The Yale men’s hockey team (1–7–0, 1–7–0 ECAC) fought until the final minutes of overtime in an exhibition against the U.S. National Team Development Program U18 team on Sunday afternoon.

The Elis tallied losses against Cornell University (6–4–0, 4–2–0 ECAC) and Colgate University (6–9–1, 4–2–0 ECAC) over the past two weeks before their overtime loss last weekend, with Eagles forward Ryan Leonard scoring the final goal of the match to raise the score to 4–3.

“I thought our game against the US National Team Development Program came at the right time for us and was a great test against some of the best young players in the world,” head coach Keith Allain ’80 wrote to the News. “Our competition level and work ethic were both at a high level which needs to be a bottom line for us, and our team game structurally took a step forward.”

The Bulldogs traveled to Ithaca on Nov. 18 to play Cornell’s home opener at Lynah Rink, where they fell 5–2. The first period remained scoreless until Big Red forward Zach Tupker scored the first goal of the game with under 30 seconds left in the frame.

Cornell then had a strong second period, where they scored three times in under seven minutes. Forward Gabriel Seger one-timed a pass by forward Jack O’Leary, Tupker one-timed a pass from forward Sean Donaldson in the low slot and forward Dalton Bancroft scored from the right faceoff circle on a power-play.

The Big Red raised their lead to 5–0 when forward Nick DeSantis took a wrist shot from the right faceoff circle into the net with less than two minutes left in the second frame.

The Bulldogs, however, answered back in the third period with two goals. Forward Briggs Gammill ’25, who also had three blocks during the contest, scored on the powerplay, assisted by defenseman Dylan Herzog ’25 at 12:54, and, assisted by defenseman Kieran O’Hearn ’25 and defenseman Michael Young ’23, forward Reilly Connors ’24 scored with 3:20 left in the match.

The two goals snapped a cold streak for the Bulldogs’ offense, which had failed to score in their four previous games.

Forwards Ian Carpentier ’24 and William Dineen ’25 led the team with five shots each, and goalkeeper Connor Hopkins ’23 made 26 saves for the Elis.

“The next two weeks are crucial to where we want to get to as a team,” forward Ryan Stevens ’24 said. “The first couple months of the year haven’t gone how we wanted them to, but we’re not looking in the rear-view mirror and only focusing on how we can get better from here on out.”

In their game against Colgate, the Bulldogs struggled, falling 8–1 in the Class of 1965 Arena in Hamilton. Forwards Matt Verboon and Alex Young each tallied a goal and two assists, while defenseman Nic Belpedio and forward Alex DiPaolo each scored a pair of goals.

Forward David Chen ’26 scored the Blue and White’s only goal of the game in the third period, off an assist by Young.

Following those two losses, the 4–3 result against the U18 National Development Team was a stronger showing.

“I think the highlight of our game against NTDP was just proving to ourselves that we can play with the highest competition,” Stevens said. “They’ve beaten some good college teams, and we proved that we’re right there too with our play on Sunday.”

Yale forward Hayden Rowan ’23 kicked off the scoring 15:47 into the first frame. Rowan was assisted by forward Elan Bar-Lev-Wise ’26 and defenseman Brandon Tabakin ’23.

The Eagles answered back under two minutes later with a goal by forward Will Vote, but Bulldog forward Kalen Szeto ’26, assisted by Dineen and Rowan, scored again to give Yale the lead back with just two seconds left in the period.

“I would say that I liked our offense against the USNTDP,” defenseman Ryan Conroy ’24 wrote. “That’s something we have been working on so to get three goals was nice to see.”

In the first six minutes of the second frame, the US National Team Development Program tallied two goals, one by forward Ryan Fine and the other by forward Danny Nelson. The Blue and White then evened the score in the third period, when Connor Sullivan ’25, assisted by Szeto and Young, tallied Yale’s third goal of the game at 2:43.

We need to continue to build on this as we grow as a team and prepare for our final league weekend before exam break,” Allain said.

Just over three minutes into overtime, forward Ryan Leonard scored and secured the win for the Eagles.

Yale led in total shots 28–24, and goalkeepers Luke Pearson ’25 and Nathan Reid ’24 had nine and 11 saves, respectively.

“We are looking to continue the development of our offensive game and take this extra time and rest to build up our physical conditioning,” Conroy said.

Szeto led the offense with four shots, followed by Young, defenseman Bayard Hall ’26, Sullivan, Tabakin, Connors, Dineen, defenseman Tucker Hartmann ’26, Gammill and Carpentier with two shots each.

Coming off their close exhibition match, the Elis are optimistic about their next contests and adding new wins to their season record.

“We’re lucky we get this little mid-season break to reflect on how we can all get better and work towards being the team we know we can be,” Stevens said.

The Bulldogs will return to action against St. Lawrence University (5–7–0, 2–2–0 ECAC) in Canton, NY on Dec. 9. They will take on Clarkson University (7–6–0, 3–1–0 ECAC) in Potsdam on Dec. 10. Both pucks are slated to drop at 7 p.m.

Amelia Lower covers football, men's ice hockey and men's lacrosse. She is a senior in Jonathan Edwards College from Rye, New York, double-majoring in Spanish and the History of Science, Medicine and Public Health.
Grayson Lambert is a junior in Jonathan Edwards College from Atlanta, double-majoring in Applied Mathematics and Economics. She covers tennis, men's ice hockey, and crew.