Courtesy of Mitchell Smith
The Yale men’s ice hockey team found itself on both sides of a 4–2 scoreboard this weekend, losing to Cornell (2–2–0, 2–0–0 ECAC Hockey) on Friday before bouncing back to sweep Colgate (2–4–1, 0–1–1) on Saturday.
“Colgate was a great win for the team and a step in the right direction for us,” goalie Corbin Kaczperski ’20 said. “As for Cornell … after facing adversity and going down three goals, it’s easy to pack it in and give up, but we battled until the very end of that game and made it interesting. Everyone in the locker room believes we are better than Cornell — we just didn’t show it on Friday.”
The Elis (2–1, 2–1–0) were taken aback by a No. 17 Big Red side that jumped out to 2–0 lead in the first period and added a third goal less than two minutes into the second. Cornell outshot the Bulldogs 9–2 in the opening stanza, which paid off grandly with the opening pair of goals. The first goal featured a well-worked power play score while the second was a result of a three-zone dash by the Big Red.
Nevertheless, the Bulldogs worked hard to get back into the game. Forward Dante Palecco ’21 netted a power play goal midway through the second period to cut the deficit by one heading into the final period. Fellow forward Joe Snively ’19 then made the game competitive by scoring the Elis’ second goal on the man-advantage with 7:53 left on the game clock. Unfortunately for Yale, Cornell sealed the deal with under a minute left in the game after the Bulldogs pulled Kaczperski to leave behind an open net — allowing the home squad to ice the two-goal victory.
“Cornell is always a strong opponent, and we had a slow start to the game, which gave them some momentum and led to 2–0 deficit going into the second period,” Palecco said. “Our guys know how tough it is to win in this league, and we have to show up for a full 60 minutes, and we cannot take any shifts off in order to ensure a win. Puck battles were a big part of the game, and we did not win enough of them. It was nice to see our power play click, especially early in the year. We battled back Friday, but it just wasn’t enough.”
Yale was statistically outplayed by its ECAC adversary. The Big Red had 29 shots to the Elis’ 18, while Cornell also dominated in face-offs 52–22. One positive takeaway for the Bulldogs was the ability to score on power plays, a category they struggled in last season. They bettered Cornell 2–1 with both teams given four opportunities on the man-advantage.
Snively’s goal was also his team-leading third tally on the season, after he netted two against Brown. The preseason first-team All-Leaguer has started his senior campaign with force to add to the already impressive mark of more than 100 points for his career.
The Bulldogs rebounded against the Raiders on Saturday by taking an early 3–0 lead into the second period, an advantage Yale would not give up for the rest of the match after its first-period scoring barrage. For the first goal, following an odd-man rush, forward Mitchell Smith ’20 ripped the puck high into the net to at the eight minute mark.
Less than five minutes later, forward Curtis Hall ’22 notched his first collegiate goal on a power play chance. Snively fed a crossing pass to Hall, who maneuvered the puck around Raiders’ goalie Mitch Benson and into the net with a shot from the left circle. The first-year’s hot streak did not end there. Just before the end of the first period on the next man-advantage, Snively sent another pass to Hall, who slipped the puck through the legs of Benson to secure a 3–0 lead for Yale.
“Going into the first goal, we got a fortunate bounce that gave us a quick three-on-one to the net,” Smith said. “The defender was taking away the pass across and gave me a lot of time to shoot, so I took my shot. The big message we got from Cornell was that we need to start the game well in order to give our team a chance at winning. We took that message and applied it to Colgate and made sure our first period was very strong, which it was. We were able to maintain this pressure and compete level through the whole game.”
A penalty-ridden second period gave Colgate the chance to capitalize on a power play that cut the scoring margin to a pair, but Yale pulled ahead with its fourth goal of the night from forward Kevin O’Neil ’21. Despite a late score by the Raiders, Yale goalie Sam Tucker ’19, who finished with 27 saves, secured the two-goal victory by keeping the remainder of the third period scoreless.
The Bulldogs play familiar foes Harvard and Dartmouth this weekend at home. The puck drops in Ingalls Rink against the Crimson on Friday at 7 p.m. and against the Big Green on Saturday at 7 p.m.
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