Friday, October 24, 2014

Alberta gives Yale fits

Keith Allain called this one "a rude awakening." The University of Alberta executed Yale's systems with  more efficiency and poise in its 3-0 victory before 1,841 tonight at Ingalls Rink.

Don't worry too much. Yale was severely short-handed. Injuries to defensemen Rob O'Gara, Ryan Obuchowski, Dan O'Keefe and Nate Repensky forced the Bulldogs to cover with forwards on the blue line. Forwards Chris Izmirlian and Trent Ruffolo didn't dress, either. Keith Allain said the team is banged up and "everyone who was healthy dressed tonight." He did not elaborate on the extent of any of the injured. Not helping matters was the major penalty and game misconduct to Carson Cooper at 2:24. Alberta scored two of its three goals on that initial power play.

Goalies Alex Lyon, Connor Wilson and Patrick Spano saw plenty of action and all looked solid.

Allain said afterward he hoped his team would be further along in its understanding of the systems. Alberta, the defending national champs in Canada, didn't help matters. Already two months into the season, they skated how Yale wants to skate, fast and creative and unrelenting. Most Western Canadian universities play a plodding, half-court style. Alberta caught the Bulldogs by surprise with their quickness and pace.

"We can learn a lot from watching this game," Allain said. "They play the way we like to play. Only we didn't play the way we wanted, so tonight they played the way we want to play."

Allain also said there's no reason to get too caught up in the line combinations tonight. He's not committed to anything and was searching for chemistry between players. Unfortunately, there wasn't much there tonight. John Hayden may have been the best player on the ice, and looks more and more like a future NHL player. Defenseman Tommy Fallen was also solid. Freshman Ryan Hitchcock skated with Hayden and showed skill and offensive ability.

The season opener is a week away. Yale has much to work on.


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