This weekend, the Yale Bulldogs — now 7-2-0 in their last nine contests — will take on Ivy rival Brown in a two-game bout. One will be hosted at the Whale, while the other will be at Meehan Auditorium in Providence.
Coming off a dominant Rivalry on Ice win against Harvard at Madison Square Garden last weekend, the Elis look to carry the momentum. The Bulldogs (9-4-2, 4-3-1 ECAC) and Bears (4-11-0, 1-7-0 ECAC) both have split their last two games, with Brown’s most recent win coming against Providence this past Saturday.
After claiming victory against what was at the time considered the third best Division I team in the country, the Bulldogs are prepared for another ECAC contest.
“After the big win against Harvard at MSG, we do feel a bit more confident, but I believe that the confidence does not stem from just a single game,” captain and defenseman Tommy Fallen ’15 said. “The atmosphere and camaraderie has been outstanding and we are continuing to realize how important it is to play hard for each other every single day.”
Now in the latter half of the season, every game has a substantial impact on the team’s standing in the ECAC, and no two games epitomize that reality more than the upcoming contests against Brown. Currently, Yale ranks seventh in the ECAC with nine points. Brown has come up short in league play this year, having garnered only two points. Should Yale come away with all four points possible this weekend, the Elis could theoretically make the jump to third place.
“This weekend is a huge weekend for us not only because there is a possible four points in ECAC standings, but also in Ivy league standings,” forward Chris Izmirlian ’17 said. “We just need to stick to our structures, high intensity in the game and team play, starting with great defense that is hard to play against.“
Headed into this weekend, three teams — Clarkson, St. Lawrence and Rensselaer — are tied for fourth with 10 points apiece, making the league extremely competitive.
However, the Elis are not looking too far ahead. Instead, they are focusing on the task at hand, one game at a time. The first of the two games this weekend, hosted at Meehan, may pose a particular challenge, as Yale has traditionally come up short against Brown on the road.
“We’ve struggled recently when we’ve played Brown up at their rink,” defenseman Matt Killian ’15 said earlier this week. “We need to have a good week of practice and be ready to come out flying both Friday and Saturday nights.”
Nevertheless, the Bulldogs are up for the challenge, according to Fallen. With leading scorer John Hayden ’17 back in the lineup after serving as alternate captain for the U.S. World Junior Championships entry, now with a few games under his belt since his return, the team is looking stronger than ever. To be successful, the Elis must keep up the pace they have so dominantly established over the last few games, trumping Harvard 4–1 at Madison Square Garden and going 3–0 against top-20 teams.
“We need to continue to play with intensity and speed.” Hayden said. “If we keep playing as a team we should have a lot of success moving forward.”
Yale’s next two games against Brown are on the Friday and Saturday; the first at Brown at 7:30 p.m. and the second at Yale at 7:00 p.m.