Playing without head coach Keith Allain ’80 for the third consecutive week, the Yale men’s hockey team continued its hot streak on the road by garnering a crucial 4–3 victory over Colgate before falling to No. 3 Cornell in a hard-fought one-goal defeat.
The Bulldogs (14–12–1, 9–10–1 ECAC Hockey) settled for a two-point weekend following two consecutive weekend sweeps as Yale used a three-goal surge late in the game on Friday to draw closer to the Raiders in the conference standings race. A 36-save performance from goalie Corbin Kaczperski ’20 nearly earned the Bulldogs another triumph in the Empire State on Saturday, but two third-period goals from the nationally ranked Big Red (22–3–2, 16–2–2) allowed Cornell to escape with a 3–2 victory.
“It’s tough this time of year to be completely satisfied with a split,” defenseman Adam Larkin ’18 said. “It was good to go into Colgate and get a win even though we didn’t feel we played our best brand of hockey. But even with Cornell being nationally ranked, it stings to lose a third period lead at this stage of the season when every point counts in the standings. Things are so tight in the battle for home ice in the first round of the playoffs that we need to focus on playing great hockey and coming away with two points every night.”
After Colgate killed off an early power-play chance for Yale to keep the game scoreless, the Raiders struck first on a goal from Josh McKechney at 8:33 in the first period to take a 1–0 lead. Bulldog forward Joe Snively ’19 scored a hat trick in his most recent outing against Princeton last Saturday and stayed hot by beating Colgate goalie Bruce Racine for his 16th goal of the season to bring Yale level at 1–1 in the first.
Goalie Sam Tucker ’19, who stopped 30 shots in the game, conceded his second goal of the game to John Snodgrass early in the second period as the Raiders pulled ahead 2–1. That tally marked the beginning of a lengthy scoring drought for Colgate, who failed to net another goal until Mike Panowyk scored with 53 seconds left to play in the game. Yale took advantage of its opposition’s inept offense by scoring three straight goals over a roughly 20-minute stretch to seize a commanding 4–2 lead.
Forward Luke Stevens ’20 ignited the scoring streak for the Bulldogs with a goal to even the game at 2–2 in the second period before forward Robbie DeMontis ’20 also got in on the action with his sixth tally of the season. The third goal came from Snively who netted his second tally of the evening.
That proved to be the game winner for Yale, the junior-forward’s fifth game-winning goal of the season and his team-leading 17th score. Despite Panowyk’s third-period goal, Colgate failed to score again in the 4–3 defeat as the Elis exited Class of 1965 Arena with a crucial victory to keep pace with the Raiders in the conference standings race.
Yale took to the ice at Lynah Rink on Saturday looking to extend its winning streak to six games against No. 3 Cornell. Kaczperski, who entered the game with a 6–2–0 record in net, stood tall for the Bulldogs early on, making 14 first-period saves to keep the Big Red at bay.
Even with a brief of period of four-on-four ice time 10 minutes into the contest, Yale also failed to find the game’s opening goal thanks to Cornell goalie Matthew Galajda’s netminding efforts as the two teams skated into the first intermission locked in a scoreless draw. The second period finally saw an uptick in offense when the Elis’ anemic power play produced just its tenth goal of the season on a shot from defenseman Phil Kemp ’21 to put Yale ahead 1–0 at 5:29 in the middle stanza.
“At this point in the year we’re not satisfied with splitting weekends by any means, and any loss to an Ivy League opponent is a disappointment,” captain and forward Ryan Hitchcock ’18 said. “That being said, there were a lot of positives to build on, such as our power play.”
But special teams proved to be a double-edged sword for the Bulldogs later in the period when Cornell evened the score at 1–1 on a power-play tally from Tristan Mullin less than two minutes before the start of the second intermission. With 29 combined penalty minutes in the first two periods, the pair of teams headed into the final frame looking to find a decisive finish.
Yale vaulted ahead just 1:28 into the third period as defenseman Charlie Curti ’19 became the second blueliner to get on the scoreboard for the Elis when he fired a shot past Galajda. Curti’s tally also marked the second power-play goal of the game for the Bulldogs as a Big Red high sticking penalty at 19:29 in the second period carried over into the final frame. The Bulldogs’ lead did not last for long, however, as Jared Fiegl scored for Cornell midway through the third period to tie it at two goals apiece.
After settling for an overtime tie following a late Yale goal in their last meeting, Cornell flipped the script on the Elis by scoring with just 1:47 remaining on another goal from Mullin to secure a 3–2 victory and deny Yale its third straight weekend sweep. The Big Red victory also denied the Bulldogs a resume-boosting victory as Yale looks to make a late postseason run with four regular season matchups still left to play.
“You always go into a weekend hoping to get four points but those are both good hockey teams,” defender Brian Matthews ’21 said. “Although we fell short against Cornell, we played well and proved we can play with and beat teams of that rankings which is especially important as we head into the playoffs.”
Yale returns home next weekend to take on Dartmouth and Harvard.
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