The Yale men’s hockey team continued its Jekyll and Hyde displays in upstate New York this weekend. The Elis battled back to tie No. 12 Cornell 2–2 on Saturday before failing to show up against Colgate in a Sunday matinee and reaped the rewards of their indifference in a frustrating 4–2 loss.
The two games were pushed back a day by the snowstorm that pummeled the Northeast on Thursday, but the delay did not appear to faze the Bulldogs on Saturday. Yale (10–10–5, 6–8–4 ECAC Hockey) fell into an early hole against the Big Red (16–6–3, 11–4–3), but two goals from forward Ted Hart ’19, the latter a dramatic equalizer with only moments to play, rescued a precious point. However, Sunday proved a different tale, as the Elis conceded three times in the third period against Colgate (8–17–5, 6–10–2) to let the hopes of a successful weekend slip through their fingers.
“We didn’t put together a full 60-minute effort in either of the games this weekend,” Hart said. “We were too easy in our own end and we didn’t create enough offense. We didn’t bring the same energy and compete level to Sunday’s game that we had the previous night. Everyone needs to put forth a better effort next weekend if we want to be successful.”
The Elis dropped a pair of difficult decisions last weekend to bring their six-game unbeaten streak to a shuddering halt. They looked in line for more of the same early on with a listless opening stanza. The talented Cornell frontline, which features four National Hockey League draftees, blitzed the Bulldogs to the tune of two early goals.
Forward Anthony Angello gave the Big Red an early lead, doubling his season tally against Yale when he beat goaltender Sam Tucker ’19 off an Eli turnover in the neutral zone. Puck security has been a significant issue for the Bulldogs in recent weeks, as they have frequently struggled to clear the zone on the first attempt.
A defensive slip-up created Cornell’s second goal, from forward Jeff Kubiak at 14:20 of the first, before the Big Red earned a penalty shot with just over two minutes to play in the frame. However, forward Trevor Yates, the team’s leading scorer, flicked his backhander high over the net to let the Elis off the hook.
The Bulldogs ratcheted up their game during the break and made their 13–7 shot advantage in the middle act count as they halved the deficit. Hart found the rebound of his own shot and deftly tucked the puck past Cornell netminder Mitch Gillam at 8:02 of the second.
Yale continued to exert pressure on the Big Red cage, with the best chance coming from forward Mike Doherty ’17 who rang the post with a wrister, but proved unable to find a breakthrough until the dying embers of the game. Forward Chris Izmirlian ’17, who dished out two helpers on the night, won a face-off that lay invitingly for Hart, who ripped a rocket past Gillam short side to tie the score with 4:40 left on the clock. Neither team found a winner in the remainder of the third or overtime.
Tucker made 28 saves for the Bulldogs, while the penalty kill continued its recent strong play, denying Cornell on its quartet of player-advantage opportunities. The Eli attack, toothless in the first period, found its bite in the latter stages, eventually forcing Gillam into 35 saves on the night.
“We started off slow,” defender Charlie Curti ’19 said. “But [we] got back to our game in the second and third periods which allowed us to control the tempo and get back in the game.”
The momentum flowed over into the game on Sunday, as forward Frank DiChiara ’17 fired Yale ahead on the power play towards the tail end of the first with a powerful slapshot. However, the discipline issues that have plagued the Bulldogs throughout the season rose to the fore again, and it would be the Colgate power play that ended up making the decisive impact.
The officials whistled Yale five times for infractions in the second period. Although Tucker made a sublime penalty shot save for the second consecutive day, turning away Hunter Racine’s backhander, Colgate pulled level on one of its player advantage opportunities to leave the final result in the balance at the conclusion of the penultimate period.
The Raiders jumped ahead just 40 seconds into the final frame through leading scorer Tim Harrison’s ninth finish of the campaign. Hart continued his barnstorming weekend by netting the equalizer just past the halfway mark. Defender Adam Larkin ’18 split the Colgate defense with a deft pass, and despite Hart’s initial shot being turned aside, the forward flicked the rebound home on the backhand to tie the game.
The impasse lasted for barely two minutes as the Raiders took the lead for good in controversial circumstances. Forward John Snodgrass careened into Tucker just after sliding the puck over the line, but after conferring, the officials let the goal stand. To compound the Elis’ misery, defender Anthony Walsh ’19 was sent to the box on the same play for hooking, and the Raiders exploited the player advantage.
A centering pass found Colgate captain Jake Kulevich out front. Bulldog defender Dan O’Keefe ’17 proved unable to get the puck out of his skates and it trickled agonizingly across the line to confirm another disappointing defeat. The combination of poor puck security and taking too many penalties spelled a weekend that leaves Yale slipping down the table and more concerned with securing a top-eight league finish than cracking the top four.
“The results are disappointing, but we showed good heart … in both games,” Tucker said. “As a unit we need to continue to work hard everyday in practice and know that it will translate to success in games.”
After picking up just one point this weekend, Yale sits at seventh place in the ECAC, now only one point ahead of Princeton and two above Dartmouth and Colgate.
The Elis return to Ingalls Arena next weekend to face Harvard and Dartmouth.