In the Yale men’s hockey team’s first crack of the 2015–16 season at its undefeated rivals from Hamden, the No. 10 Bulldogs fell 3–0 to No. 2/3 Quinnipiac in front of a sellout crowd at Ingalls Rink on Friday night. Four power play opportunities were not enough for Yale to overcome a stingy Quinnipiac defense, which limited the home side to just 22 shots.
For the Elis (5–3–2, 3–2–2 ECAC Hockey), the game marked their second-consecutive matchup with a top-three ranked team — and also their second-consecutive loss. With the win, Quinnipiac (14–0–2, 5–0–2) continues the longest unbeaten start for an Division-I team since 1995.
“I thought it was a pretty even game,” head coach Keith Allain ’80 said. “They were able to capitalize on their scoring opportunities, and we weren’t.”
The first period was largely controlled by the Bobcats, whose third-ranked defensive unit shut down the Bulldog offense for most of the frame. After a power-play chance just 12 seconds into the game and three early shots, Yale could not manage to put a puck on Quinnipiac goaltender Michael Garteig for a span that listed nearly 15 minutes.
The visitors had the two best scoring chances of the period for either team. But two blocked shots by defenseman Adam Larkin ’18 on a Quinnipiac power play, and later a pad save by goaltender Alex Lyon ’17 to deny a Bobcat breakaway, kept both teams scoreless heading into the first intermission.
Nevertheless, it did not take much time for Quinnipiac to convert on its opportunities after coming out of the locker room. At just 1:31 into the second period, Quinnipiac forward Tim Clifton took a pass near the left side of the crease from Bobcat captain Soren Jonzzon and slipped the puck past Lyon’s glove. The goal, Clifton’s ninth of the season, gave the junior a share of the ECAC Hockey lead in that category alongside fellow Bobcat forward Sam Anas, who had just one shot in the game but was on the ice for two of Quinnipiac’s goals.
Although the Bulldogs managed to keep Quinnipiac off the scoreboard for the remainder of the period — Yale allowed just six shots on goal during the second — the Bobcat defense continued to stymie the home team’s attack. The Elis entered the game averaging 11.2 shots per period but were held to just 12 in the first and second frames combined.
The Bobcats doubled their lead right at the outset of the third period, when Quinnipiac forward Landon Smith grabbed the puck near the Yale bench and rifled a blast into the top left corner.
Yale responded with a threatening possession that lasted several minutes early in the third period, with two open shot chances for forward Ted Hart ’19 and defenseman Ryan Obuchowski ’16. But Hart’s shot hit the pipe and Obuchowski’s missed wide, and Garteig was ultimately able to finish his ECAC Hockey-leading fifth shutout.
“He’s a quality goaltender,” Allain said of Garteug. “I thought we were slow to shoot on a couple of occasions, we put a couple right in his belly, but he did a nice job, for sure.”
With under two minutes to play, Bobcat defenseman Devon Toews, assisted by Jonzzon, sealed victory for his team with his third goal of the season.
The loss, which marked the second time Yale has been kept off the scoreboard in three 2015–16 home contests, stretched Yale’s winless streak against Quinnipiac to seven games.
“We’re close, but we’re not where we need to be,” Allain said. “We have time, and we’ll continue to work to get better. I have a good group in there, but we’ve got some work to do.”
The Bulldogs next take on Princeton Saturday at 7 p.m in their last conference game before the new year.