said. “Overall we felt we played a pretty good game so we were reassured that we are headed in the right direction.”
In a game marred by penalties and injuries, the Bulldogs bounced back with a resounding 4-1 win against nationally ranked Colgate. Lyon was again crucial to the Elis’ success, making 30 saves in a bid for a shutout that was only broken late in the third period on a Raiders powerplay.
Nicholas Weberg ’15 scored his third goal of the season on a breakaway after coming out of the box from his tripping penalty. Obuchowski did well to block a shot on the penalty kill before Kenny Agostino ’14 picked up the loose puck and fed it to Weberg who raced up ice, held off his defender and deposited the puck into the back of the net.
Both teams killed off three penalties in the opening frame with Yale holding a slight 15-12 shot advantage at the first intermission.
Charles Orzetti ’16 scored the eventual game winner eight minutes into the second period when he found the back of the net on a 3-on-2 Bulldogs’ breakout. The bruising forward crashed the net to finish the play after captain Jesse Root’s ’14 initial shot.
The second period featured 42 minutes of penalties on 10 infractions that included a game misconduct for both teams. Forward Matthew Beattie ’16 was sent to the locker room after a linesman whistled the sophomore for kneeing with four minutes left in the second. Three minutes later, Cornell forward Kyle Baun also received a game misconduct for head-butting after a scrum in front of Colgate’s net.
The Elis killed off a 5-on-3 advantage for Cornell late in the period before again going on the power play after Baun’s game misconduct in the last minute of the second.
Obuchowski earned his second point with a goal halfway through the third. The blueliner, who was named first star of the game thanks to a goal, an assist and +2 rating, launched a howitzer from the right side that flew into the top left corner for a 3-0 Yale lead.
But the Bulldogs had to fight off late penalties and Colgate pressure to ensure the fans went home happy. Both Agostino and forward Trent Ruffolo ’15 were issued 10 minute misconduct penalties at the six and 10 minute marks. This forced the Elis to skate three lines of forwards after Beattie’s ejection and a concussion to center Stu Wilson ’16 earlier in the first period. Lyon made 10 saves in the final 20 minutes and stood strong on another Raiders two-man advantage halfway through the frame. His efforts would not go unnoticed, with the netminder earning second-star honors after the final buzzer.
The referees made their presence felt throughout the game, whistling the teams for a combined 92 penalty minutes on 23 infractions. The Elis, thanks to three game misconduct penalties, received the lion’s share with 51 minutes.
“I think we learned a lot about our team character, will to win and resiliency this weekend,” Obuchowski said. “If we can battle like we did all night on both Friday and Saturday, we will be in a good place when the end of the season comes.”
With the win, the Bulldogs retained sixth place in the ECAC standings with 15 points, three behind fifth place Clarkson. Yale will hit the road to face league foes Rensselear and Union, who are at top of the conference with 22 points, next weekend. Faceoff for both games is at 7 p.m.