Steve Musco

The Yale men’s hockey team hits the ice at Ingalls Rink this weekend to match up against conference rival and travel partner Brown (8–9–3, 5–5–3 ECAC Hockey). Tied for first place in the conference with No. 13 Cornell at 17 points, the Bulldogs (10–7–3, 8–4–1) enter Saturday’s match after splitting last weekend’s series in New York.

“Our main focus this weekend is just going to be on ourselves and our game,” captain and defender Anthony Walsh ’19 said. “We know it’ll be a tough matchup against a hot Brown team right now but as long as we play our game, the way we’re capable of, we have total confidence the outcome will take care of itself.”

The Elis last faced the Bears in October in the Bulldogs’ first game of the season. The match was particularly memorable as forward Joe Snively ’19 netted the fastest goal recorded by an ECAC hockey team in its season opener, coming at an incendiary time of 14 seconds. After Brown evened the score 10 minutes later, Snively put the visitors on top again with a wraparound tally.

Not to be outdone, the Bears rebounded early into the second period. The game winner came at the end of the frame when forward Evan Smith ’20 sent a shot into a crowded slot, where teammate and fellow forward Luke Stevens ’20 was screening the goalie. Stevens redirected the puck into the net to secure the 3–2 win for Yale. On the opposite side of the rink, goalie Corbin Kaczperski ’20 recorded 20 saves in the Bulldog victory.

Last weekend, Yale traveled to New York to face No. 18 Union and RPI. Though the Bulldogs dropped the match against the Dutchmen in an overtime 4–3 loss, they bounced back the following night with a 3–2 victory against the Engineers. Yale forward Dante Palecco ’21 opened the scoring with a minute left in the first period to give the Elis a one-goal advantage.

Though RPI evened the score early into the second, forward Robbie DeMontis ’20 recorded his third goal of the weekend with help from Snively and forward Tyler Welsh ’21. Forward Justin Pearson ’22 netted the game-winner halfway into the third. Though the Engineers cut the deficit to one just two minutes later, Kaczperski survived a long penalty kill to secure the win for the Bulldogs.

“Justin has surprised us with how quickly he’s been able to adapt,” head coach Keith Allain ’80 said. “He’s quick and he’s got skill and plays with tenacity. Robbie is a very good player. We use him everywhere and he plays on power plays and penalty kills. His line is clicking right now too.”

Meanwhile, the Bears swept RPI and Union on the road a week ago and are six for eight in their last string of games. In early January, Brown defeated Robert Morris and No. 18 Union to claim the championship title at the Three River Classic in Pittsburgh. The Bears are currently ranked fourth in the conference at 13 points.

Goalkeeper Gavin Nieto was named ECAC Goalie of the Week after posting a .957 save percentage in two games, including a shutout at RPI. His teammate Jake Harris also claimed ECAC Rookie of the Week with a two-point performance. To date, Yale leads the all-time series with Brown at 100–77–8.

“Brown has had a really good season,” Allain said. “They made the same road trip as us and won both games. The other team is always fighting hard too and you’ve got to give them credit. Every game seems to be a close game. I can’t fault our play and our execution. Of course, it’s always good to be playing at home.”

The puck drops 7 p.m. at the Whale.

Bill Gallagher contributed reporting.

Lucy Liu | l.liu@yale.edu