Cambridge, Mass.- Yale needed a bounce-back performance after their game at Dartmouth last night and received exactly that as they outworked Harvard for 60 minutes and defeated them 5-1. The teams played an even first period on goals by Jesse Root and Kyle Crisculo, but Yale would dominate the second and early parts of the third period, outscoring the Crimson 4-0 in those periods to seal the victory.
Yale was led by the line of Kenny Agostino, Jesse Root and Andrew Miller. This line accounted for four of the five goals for the Bulldogs on the night and led the offense which posted 49 shots in the game. Yale improves to 2-1-1 (1-1-0) on the season and Harvard falls to 2-1-0 (1-1-0).
What I saw
Yale was a completely different team on the night than they were last night and it showed in all aspects of play. Their goaltending was solid, their defense didn’t give up golden opportunities throughout the game and their offense was seemingly clicking on all cylinders. The performance was indicative of their hungry for a win nature, after last night’s dreadful loss. They were the hungrier and more desperate team.
Harvard just looked flat at times and could not gain a break throughout the game. Harvard had opportunities throughout the latter stages of the game but were unable to find the scoring touch and beat Yale goaltender, Jeff Malcolm. This lack of scoring touch is something that was evident throughout the tilt.
Seeing Yale on consecutive nights was like watching two completely different teams. Last night’s performance was one of lackluster effort and the game against Harvard was like watching a team that needed to find a way to win. The Agostino, Root and Miller line was dominant throughout the game and they peppered Raphael Girard with 19 shots between them. This line was the difference to the game.
Harvard never had an answer for the Yale line above. Every time that line had the puck the controlled play on whoever Harvard had out on the ice. Harvard needs to find ways to pressure top lines and keep them at bay. In most cases it wasn’t bad defensive poisitioning it was controlling the puck, which was lacking for most of the night especially when that line was on the ice.
The difference for Yale on the night had to be goaltending and defense. The Bulldogs fed off their goaltender, whereas last night they lost momentum early, as they watched Maricic give up three early goals to Dartmouth. Jeff Malcolm was solid between the pipes and saved 28 of 29 shots in the game. The defense was also markedly better and the defensive breakdowns that occurred often last night were just non-existent in this one.
What They Said
Yale Coach, Keith Allain said:
“The big difference from last night to tonight was we didn’t give up seven goals. I felt as though the goal came too often and we made it easy on them. Hockey is a team game and everyone shares responsibility. Quick starts are always the important in hockey.”
“Jeff (Malcolm) came up big for us tonight.Harvard had some golden opportunities and Jeff came up huge when we needed him to be.”
Harvard Coach Ted Donato said: “I thought the second period, they applied some pressure on us and we didn’t do a great job in our own zone. We had some great looks in that period… we had our chances and Malcolm came up big for them.”
Yale Forward Jesse Root said: “Our start was the biggest difference for us tonight, as we came out really ticked off. Jeff Malcolm stood tall for us and that turned the tide for us.”
What They Didn’t Say
Harvard Coach, Ted Donato, was still relatively tight lipped on whether Raphael had won the top goaltender spot but did say tonight’s effort wasn’t his goalies fault. Giving up five goals isn’t always impressive but in many cases he was left out to dry and his teammates were outworked.
In the same respect Yale Coach, Keith Allain, would not comment on his goalie situation. Malcolm was stronger from the start of the game tonight and this should play into his decision. Nick Maricic struggled in the first period of last night’s game and was pulled 6:30 into last night’s game.
What Else You Should Know
Harvard will play in a key, early season conference game on Friday night against Union. Both teams were picked high in the ECAC preseason rankings and they both have tons to prove. Union comes in off a solid weekend against RPI. The game could be an early preview of what might happen in ECAC hockey this season.
Yale will look to continue the strong play of tonight against a struggling Clarkson team on Friday night at home. Saturday night may be the biggest barometer for them as they will play a high flying St. Lawrence team that comes into the weekend red hot.