Men’s hockey faces Brown (6–13–4 overall, 5–10–1 ECAC) and Yale (11–11–1, 6–9–1) this weekend, with six games of ECAC play remaining. The team is coming in on a four-game win streak, with solid wins over Clarkson (19–6–3, 11–3–2), Quinnipiac (11–13–4, 6–8–2), St. Lawrence (6–20–2, 2–13–1), and Dartmouth (9–12–2, 7–8–1).
The team has a 10–10–3 record, and is 7–8–1 in conference play. However, this record does not reflect the team’s tremendous talent and its ability to compete with any team in the nation. The team showcased its competitiveness in two its matchups against No. 4 St. Cloud State (17–6–3) in December, which both ended in a tie.
“When we played St. Cloud, they were No. 1 in the country at that time, and we didn’t get enough credit,“ said first-year defenseman Matthew Thom. “We should have won at least one or both of our games that weekend. While our performance wasn’t reflected by the rankings after that weekend, we subconsciously realized that we can play with any team if we’re consistent.”
Nonetheless, prior to its game against Harvard Crimson, the team had been battling inconsistency with its team chemistry. The team had a turning point after its loss to Harvard. “Everyone was at their lowest point,” junior forward David Hallisey said. “We were fed up. We knew we had Dartmouth the next day, and we came in really fired up. This weekend, knowing that Clarkson was ranked No. 3 going in, we had a lot of energy.”
The time off during Intersession may also be a contributor to the team’s recent strong performance.
“The time off was relaxing and helped us focus and clear our heads. It was really nice to have no school on our minds, so we could just dial in. Intersession was distraction-free,” Thom said. “We’ve been playing our game, and moving the puck a lot better. We’ve realized that we can compete with any team, and we’ve been bringing that to the forefront mentally and it’s now translating physically.”
The strength of the team lies in its strong junior class. Particularly noteworthy are forward Ryan Kuffner, forward Max Véronneau, defenseman Josh Teves, and forward Alex Riche. Kuffner was recently named ECAC Hockey Player of the Week and the NCAA Hockey First Star of the Week. He currently leading the nation in scoring. The team also boasts an outstanding freshman class, who is finally acclimating to the increased speed of the collegiate game. Freshman goalie Ryan Ferland has been a huge addition for the Tigers. Thom and Hallisey have also been key contributors; Hallisey clinched the latest win for the Tigers with a clutch goal against Clarkson.
During its last matchup against Brown in November, the Tigers lost 0–3.
“While Brown is a physically talented team, that was a below-average performance,” Hallisey said. The Tigers beat Yale in November, but according to Hallisey, “We can’t take them lightly. Regardless of rankings or records, any team can beat anyone on any night. We proved that ourselves.”
“Regardless of wins and losses, we should be be able to win the next of our six games. It’s all about keeping our consistency up. We have a real shot at ECAC championships.”