The Yale men’s hockey team fell on the losing side twice this past weekend on the road against Colgate and No. 4 Cornell.
The Bulldogs (1–3, 1–3 ECAC Hockey) journeyed north to take on the pair of conference foes in New York, yet the Blue and White displayed fragility during travel play. Colgate (2–5–3, 1–1) entered the weekend ranked below the Elis and held a 2–0 advantage up until the third period, when Curtis Hall ’22 slotted the one and only point for Yale. While the Bulldogs were able to keep themselves out of the penalty box in contrast to their last matchup against Brown, the Raiders’ defense stood tall, blocking 34 out of 35 of Yale’s shots on goal. The Elis then traveled up north to take on the fourth-ranked hockey team in the nation, Cornell (4–0, 2–0). For all three periods of last Saturday’s contest, the Big Red played true to its ranking. From perfectly executed coast-to-coasts to wraparound apples expertly one-timed from the slot, Cornell displayed some of the highest levels of collegiate hockey played across the country. Unfortunately for the Bulldogs, they happened to be in the crossfire.
“The games this weekend were learning experiences for our team,” defenseman Phil Kemp ’21 said. “The outcome was not what we wanted. We’re gonna learn from it and get back to work this week. We’re focused on Dartmouth Friday night — we need a win. We will do whatever it takes to get it done. It’s back to work, nose to the grindstone. This week we have to take steps to get better as a team. We’ll be ready to go on Friday night.”
Colgate got off the stops hard at the Class of 1965 Arena, finding the back of the net twice within a 78-second span during the first period. At 7:49, rookie forward Colton Young struck the Elis down 1–0 after receiving a beautifully-timed pass from fellow first-year forward Arnaud Vachon. Soon afterwards, forward Paul McAvoy snagged a rebound following a premature block by Yale goalie Corbin Kaczperski ’20.
A stagnant second period on both sides preserved the 2–0 Raider advantage, yet the Bulldogs ramped up their offense in the second and third periods. After outshooting the Elis by 10 in the first, Colgate let up its offense in the latter frames, only putting up seven to Yale’s 26 shots on goal in the final 40 minutes. Finally uncovering a gap in Colgate’s armor two minutes into the third, forward Justin Pearson ’22 found Hall in the slot, who then one-timed the puck over goalie Mitch Benson’s right shoulder.
“Against Colgate, we had a tough first and then took over the second and third,” forward Luke Stevens ’20 said. “That was something we needed to focus on, getting off to a good start, and scoring the first goal is huge for us. Especially in the ECAC, and against teams like Cornell and those top teams, you can’t play 40 minutes of hockey and expect to win. You have to play a full 60 … we have to be ready from the drop of the puck.”
The Blue and White lost its first game against the Raiders in its attempt at a fifth consecutive win against the Hamilton-based school. Colgate has shown substantial strength thus far, tying No. 11 Providence 3–3 and defeating No. 14 UMass Lowell 4–3 earlier in the season. Still, the Raiders have yet to appear in the top 30 themselves.
The Elis then hit the road to take on the unbeaten Big Red in Ithaca. While both teams wound up finishing with the same number of shots on goal, the dissimilitude of pucks that found the back of the net was not in the Bulldogs’ favor on Saturday. Cornell managed to light the lamp twice within the first five minutes of play, with the second gino in particular consisting of as beautiful a play as one could draw up. Forward Jack Malone, who was handed the puck at the left hash, perfectly dished it out to defenseman Sam Malinski stationed at the right point. While Malinski had an open shot at the net, he instead hit defenseman Joe Leahy in stride as he was skating from the far corner. Leahy had an open path to the crease, and Kaczperski stood no chance in stopping the ensuing backhand that made it 2–0 Cornell.
Eight minutes later, forward Morgan Barron — the skater responsible for the Big Red’s first goal — continued to make his presence felt. Kaczperski failed to successfully carry out a sweeping check to impede a Cornell wraparound, yet he nevertheless managed to get his left skate in the path of the backhanded biscuit. The resulting rebound, however, found the stick of Barron, who easily cleaned it up on an exposed part of the goal to hand Yale a disconcerting three-point disadvantage with seven minutes remaining in the first. While the Blue and White managed to stave off the Big Red for the remainder of the period with intense forechecking, that aggressive style of defense backfired for the Bulldogs on a power play early in the second, when a neutral zone pass led to a four-on-two rush — culminating in a Barron slapshot to the four hole for his third goal of the game and first career hat trick.
The Elis, despite facing a four-goal deficit, displayed great perseverance and doggedness as the game forged ahead. Three minutes after Barron had secured his hat trick, as a power play expired, Yale began working the puck from point to point, with defenseman Kemp expertly one-timing the puck on an open look that got a lucky deflection off a Big Red skater before unexpectedly gliding through the legs of goalie Matthew Galajda. Yet Cornell would again take advantage of the power play — answering back just two minutes later to take a 5–1 lead into the final period of play. A well-executed coast-to-coast to begin the third from the Big Red handed the Blue and White an insuperable five-point hole. The Bulldogs made a valiant attempt to claw back into the game with a shortside goal from forward Will D’Orsi ’20, but it would not be enough as the Elis skated off of Lynah Rink with a 6–2 loss.
“Last weekend was not the outcome we were looking for, but we are going to learn from our mistakes in those games to improve as a team and get ready for this upcoming weekend,” defenseman Graham Lillibridge ’22 said. “We have shown at times that we are a very good team, but we have not been able to put together a full 60 minutes yet. Our focus this week will be to get back to playing like our team identity which is a fast-pac[ed] and hard to play against team all over the ice. We look forward to playing two complete games this weekend and putting ourselves in a good position to get four points.”
The Bulldogs return to home ice next weekend to face off against Dartmouth on Friday and rival Harvard on Saturday. Both games will be hosted at Ingalls Rink at 7 p.m.
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