In a strong but close finish in the Liberty Invitational, the Elis (1–0–1, 0–0 ECAC) dispatched of both the UConn Huskies and Princeton Tigers. Yale looks to continue its hot start to the season in a two-match home opening slate.
The Bulldogs are set to take on Clarkson and St. Lawrence, last year’s sixth and eighth place finishers in the ECAC respectively. The Bulldogs have the momentum headed into the weekend, given their successful to the season and past history against their two opponents.
“I think [the Liberty Invitational Championship] just gave us a building block going forward. The first weekend of the year we played a pretty good team game, and to come out on top gives us some confidence going forward,” Mike Doherty ’17 said. “We’re feeling pretty good about our depth.”
Sitting at 2–4–2 and riding a one-game losing streak, the Clarkson Golden Knights will be looking to bounce back against a Yale squad that has had a difficult time scoring in recent matches. However, the Elis handled Clarkson neatly in their one 2013–14 matchup, winning 6–3. Given Alex Lyon’s ’17 current form in goal, the Bulldogs are well-equipped for a shut-down defensive game against a hungry Clarkson squad. Furthermore, Yale is on a two-game winning streak and just coming off of a strong tournament win — a victory which head coach Keith Allain said has given his team confidence. Ultimately, if Yale can contain the Golden Knights’ quick breaks and continue playing their brand of defense, then Clarkson may provide an opportunity for Yale’s first home win of the year.
“Clarkson is a really strong team … They’re dangerous in transition, and they’ve got forwards that can beat you one-on-one,” Allain said.
St. Lawrence may provide the stiffest challenge of the weekend for Yale. The Saints sit at 4–3–1 and have proved their offensive prowess, scoring 30 goals in eight games while conceding only 19. Yale has a strong record against St. Lawrence in recent years, boasting a 5–0–1 mark against the Saints. However, given the recent offensive form of St. Lawrence, Yale will have to maintain its current defensive strength while simultaneously increasing offensive output. Finally, the Saints are coming off of a 4–0 win over Clarkson — which Yale will face Friday night.
“I think one thing that we’re focusing on is production. If you look at the Princeton and UConn games, we had a ton of opportunity to score goals, and we ended up having a successful weekend, but I think we could produce a lot more,” John Hayden ’17 said. “We have a mindset where we really want to bear down and put more pucks in the net.”
Though the Saints clearly have offensive mettle, their statistics this season have been inflated by a single blowout 10–2 win over Niagara University. Discounting their outlier win over the Purple Eagles brings St. Lawrence’s statistics down from the clouds: seven games, 20 goals for and 17 goals against. Yale has given up just three goals in their first two NCAA matches, thus the Saints will be hard pressed to win by eight against a more defensively capable Eli squad. Nevertheless, Yale will face a toss up game against St. Lawrence in which they will be slight favorites and should face a stiff challenge in both of their games this weekend.
“Those are just two really good teams … They have good wins so far this year, so we can’t take them lightly,” Hayden said.
Yale’s next match comes against at Dartmouth on Friday, Nov. 14.