The Yale men’s hockey team caught fire on the frozen rink this past weekend as the Bulldogs skated to a weekend sweep on the road. Five different Elis got on the score sheet on Friday in a 5–3 win at St. Lawrence before the team snagged a 2–1 victory at Clarkson on Saturday to grab four much-needed ECAC points.
Yale (5–2–2, 4–2–1 ECAC) now owns a four-game unbeaten streak, a far cry from its lackluster 2–2–1 start to the season. With the triumphs over the Saints (2–11–1, 0–3–1) and Golden Knights (8–5–0, 2–2), the Bulldogs seem to have turned over a new leaf after their trip to Ireland over Thanksgiving break. Momentum was firmly on the Elis’ side during the weekend trip to upstate New York. An explosion on offense has also occurred since the puck dropped in Belfast, with the Elis finding the goal on 14 different occasions since then.
“I think the effort from the guys this weekend was great all around,” defenseman and captain Anthony Walsh ’19 said. “Both games we started really well and were able to keep that pace up for the entire 60 minutes.”
Friday’s contest saw the Bulldogs jump out to an early 3–0 lead in Canton. Forwards Evan Smith ’20, Joe Snively ’19 and Walsh all scored to leave the home crowd stunned into silence. Both Smith and Snively found the back of the net with impressive snipes over the Saints’ goalie. The first-ever collegiate goal from forward Justin Pearson ’22 only furthered the gap between the two sides early on in the match. Yale led 4–0 midway through the second period.
The Bulldogs then fell victim to complacency as their defensive organization slacked. St. Lawrence rallied to score the next three tallies and make it a one-goal contest for most of the third period. The Saints harassed the Elis and pushed for the equalizer for the majority of the rest of the game. However, they suffered some poor decision-making to gift Yale a five-on-three power play. Defenseman Charlie Curti ’19 made the most of this opportunity and fired the puck into the net. The final horn sounded with the score 5–3 in Yale’s favor.
“I felt like we were definitely the better team,” goalie Corbin Kaczperski ’20 said. “We went up early by a few and we kind of let off the gas a bit, and that’s how they clawed back into the game. I didn’t have a very good game, but luckily for me, the team picked up my slack and buried five goals for me.”
The Bulldogs then drove all but 20 minutes down the road to Potsdam to face off against Clarkson in a rough-and-tumble type of showdown on Saturday.
Forward Luke Stevens ’20 struck first for the Blue and White a mere 72 seconds into the game. The junior deftly redirected a shot from defenseman Jack St. Ivany ’22 past the netminder. The offense was in full flow for the remainder of the game, with Yale directing 38 total shots on target during the match.
“I think we skated well again,” Stevens said. “The night before we got off to a hot start against St. Lawrence, and I think we did that again at Clarkson. We forechecked hard and were able to cause some turnovers which led to some quality chances. Our starts are definitely something we are taking pride in. If we can hop on our opponent early, the better off we will be.”
The Knights rebounded late in the first period on a one-man advantage, leaving the score all knotted up at the end of the frame.
Forward Dante Palecco ’21 then scored what turned out to be the game-winner midway through the second. Palecco found the back of the net for a power-play goal, with Snively and fellow forward Kevin O’Neil ’21 helping out with the assist.
“The goal was a great entry from Kevin O’Neil,” Palecco said. “He took guys out of position to give it to me in the slot, and you need to convert on those opportunities, so it was big we did.”
Yale returns to Ingalls Rink next weekend to play against Rensselaer and No. 11 Union. Both games start at 7 p.m.
Bill Gallagher | email@example.com