NEW HAVEN, Conn. — With a record that is far from impressive, Yale has been looking elsewhere for signs of success this season.
One sign is this: In the past five games, Yale has given up only two five-on-five goals, one coming from Harvard two weeks ago and the other last weekend against St. Lawrence. Another glass-half-full indicator is the fact that in games against highly-ranked opponents — No. 1 Boston College, No. 4 Wisconsin, and No. 12 Colgate — the Elis have given up only two goals, finishing two of those games with ties.
One of those deadlocks came Friday, as the Elis played Colgate to a 0-0 tie in New Haven’s Ingalls Rink. Yale’s first scoreless tie since 1941.
“We knew it was gonna be a defensive battle, but everyone did a great job,” said Yale goaltender Matt Modelski, who finished with 26 saves and the shutout. “It’s a big step forward, but we can’t be satisfied with tying. We have to win some games.”
On the other end, the Raiders’ Steve Silverthorn stopped all of Yale’s 19 shots in the defensive matchup.
The first period was a rough one for the Elis, who lost 18 of 24 faceoffs and managed only one shot — a turnaround wrister by Christian Jensen that hit Silverthorn in the chest — and lagged in nearly every statistical category, save for the one on the scoreboard. Yale looked disheveled but managed to maintain some level of discipline in the defensive end and not allow the Raiders to grab any scores.
“They’re a really tough team to play, and we realized in the first period just how tough they are on the boards,” said Yale captain Nick Shalek. “If they’re not one of the bigger teams in the league, they’re definitely one of the strongest.”
With Joe Zappala being whistled for a penalty late in the first, the Elis got a break on the penalty kill when a shot by Colgate’s Tyler Burton hit off the post and ricocheted directly under Modelski to maintain the 0-0 score that the two teams held going into the locker rooms.
Yale continued its discombobulated play in the opening minutes of the second period, but quickly settled into a back-and-forth game in which both teams played strong defensive hockey. A setup from Christian Jensen to Brad Mills six minutes into the second nearly gave the Elis the go-ahead goal, but the puck hit the crossbar and the game remained tied. In addition, Yale was unable to capitalize on a 1:38-long five-on-three opportunity midway into the second.
“I thought we really woke up in the second and third,” said Yale coach Tim Taylor. “I thought we had some glorious chances to score goals.”
The Raiders were whistled for seven penalties over the course of the second and third periods, but Yale could not convert on the power play, partially due to the fact that the lines had to get reshuffled after forward Brad Mills went down with an injury midway through the second.
Forward Nate Jackson, who typically plays with Yale’s second unit, was moved onto the first power play line, Taylor said, noting that Jackson is a good fit because he shoots righty and has experience with the setup.
The Elis will take on Cornell Saturdayin what should be a packed Ingalls Rink for the hockey association’s alumni weekend. Colgate will travel to Princeton for its game.