DULUTH, Minn. — The Yale University men’s hockey program had two notable moments last week.
On Tuesday, the Elis beat Mercyhurst 6-3 in New Haven, Conn., for their first win of the season.
On Thursday, former Yale All-America skater John L. Morrison, 60, of Wayzata, Minn., was nominated by President Bush to serve on the President’s Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board.
The news wasn’t as positive during the team’s Thanksgiving holiday trip to Duluth.
Minnesota Duluth unleashed its best offensive effort of the season Friday to win by eight goals, then came back to finish its first sweep of the season with a with a 5-1 victory Saturday before 4,344 at the DECC.
The Bulldogs (5-7-2) regrouped after a 2-0 loss at Alaska Anchorage a week earlier to outshoot Yale 97-41 in two games (184-90 in total attempts). They also got two solid games from junior goalie Josh Johnson.
“I liked our effort and our urgency from the drop of the puck. We were winning races all over the rink,” said UMD freshman defenseman Matt Niskanen, who recorded his first collegiate goal Saturday. “I could sense a change in our attitude, for the better, this week.”
The Bulldogs picked up where they left off following Friday’s 9-1 win. Yale (1-8), from the ECACHL, had a better effort but couldn’t recover from a quick deficit.
UMD put 12 shots on Yale freshman goalie Alec Richards in the first period and scored twice within 41 seconds.
Center Tim Stapleton connected with two seconds left in a power play for his seventh goal of the season with 7:53 to go. Stapleton was back in the lineup along with linemates Justin Williams and Mike Curry after missing Friday’s game because of a violation of team rules. Senior goalie Isaac Reichmuth, who also had sat out, was in uniform, but as a backup to Johnson.
That made the Bulldogs 4-for-7 on power plays in the series and finished 5-for-13.
Following a face off in the offensive zone, freshman winger Michael Gergen grabbed a deflected pass and scored from the low slot with 7:12 left. He tied Stapleton for the team goal-scoring lead at seven.
“We had a bitter taste in our mouths after losing at Anchorage and we had to get back on track,” said Johnson, who made 17 saves. “We came out flying, and that made my job easier. We hadn’t had a sweep this year. We needed something like this.”
Richards, who started the first game of the series, turned away a number of other good chances in the first period, including Andrew Carroll’s point-blank attempt at 10:00.
Carroll did find the net at 4:40 of the second period on a rebound for his fifth goal of the season. UMD led 3-0 and had scored 12 straight goals over two days.
Yale had more jump than the night before and tested Johnson. One of the best scoring chances came as winger Robert Burns of the Elis hit the right pipe on a blast from left wing at 3:15 of the second period.
“We were much more competitive, and we got a good, strong 60 minutes from Richards,” said Yale coach Tim Taylor. “We just didn’t show up Friday, and our players were upset. We got a lot out of this game and we’ll be better.
“Duluth’s transition game and power play were very impressive. They move the puck around pretty well.”
Johnson’s shutout bid was broken at 7:47 of the third period on a Jean-Francois Boucher goal. The Bulldogs responded with two goals in 2:52 from Niskanen and fellow freshman Mason Raymond during a five-minute power play.
UMD led in shots 41-18 for the game and is now 5-1 lifetime against Yale with all six games being played at the DECC. Yale was 0-for-10 on power plays in the series.
It was a rough weekend all around for Ivy League teams at the DECC. The No. 3-ranked UMD women swept Harvard by a combined 12-2.
“I liked our first period. Our guys came out and got the lead. We got some breaks and bounces this weekend, and worked hard,” said UMD coach Scott Sandelin. “And we held them to under 20 shots.”
UMD returns to Western Collegiate Hockey Association play this Friday and Saturday at Minnesota State. Yale will take on Brown on Friday.