With Yale feeling the pressure from top-ranking league competitors like Harvard and Quinnipiac, the men’s hockey squad emerged victorious from a duo of critical games against Brown.
In its pair of weekend clashes against the Bears, Yale’s defensive acumen led the way as the Bulldogs (11–4–2, 6–3–1 ECAC) produced two wins and four points while allowing just a single goal to the Bears (4–13–0, 1–9–0 ECAC).
During the Bulldogs’ first matchup against the Bears, goaltender Alex Lyon ’17 led an impressive defensive stand by the Elis, producing 28 saves and a shutout in Yale’s 1–0 win over Brown. In a contest where Yale out-shot the Bears 36–28, it was only a matter of time before the Bulldogs found the net. And in the second period, defender Rob O’Gara ’16 capitalized on an Elis power play to fire the game winner past Brown’s Tyler Steele, who seemed nearly impenetrable for much of the game.
Despite Steele’s 35 saves, O’Gara, Lyon and the Bulldogs came out on top in a gritty, defensive contest.
“I would say that any time you can get four points out of a weekend it was definitely a successful one,” O’Gara said. “We were aggressive and stuck to our structure and team game and were able to really take the game to Brown all over the ice.”
Yale’s second matchup against Brown produced an even more decisive win, as the Elis’s offense powered the hockey squad to a 5–1 thrashing of the Bears. Though the game began as a close contest, with first period goals from Mike Doherty ’17 and Brown’s Nick Lappin, Yale blew the gates wide open in the second period, scoring four goals in rapid succession.
John Hayden ’17 put the Bulldogs ahead within seven minutes, while O’Gara, Nate Repensky ’18 and Matt Killian ’15 swiftly put the game out of reach.
“We’ve been getting better as the season has progressed and sweeping Brown is rewarding and shows that we’ve also matured as a team,” Hayden said. “We have a lot of ECAC and Ivy games ahead; and some of the keys will be continuing to play as a team and not be content — we want to stay motivated.”
The Elis, currently sitting at fifth in the ECAC, are seven points from the top of the table. However, they have played fewer conference games than any other team in the top five. While Yale still has to perform at the top of their game to overtake those ahead of them, the Elis will have the opportunity to leapfrog another top five squad on its upcoming road trip when they take on the St. Lawrence Saints. Since the Saints have 14 points compared to Yale’s 13, the Elis could soon move into third place in the ECAC if they maintain its winning ways — and coming away with another four-point trip.
“I think the main reason we were successful this weekend is because we just went out and played a great team game both nights,” forward Frank Dichiara ’17 said. “We played great hockey in all three zones, competed and we won battles all over the ice. When we play that way we are a tough team to play against.”
Yale’s next Ivy League matchup comes against Princeton on Friday, Jan. 30 at Ingalls Rink.