have limited Christian Jensen to eight games for Yale
this season, but he has seven points.
It would have been understandable if the players
and coaches on the Yale roster threw their hands in the
air and said, “Here we go again.” The season
started with a winnable game that slipped away against Cornell
and close losses to St. Lawrence and Harvard quickly followed.
Sprinkled in among those close losses were
more lopsided defeats against Colgate and Dartmouth. Yale
lost its first six games and appeared headed for another
miserable season. The Bulldogs won just five games last
A win over Mercyhurst broke the losing streak,
but a humbling trip to Duluth saw Yale drop two games by
a combined score of 14-2 against the UMD Bulldogs.
All along, head coach Tim Taylor never lost
confidence. Despite a 1-8-0 overall record, he saw signs
that things would get better. In particular, his team’s
defensive commitment was greatly improved in some stretches
of early games.
“We’ve had our low points, but
we’ve also had some high points that didn’t
turn into victories,” Taylor said. “The biggest
challenge was to be more competitive in the defensive zone.
We’ve had a propensity to give up goals and make ourselves
easy to play against at times. We needed to address our
defense and make it a priority for 60 minutes. I saw that
coming. We responded to that challenge and that’s
when I thought it was there.”
It all came together last week. Taylor’s
optimism was justified as Yale won a pair of ECACHL games
against Brown and Harvard. Those two wins have given the
team a lift.
“I feel like we’re a better hockey
team than our record shows,” Taylor said. “But
for a couple of bounces here and there we might have won
our first game against Cornell and the game at Harvard which
we lost in overtime.”
Better overall defense, solid goaltending
from freshman Alec Richards, and Yale’s trademark
quick-strike offense were all on display in the victories.
The Bulldogs buckled down in their own zone. Richards made
68 saves on the weekend. And Yale used three-goal spurts
over a span of 8:59 in the win over Brown, and 13:06 against
Richards, a rookie from Robbinsdale, Minn.,
has emerged from a trio of goaltenders that shared time
at the start of the year. Josh Gartner and Matt Modelski
have also seen time between the pipes. For now, it’s
the rookie that stands as the last line of defense. Taylor
handled the young netminder with caution in the early part
of the year.
“It was not my intent to throw him into
the fire right away. It was up to him to earn the job and
I didn’t want him to get burned,” Taylor said.
“He’s eased into that role. He is big and calm
and doesn’t get flustered when things get chaotic
in that end.”
Offensively, seniors such as Joe Zappala,
Jeff Hristovski, and Nate Jackson are near the top of the
Yale scoring chart. Nagging injuries have affected the team
throughout the season. Some of the injuries have kept players
such as captain Christian Jensen out of the lineup. Other
injuries have limited the effectiveness of players that
were on the ice.
Now that Yale has some momentum, an extended
exam and holiday break comes at an inopportune time. The
benefit is a return to physical health. The detriment is
trying to continue a winning streak amid a three-week layoff.
“It will be nice to get guys healthy
but as a coach I don’t like these extended breaks,”
Taylor said. “I like to play, and it would be nice
to build off of these wins and try to maintain success.
My concern is that the guys will hopefully come back in
good physical shape. They will stay in good mental shape
because they’re happy about these two wins.”
AND HEARD IN THE ECACHL
Opposite story up I-91 –
At the same time that nothing seemed to go right for Yale,
everything was going right for Quinnipiac. The Bobcats rolled
off an eight-game winning streak early on and made a statement
by sweeping Harvard and Dartmouth in their first weekend
of ECAC Hockey League play. But Quinnipiac is just 1-8-0
in its last nine games. Five of the eight losses are by
a single goal and a sixth was a two-goal margin provided
by an empty-net goal.
Tuesday’s loss to Harvard was Quinnipiac’s
third one-goal loss in a row. All of those came against
nationally-ranked opponents, showing that the Bobcats are
certainly capable of playing at a high level. The results
are getting a bit frustrating. Overall, the Bobcats stand
at 9-10-0 thus far.
Coach Rand Pecknold told New Haven Register
reporter Chip Malafronte after the game that he has
seen progress through the first half of the year.
"We certainly need to get over the hump,”
Pecknold said. “We’re right in every game, we’re
not going in and losing 6-0. Not a lot of people picked
us to be at that point, and we’re ahead of where I
thought we’d be. But it’s still a bitter taste.”
