We are Ivy League Champions!
It was a good time for our team to go on the road after last week’s final two regular-season games at Lynah Rink. I felt it was a great opportunity to be more patient and play a simpler game than we sometimes play home. All four lines scored on this road trip. Once we got the lead, we did a good job managing the game but still created scoring chances.
On Friday night at Brown, just six minutes into the game, junior forward Jack O’Leary got us a 1-0 lead on a great wrist shot after taking a pass from classmate Kyle Penney. That was all the scoring for the first period, though we fired twelve shots on goal to the Bears four. We showed patience and protected pucks and if you do that you’re going to get opportunities.
We had penalty problems early in the second period and had to kill off a 4-on-3 situation, and shortly after had to kill off another penalty. Sophomore goaltender Ian Shane held strong in net. He made a huge save after we made a neutral zone mistake. With 5:16 remaining in the period, Senior forward Ben Berard made it 2-0 with a slap shot from the left faceoff circle.
In the third period, we did a tremendous job not taking penalties and staying above them. At 12:38 of the third, sophomore forward Sullivan Mack made it 3-0 with a shot that bounced off the crossbar and fell into the net. With 1:17 remaining, senior forward Zach Tupker finished up the night by taking a backdoor pass from O’Leary and depositing the puck into an open net.
Shane made 14 saves earning the shutout and is now tied with Brian Cropper and Errol McKibbon for the 10th-most career shutouts.
We played Yale Saturday, a team that defeated Colgate 4-2 on Friday night with the Ivy League title on the line. We knew we came to play. People counted us out of the Ivy title but it is now ours!
Shane was steady in the early going, stopping a one-man breakaway seven minutes into the game. We scored the only goal of the first period with five minutes remaining. Sophomore forward Ondrej Psenicka sent a pass from the half wall to freshman forward Nick DeSantis behind the net. Freshman forward Winter Wallace was crashing the net, took the pass from DeSantis and sent a one-timer through the goaltender’s legs to make it 1-0.
Early in the second period, Penney and DeSantis each scored in a span of less than three minutes to give us a 3-0 lead going into the final period. Early in the final period, DeSantis scored to make it 4-0. Yale got on the scoreboard at 8:08 of the third period but Berard brought the deficit back to four goals at 13:47. Berard took advantage of a neutral-zone turnover by Yale to record his 10th goal of the season, tops on the team.
Shane was called upon to stop 21 shots, while the Yale netminder stopped 24 shots. Both teams were 0-for-2 on the power play.
We scored at least five goals in all four regular-season games against Brown and Yale for the first time since 1971-72.
O’Leary, with a four-point weekend, was named ECAC Forward of the Week, while Shane garnered his third ECAC Goaltender of the Week award, allowing one goal in 120 minutes.
With junior forward Gabe Seger, our second-leading scorer, out of the lineup for the weekend, we had others step up offensively. It was a fun way to end the regular season with an Ivy League title.
As the third seed in the ECAC tournament, we have a bye this coming weekend. We enjoy home-ice for the best-of-three series March 10-12 against an opponent determined in the first round of playoff games this weekend. No matter who the competition might be, I expect a hard-fought battle before the Lynah Faithful.