Despite a valiant attempt to hold off No. 6 Clarkson on Friday night, yet the Yale men’s hockey team fell 3–1 to the Golden Knights before tying St. Lawrence 2–2 on their Empire State road trip.
The weekend commenced against a strong ECAC foe Clarkson (19–6–2, 12–3–0 ECAC Hockey), who ranks first in the league and sixth in the nation. However, the Bulldogs (9–11–1, 6–7–1), undeterred by the home team’s prowess or the memory of its November 4–1 victory over the Elis, gave a strong showing in the North Country. Forward Tyler Welsh ’21 put up the only goal for Yale late in the first frame. However, it was only in the dying embers of the third when the Knights capitalized on an empty net that Blue and White truly fell out of contention for the win. Against St. Lawrence (3–20–4, 1–13–1), the weakest ECAC link, the Bulldogs held a 2–1 lead early in the third, yet the Saints bounced, and the score finalized at two apiece.
“Our game against Clarkson was overall a solid effort despite coming out on the losing end,” defenseman Michael Young ’23 said. “They are at the top of the ECAC right now as they are a strong, talented team, and we battled with them for the full 60 minutes. Against St. Lawrence on Saturday, we were facing a team that is better than their record shows … there were times when we were on our heels and times when we dictated the pace of play, too.”
Though the Bulldogs eventually fell 3–1 to Clarkson, the Blue and White put up a dogged fight unrepresented by the final score. Just over 10 minutes passed before either side registered on the scoreboard. The Knights eventually struck first and Clarkson acquired a comfortable 2–0 lead on a series of power plays. Welsh proved to be the only Bulldog to crack Clarkson star goalie Frank Marotte less than a minute after the Knights’ second tally. Yale forced a turnover on the Clarkson blue line and forward Justin Pearson ’22 delivered the biscuit to Welsh — who shot between the pipes from the slot.
After a scoreless second period, the Elis vied for an equalizer in the third. With under two minutes left, a tripping penalty on a Clarkson player and the removal of netminder Corbin Kaczperski ’20 set Yale up for a two-man advantage. Unfortunately for the visiting team, the Blue and White failed to capitalize, and the Knights found the open net with one second left in the game.
The Golden Knights now lead the conference in points, just ahead of No. 1 Cornell.
“I think the biggest thing for us this weekend was our commitment to team defense, which was really good,” defenseman Matthew Foley ’20 said. “We didn’t get the results we wanted, but that’s definitely something we’re going to build around going forward and should help us string together some wins.”
The next day, the Blue and White took a 10-minute drive down U.S. Route 11 for its matchup against St. Lawrence. The game was a low-scoring battle defined by quick answers to opposing goals. It was the home team that kicked off the scoring first, with a Saint in the neutral zone dishing out a cross-ice assist to forward Keenan Suthers. Suthers one-timed it from the edge of the blue paint to give his squad a 1–0 lead.
Five minutes later, it seemed that lady luck was in attendance for the Bulldogs in the newly renovated Appleton Arena. Pearson, stationed at the left hash on a man advantage, took a shot that the Saint’s goalie did an excellent job of getting a left pad on. Yet, the biscuit miraculously took an odd bounce, hit the post and trickled into the net past the unsuspecting goalie to equalize the game at one.
Both defenses buckled down throughout the second period, with the Elis making key plays. St. Lawrence accumulated three power play opportunities during the middle frame, yet, somehow, Yale prevented the Saints from nearing the crease.
In the opening minutes of the final period, it was another series of unfortunate events for the Saints netminder. After stopping back-to-back shot attempts from forward Luke Stevens ’20 and Young, forward Kevin O’Neil ’21 was in the right place at the right time to jam home the rebound from the edge of the blue paint to give his team a 2–1 advantage.
Yet, in a game of answers, St. Lawrence fulfilled the narrative. Less than a minute after O’Neil’s goal, Suthers cleaned up a rebound from the post for his second goal of the night. With the score tied at two, Yale had a chance to break the tie in the waning seconds of the period with a power play. Nevertheless, St. Lawrence’s defense came up big in holding the Bulldogs shotless. In a closely competitive game, a new chapter was added — overtime.
While the Elis outshot the Saints 4–1 in the extra frame and were gifted a man-advantage in the last 51 seconds, the puck did not hit the back of the net for Yale. The game finished in a tie for the season’s first time for the Bulldogs, who now move to 6–7–1 in conference play.
“Although we wanted to come away with two points, picking up a point is valuable nonetheless,” Young said. “The past weekend highlights how much parity there is within the ECAC, as we faced the top team and the last-place team, and both games were hard fought battles.”
The Bulldogs return to the Whale next weekend to compete against No. 18 Quinnipiac and Princeton.
Jared Fel | firstname.lastname@example.org
Margaret Hedeman | email@example.com