Championship formula –Last
week’s notebook examined what St. Lawrence is
doing well so far this season. Scoring balance and consistency
in effort throughout the lineup are among the team’s
strongest attributes. That takes pressure off of marquee
forwards John Zeiler and T.J. Trevelyan. They’ve flanked
a variety of centermen so far this season.
“You can see every night different guys
chipping in. Some nights the top line isn’t on but
you have third- and fourth-liners putting goals in. That’s
definitely a championship team when you can do that,”
Zeiler said. “It’s not all about scoring goals
for the first line. It’s being leaders on the ice
and setting an example and getting some energy going and
Great Weekend Getaway
Lawrence at Miami (Fri.)
Clarkson at Miami (Sat.) Perceptive INCH readers know that Oxford,
Ohio, is one of our favorite destinations. We couldn’t
pass up the chance to recommend a road trip to check
out a pair of solid ECACHL teams as St. Lawrence and
Clarkson take on the Miami RedHawks. All three teams
are nationally ranked and the hosts are the runaway
leaders in the CCHA.
While You’re There: There’s
so much to do, or rather, so much to see in Oxford.
It’s the final year of hockey home games at
Goggin Ice Arena. Enjoy the old barn, and then enjoy
the Brick Street Tavern (formerly First Run) for post-game
festivities and much better sight lines than in good
old Goggin. For a pre-game happy hour – I mean
dinner – we recommend Mac and Joe’s where
classic hockey sweaters and pucks are on display in
the upstairs bar.
that coaches face is keeping things fresh
over a long season. The Yale staff used some
unique and creative
ideas to motivate the team in Sunday’s win
Shawn Weller wasn’t included on the
roster for the United States entry at the
IIHF World Junior Championships to be held in Vancouver
one month from now. Weller was a member of the team
last year and accepted a penalty-killing role. He’s
even better this year and his size would be a good
asset to have since Team USA’s tournament games
are being played on North American-sized ice surfaces
at the Pacific Coliseum and GM Place.
FRIES AT THE BOTTOM OF THE BAG
• Harvard earned a gutty 1-0 win over
New Hampshire on the road Thursday. An early goal from freshman
defenseman Brian McCafferty held up as the Crimson played
sound defense. Particularly noteworthy were Harvard’s
solid play in the third period and steady goaltending from
senior John Daigneau. He made 32 saves.
• Cornell has quietly put together a
four-game winning streak as it breaks for most of December
before returning to the ice in the Florida College Classic
after Christmas. It hasn’t always been pretty, or
as easy as some might have anticipated prior to the season,
but the Big Red are taking care of business.
“I think we’re almost there,”
senior captain Matt Moulson said recently. “We’ve
still got to fix some of the problems that we’re having
but we have to stay positive. It feels like we’re
right there and sometimes the bounce doesn’t go our
way in front of the net. We’re still making some mistakes
but they can be cleaned up. To look at the future and the
potential of the team, we know that we can’t make
those mistakes and we’ll be a better hockey team for
• Clarkson coach George Roll and Bowling
Green coach Scott Paluch played together at BG in the mid-1980s
and have retained a close personal and professional relationship
over the past 20 years. They’ll face each other as
head coaches for the first time on Friday night when Clarkson
visits Bowling Green.
• While Clarkson and St. Lawrence work
the travel-partner exchange with Bowling Green and Miami,
Union will also invade the Buckeye State and play two games
at last year’s Frozen Four venue against Ohio State.
• In another bizarro travel-partner
situation, Union faced RIT last week, and swept a home-and-home
series. This weekend RIT visits Rensselaer on Saturday night.
• Brown is 0-6-1 in its last seven games
and has scored just 11 goals during the streak. The Bears
scored first, but it was their only goal, in losses against
Providence and Maine this week.
• Colgate forward Dustin Gillanders
is out for the season due to a knee injury and is applying
for a medical hardship waiver. In the meantime he is lending
his writing skills to Colgate Athletic Communications, and
authored game recaps for recent Raider wins over Quinnipiac
• Dartmouth’s first nine games
were against ECACHL foes. This weekend they’ll host
Boston University and travel to UMass-Lowell. Fans can participate
in the team’s annual toy drive to benefit the Children’s
Hospital at Dartmouth at Saturday’s game.
of sources were utilized in the compilation of this report.