The Elis travelled to the Fiserv Forum in Milwaukee, Wisconsin to compete in the Kwik Trip Holiday Face-Off. Despite tight contests on Tuesday, Dec. 28 and Wednesday, Dec. 29, the Bulldogs fell 0–2 in the tournament.
In its first fixture of the faceoff, the Yale men’s hockey team (3–9–0, 2–6–0 ECAC) took on the University of Wisconsin-Madison (6–12–2, 3–7–0 Big Ten). Though each team went on the power play once in the first period, no shots found the back of the net among Yale’s eight and Wisconsin’s nine attempts.
Midway through the second, the Badgers opened the scoring with a goal from forward Zach Urdahl. But the real game changer came with three minutes left in the period when Yale’s leading goalscorer, forward Niklas Allain ’24, received a five-minute major and game misconduct for cross-checking.
While the Bulldogs successfully killed off the major, served by forward Quinton Ong ’23, the Badgers soon extended their lead to two with a goal from Mathieu de St. Phalle. That lead would not last, however, as Teddy Wooding ’24 redirected a shot from Ryan Carmichael ’23 into the net to cut Wisconsin’s lead in half.
With seven minutes left in regulation, Wooding sent the puck to Henry Wagner ’24, who netted his first collegiate goal to tie the game at two apiece. The Elis almost scored a third goal when the Badgers lost the puck in front of their net as the clock ticked down. Wisconsin goaltender Jared Moe kept the puck out to send the game into overtime.
“Bang, bang, bang, puck just kept bouncing all over the place,” Wisconsin head coach Tony Granato told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel of his goalie’s performance. “He was sharp. That settled our team down, settled him down.”
Just two minutes into the five-minute overtime period, the Badgers would find the back of the net with a shot by Brock Caufield.
Both goalies had solid performances on Tuesday, with Moe stopping 19 of the 21 shots he saw and Madison-native Nathan Reid ’24 making 21 saves on 24 shots.
“The atmosphere was pretty sweet in Milwaukee,” Reid wrote in an email. “I had a lot of family on hand so it was great they were able to watch us play.”
Wisconsin would go on to win the tournament, with a 2–2 draw against Providence College (15–7–1, 6–5–0 Hockey East) broken by a 2–1 win on penalty shots.
On Wednesday, Yale played a consolation game against Bowling Green State University (9–8–3, 6–5–1 CCHA), who had lost to Providence 6–2 the night before.
Bowling Green got off to a quick start, with Nathan Burke netting the puck just a minute into the game. Things got chippy throughout the remainder of the period, with Yale logging two minors and Bowling Green with four. Though the Bulldogs went on the power play three times in the first period — including over a minute of five-on-three — the score remained 0–1 at the first intermission.
The Blue and White received two more minors in the second to Bowling Green’s one, but neither team was able to convert. The Falcons extended their lead toward the end of the frame, with Adam Pitters scoring with 3 minutes and 44 seconds left.
Yale found the back of the net midway through the third, with Briggs Gammill ’25 bringing the score to 2–1. Although goaltender Connor Hopkins ’23, who stopped 23 of 25 shots, left the ice with 1 minute and 53 seconds left, Gammill’s goal would be the final of the game.
Gammill, who netted his first collegiate goal against the Falcons, spoke on the environment at Fiserv Forum and the uncertainty regarding the fan attendance policy going forward. As of now, all Yale home games until Jan. 6 will be played in front of empty stadiums, according to a press release from Yale Athletics.
“The atmosphere in Fiserv Forum was fantastic but it’s always nice to come home and play in Ingalls, no matter if there’s fans or not,” Gammill wrote. “Of course, we would love fans at our games but if we can still play the game we love, I think we will still have the same energy as we did in Milwaukee.”