For the third consecutive weekend, the Yale men’s hockey team combined a dominating victory with a lopsided loss to salvage a split.
The Bulldogs blasted St. Lawrence (1–10–1, 0–3–1 ECAC Hockey) 6–1 on Friday before slipping to a 4–1 defeat to No. 11 Clarkson (8–3–1, 4–0–0) the following night. Yale (3–3–0, 3–3–0) annihilated the Saints behind a hat trick from forward Dante Palecco ’21. Yet, the Bulldogs were unable to translate that momentum into a four-point weekend as a trio of second-period Clarkson goals over a five-minute span put the contest on ice.
“The takeaway [from this weekend] is we can be a really good hockey team when we want to be, but we can’t have 10-minute letdowns like we did tonight,” captain and forward Ryan Hitchcock ’18 said.
During the opening period of Friday’s contest against St. Lawrence, it appeared as though the Bulldogs would suffer their second loss. A slow start for both squads kept the game scoreless until Saints forward Alex Gilmour found his way past Yale goaltender Sam Tucker ’19. Just over three minutes later, the Elis answered with a goal of their own. The line of forwards Ted Hart ’19, Evan Smith ’20 and Mitchell Smith ’20 evened the scores when Mitchell Smith dished to his brother Evan Smith from behind the net who wristed home the equalizer.
The score remained tied as the first period came to a close, but another trio of Yale forwards dominated the second period. Palecco netted his first goal as a Bulldog 32 seconds into the middle frame and scored the second of his three goals six minutes later. Yale’s fourth goal came halfway through the contest. Assisted by a length-of-the-ice pass from defender Billy Sweezey ’20, forward Joe Snively ’19 blasted a rocket top shelf on the breakaway to give the Elis a generous three-goal lead and ended St. Lawrence goaltender Arthur Brey’s night. After giving up four goals on just 15 shots, Brey was pulled in favor of sophomore Daniel Mannella.
“I was pretty excited to play this weekend since I was getting the chance to play on a line with two exceptional players in Ryan Hitchcock and Joe Snively,” Palecco said. “The three goals was definitely special [and] definitely a huge credit to my teammates, none of the goals would’ve happened without them.”
Mannella did no better than his predecessor in halting Yale’s offensive. Six minutes into the third period, Saints forward Joe Sullivan was penalized for roughing, and Yale scored its
second power-play goal of the season. Once again, it was Palecco who found the back of the net, tallying his fourth point of the night and completing his hat trick for Yale’s fifth goal.
When Evan Smith was assessed a major penalty for contact to the head and ejected with just over seven minutes to play, forward Will D’Orsi ’20 served the penalty and Yale’s penalty kill unit assumed the ice for the next five minutes. Even shorthanded, the Bulldogs not only kept the Saints out of the goal but also added a sixth goal of their own. Snively scored with three minutes remaining, his second shorthanded goal in the past two games, to seal the 6–1 win.
“Every line was generating momentum throughout the game and when you have the momentum good things happen,” Palecco said. “Guys were playing our systems the right way which helps. Especially our line, I think once we got our feet under us we started making plays and putting the puck in the net.”
After a dominant performance, the Elis struggled the following night, ultimately falling 4–1 to Clarkson. Unlike in Friday night’s game, Yale jumped out to an early lead late in the first period against the Golden Knights. Hitchcock slid a cross-ice pass to an open Palecco right in front of the goal, and the rookie fired a shot that sailed straight past Clarkson goaltender Jake Kielly. The Elis outshot their nationally ranked opponent 13–8 in the opening period, but their offensive control came to a grinding halt with the end of the frame.
The Golden Knights blitzed for three goals to effectively secure the points. Clarkson tied up the game early in the second period with a goal from forward Josh Dickinson, who scored twice in the team’s victory over Brown on Friday. Clarkson’s leading scorer, forward Sheldon Rempal, scored the next goal of the game, putting his team ahead for the first time in the contest six minutes into the second period. On the ensuing play, just 37 seconds later, the Golden Knights strengthened their lead with a goal from forward Brett Gervais.
Yale’s best shot at closing the two-goal deficit came on a breakaway from Snively with five minutes left to play, but Kielly denied the Bulldogs’ leading scorer to preserve his team’s advantage.
After a chippy third period marked by four penalties and a few tufts on the ice, Sweezey was sent to the penalty box for holding. With five minutes remaining and a player advantage, Clarkson defender Terrance Amorosa scored the game’s final goal, putting the nail in Yale’s coffin as his team clinched a three-goal victory.
“Obviously tonight didn’t go the way we wanted it to,” assistant coach Josh Siembida said. “I think you’ve got to give credit to Clarkson, but from our end we have to do a better job of coming out at the start of the game ready to play.”
Yale will head on the road next weekend to take on Princeton and No. 16 Quinnipiac.
Jane Miller | firstname.lastname@example.org