The Yale men’s ice hockey team managed to come away with just a single point this weekend after a tie against Clarkson and a 4–0 drubbing at the hands of St. Lawrence.
The games marked Yale’s first two conference contests, as well as the first time that the Bulldogs failed to get a win in their opening conference weekend since the 2009–10 season.
On Friday, the Elis faced off against Clarkson (3–4–3, 1–0–1 ECAC) in a hard-fought game that began with a goal early on in the first period by blueliner Matt Killian ’15. After two goals by the Golden Knights in a 1:29 span in the second period, forward Anthony Day ’15 tied the game up with a quick wrist shot in the third.
In the tense overtime that ensued, Clarkson largely maintained possession of the puck in the Yale defensive zone, but neither team was able to put the puck in the net and the game ended in a 2–2 tie.
The Bulldogs (1–1–2, 0–1–1) put 32 shots on goal, compared to just 19 for the Knights. The Elis won the majority of face-offs on the night as well, with 35 to Clarkson’s 27. Goalie Alex Lyon ’17 helped keep the Bulldogs in contention throughout the match, with a few crucial stops in overtime and 17 saves overall.
Defenseman Rob O’Gara ’16, who had four blocks on Friday night, noted that the Bulldogs worked to push the pace against Clarkson.
“I think Friday we competed hard as a team. Our forecheck was very good, and as a result they had limited options in leaving their zone and that led to us having a majority of the possession time,” O’Gara said. “Our competitiveness and willingness to pay the price led to a good comeback tie.”
The result on Saturday night against St. Lawrence (6–3–1, 2–0–0) was decidedly less positive, as Yale failed to put a single shot past Saints’ netminder Kyle Hayton in a 4–0 loss. An early power-play goal from St. Lawrence just 1:51 into the game, along with two successive equal-strength goals in the first period, put the Bulldogs in a hole from the game’s outset.
After Lyon allowed those three goals and registered just five saves on eight total shots in the frame, head coach Keith Allain ’80 pulled the struggling netminder and replaced him with fellow sophomore Patrick Spano ’17.
But still, the Saints put the nail in the coffin with a goal midway through the third period.
Despite out-shooting St. Lawrence with 13 more shots on goal and winning more than double the number of face-offs, the Bulldogs struggled to produce on offense against the Saints. At the other end of the rink, Spano and Lyon combined for a total of 15 saves on the night.
Forward John Baiocco ’18 said that even though the team was disappointed with the loss, the Bulldogs plan to remain true to the game plan instituted at the beginning of the season by Allain.
“I think we’re pretty confident with the game plan we have,” Baiocco said. “We’re just going to work harder to execute what we already have in place.”
As one of the strongest conferences in collegiate men’s ice hockey, the ECAC is home to the two previous national champions, Yale and Union. Additionally, the ECAC boasts two of the nation’s top eight teams and eight of the top 34, according to the most recent USCHO.com poll. As both players and coaches have noted, the competition will certainly be fierce in Yale’s quest to bring the national title home once again.
The Bulldogs have a pair of conference opponents this weekend, playing at Dartmouth on Friday and at Harvard on Saturday.