Last Saturday night, the Yale men’s hockey team (0–1–0, 0–1–0 ECAC) commenced its season in Providence, Rhode Island, with a 2–0 loss to Brown (1–0–0, 1–0–0 ECAC).

In their first conference matchup of the 2021-22 campaign, both the Bears and the Bulldogs got off to a fast and enthusiastic start. The contest, however, was characterized by a myriad of visits to the penalty box, with both teams combining for a total of 81 penalty minutes. 

Back-to-back Bears minor penalties early in the game gave the Bulldogs plenty of scoring opportunities, but it was Brown that ultimately opened the floodgates. After finding the back of the net off of a rebound, the Bears closed out the first frame with the lead. 

I thought we played really hard,” sophomore defenseman Ryan Conroy ’24 said. “I think our PK was really solid and our powerplay created opportunities… sadly, we weren’t able to finalize on a couple.”

Trailing by the one, the Bulldogs entered the second period vying for the equalizer. By the 17-minute mark, the Blue and White had peppered Brown goaltender Luke Kania with 13 shots on goal in the period as three additional minors committed by the Bears generated offensive opportunities for the Elis. 

11 seconds after a shot by Yale captain and blueliner Graham Lillibridge ’22 was stopped by Kania, Brown struck once again. At 17:46 in the second period, junior forward Jonny Russell picked up a loose puck and managed to lift in a goal top-shelf short side to give the Bears extra insurance. 

With 20 minutes left in regulation, the Blue and White looked to mount a comeback. Despite entering the final frame with the shots in their favor, the Bulldogs were held to only seven shots on goal by a firm Brown defense core. Tensions also escalated as the contest neared its conclusion, as seven penalties were accumulated by the skaters, including matching face mask and game misconduct majors to Yale senior winger Kyle Johnson ’22 and Brown forward Tristan Crozier. 

With first-year netminder Luke Pearson ’25 pulled, a shot off Conroy’s stick had found its way into the net. The goal, however, was waved off due to goalie interference, and the Bears held on for a 2–0 shutout. 

Despite the loss, this match marked a momentous occasion for the young Bulldogs who dressed for the first game of their collegiate career. Pearson, who recorded a total of 23 saves against Brown, emphasized that getting his first start between the pipes was an unforgettable experience. 

“My teammates were really supportive which helped calm the nerves,” Pearson noted. “I was really excited when I first stepped on the ice but was able to settle in quickly. I felt I played well but obviously wish we had won.”

As the Bulldogs enter their second week of ECAC competition, they now prepare to face Whitney Avenue rivals Quinnipiac University in their home opener at the Whale. 

According to both Conroy and winger Ryan Stevens ’24, the Bulldogs learned substantially from their match against Brown and look to build upon their game moving forward. 

“We have a great culture here of guys who want to win and will do anything for their team to help us accomplish that,” Stevens wrote to the News. “I have no doubt in my mind we’ll continue to improve game by game.”

Saturday’s match marked the 189th meeting between the Yale and Brown men’s hockey teams.

Trisha Nguyen covers men's ice hockey and field hockey as a staff reporter. Originally from St. Louis, she is a sophomore in Saybrook College majoring in molecular, cellular and developmental biology.