Op-ed: Yale’s stumble
The Blue just dropped consecutive games for the first time in nearly two years. What’s it signify?
Well, the most obvious ramifications are that Yale drops out of the top spot in the polls for the first time since November, and more importantly, Union climbs to within one point of Yale for the league lead with an equal number of games played (14).
Beyond that, it means that the external perception of Yale — whatever it may have been — is diminishing, if only incrementally. The Bulldogs are beatable: Air Force, Brown, Union, and RPI have shown as much. I don’t think anyone in the Yale locker room ever felt his team was indomitable, but the sense of confidence that may develop when riding a 10-game winning streak can change in a heartbeat, when you lose two straight and three of five.
Now Yale faces Harvard and Dartmouth at Ingalls, where the Blue hope to remain the nation’s only undefeated — in fact, perfect — home side. At 12–0–0, that’s a serious home-ice advantage. Yale has averaged 36 shots a game, and averaged 33 in each of its last three losses... not a huge step down. Injuries don’t seem to be playing a major factor, if any, but senior goaltender Ryan Rondeau may have just a smidge more self-doubt than he did when he was en route to remaining the nation’s last unbeaten goalie.
So what’s the toll of the tumble? The aphorism that you learn more from defeats than from victories may be put to the test: Will Yale’s defense and goaltending rise to the challenge, with foes smelling blood in the water? Will the offense play with the same easy poise and creative flow that got them to the top spot in the PairWise?
I think so. Yale has more margin for error than it — or we — may believe. The Bulldogs are still atop the PairWise, and could likely lose out the rest of the way and still pull a No. 1 seed in the NCAA’s. The Ivy, regular season, and league tourney titles are worth a lot, but unlike some of its ECAC competition, Yale doesn’t have to solve all its problems overnight.
Chin up and eyes ahead, Big Blue... there’s still a lot of work to be done.
Read more: http://www.uscho.com/ecac-blog/2011/02/01/blackened-blue-the-price-of-yales-stumble/#ixzz1CjLn0xK5