Five different Bulldogs put pucks in the back of the net as the men’s ice hockey team powered its way to its first two conference victories on Friday and Saturday.
The Bulldogs (3–1–2, 2–1–1 ECAC) faced off against Dartmouth (2–2–1, 2–2–1) on the road on Friday night and came away with a decisive 4–1 victory. Forward Mike Doherty ’17 led the charge with a redirection past Big Green goaltender James Kruger early in the first period. Yale scored again early in the second period off a wrist-shot by forward Frankie DiChiara ’17, but Dartmouth struck back a few minutes later. However, a power play goal from both captain Tommy Fallen ’15 and from forward Ryan Hitchcock ’18 put the game away for good.
The Elis outshot the Big Green with 30 attempts on net to Dartmouth’s 27, while goaltender Alex Lyon ’17 had 26 saves on the night. Yale was also two for five on power plays and the team’s shorthanded defense did not allow a single Dartmouth goal on four Big Green power play opportunities.
Hitchcock, whose goal on Friday was the first of his college career, noted that a Bulldog team that struggled to find its rhythm last week did so against Dartmouth.
“I think we had a lot more chemistry and worked a lot smarter,” Hitchcock said. “We played a really good team game.”
The next night the Bulldogs traveled to Boston where they handed Harvard (3–1–2, 2–1–2) its first conference loss. The 2–1 Yale victory began with two scoreless periods before defenseman Ryan Obuchowski ’16 put one in the back of the net off of a drop pass from Doherty early in the third. It wasn’t until the final minute of play in the game that the Doherty scored on an empty Crimson net, and the last-ditch effort from Harvard to pull the keeper failed with 17 seconds left.
Both teams were relatively equal in shots on goal — Yale had 35 to Harvard’s 34 — but it was Lyon who made the difference on the defensive end. Lyon, who had 33 saves on Saturday, received the Tim Taylor Award for the Most Valuable Player of the Harvard-Yale matchup. The award is named in honor of the former Yale head coach who spent 28 years at the helm of the men’s ice hockey team.
“I think it’s really special because it’s the Tim Taylor award,” Lyon said. “That’s the thing that’s most humbling to me because he’s a Yale legend.”
With these two wins, Yale finds itself in a three-way tie with Colgate and Dartmouth for fifth in the ECAC.
Fallen, who had an assist in addition to his goal on Friday, remarked that the team has improved rapidly over the past few games.
“I think we just need to keep forming our identity as a team and this weekend was a good testament to that,” Fallen said.
The team will be back on the road next weekend for games against Cornell and Colgate.