MEN’S HOCKEY: Bulldogs return to conference

Coming off a win and a tie over Thanksgiving break in Belfast, the Yale men’s hockey team will travel to New York this weekend to face off against St. Lawrence and Clarkson.

Last weekend saw the Bulldogs (3–2–2, 2–2–2 ECAC Hockey) clinch a 1–1 overtime tie against No. 11 Union before sweeping UConn 6–3 to bring home a third-place finish from the Friendship Four tournament in Ireland. Yale will look to improve its record this weekend in matchups against St. Lawrence (2–10–0, 0–2–0) and No. 17 Clarkson (7–4–0, 1–1–0). The Bulldogs split with SLU last season, claiming a lopsided 6–1 victory in November before dropping a 1–0 bout in January. The series against Clarkson in 2017–18 saw the Golden Knights sweep both games 4–1.

“We want to have a strong start against Clarkson and maintain a very fast tempo throughout the entire game,” forward Ted Hart ’19 said. “We believe our team speed is one of our greatest assets, and we need to take advantage of it to beat a team like Clarkson. They are a physically strong team, and if we allow them to dictate the pace of the game, then they will be a very difficult team to beat.”

The Bulldogs enter New York’s pair of games after a solid display of both offensive and defensive power in Belfast. Yale took 69 shots, scoring seven goals from six different players, including forward Kevin O’Neil ’21, who notched two goals and one assist in the match against the Huskies, and defender Charlie Curti ’19, who notched the single goal against Union. Over both matches, the Bulldogs converted on two out of six power plays, an aspect of the game that Yale struggled with last winter. Goalkeeper Sam Tucker ’19 made 34 stops against UConn, while fellow netminder Corbin Kaczperski ’20 made 22 stops in the draw against the Dutchmen.

Bested 6–2 by Clarkson just last Saturday, St. Lawrence enters this weekend on a two-loss streak and a 10-loss season. Last year’s closing game against the Bulldogs saw Saints’ goalkeeper Arthur Brey record his career high 53 saves in a shutout 1–0 win against the Elis. After Yale defender Anthony Walsh ’19 was called for hooking, forward Jake Stevens capitalized on a power play by netting a shot from just inside the blue line. Yale, who outshot SLU 53–28 the last time the two teams met, will look to convert its offensive advantage this Friday at Appleton Arena.

“Both teams play very well at home so it will be a challenging weekend,” forward Tyler Welsh ’21 said. “We are trying not to look past Friday night and St. Lawrence as we lost in their rink last year. Clarkson will be a good test, and hopefully we can make a statement against one of the better teams in the ECAC on Saturday night.”

The Golden Knights, on the other hand, return to ECAC action on a three-game winning streak, having claimed two 3–1 victories against Michigan Technological University in addition to the win against SLU. Clarkson faces Brown this Friday before matching up against Yale at Cheel Arena on Saturday.

Over the course of an almost 90-year rivalry, the Knights hold a distinct 74–39–8 lead over the Bulldogs. So far this season, Clarkson averages 3.45 goals per game, an outstanding record that secured them the No. 12 spot in the NCAA. Defensively, the Knights are ranked No. 17 in Division I, with goalies Jake Kielly and Nicholas Latinovich allowing only 2.36 goals per game.

Last winter’s goals against the Green and Gold were notched by forwards Dante Palecco ’21 and Robert DeMontis ’20, both of whom return to this year’s roster, with Palecco already recording an early goal this season. Palecco’s goal against Clarkson came off a feed from then-captain Ryan Hitchcock ’18. The senior took possession after a failed Clarkson clear and passed it to Palecco, who was waiting on the crease and fed the puck into the net. In the second game of the series, forward Joe Snively ’19 fed a pass to DeMontis, who slid the puck past Kielly to notch a tally for Yale.

The puck drops this Friday at 7 p.m. against St. Lawrence.

Lucy Liu | l.liu@yale.edu

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