Yale goaltender Jeff Malcolm doesn't enjoy reflecting on last season.
That's when many college hockey pundits staked the hopes of the Bulldogs' season to Malcolm's wagon. Yale had earned a No. 1 seed in the NCAA tournament during Malcolm's sophomore year, when he saw action in just two games behind Ryan Rondeau.
Malcolm earned the starting job as a junior, and the Bulldogs appeared primed for a repeat ECAC Hockey title. Instead, the Bulldogs finished 16-16-3 overall and 10-10-2 in the ECAC. By the conclusion of Yale's season, when the Bulldogs fell to rival Harvard in the ECAC quarterfinals, Malcolm had lost his starting job to Nick Maricic.
“Coming into my junior year, I wouldn't say it was heavy for us,” Malcolm says of the pressure on his class. “There were just a lot of empty spots to fill. We graduated nine seniors, and we had to create a new identity.”
In retrospect, Malcolm wasn't the problem last season. He posted a respectable goals-against average of 2.77 and a .908 save percentage, but it only translated to a 10-11-2 record. This year, his individual numbers have improved slightly (2.57 GAA, .917 save percentage), but the team's record is 9-3-2 with Malcolm in goal.
Last weekend, Malcolm earned ECAC Goaltender of the Week after earning road wins at St. Lawrence and Clarkson. He stopped 68 of 72 shots in the “North Country,” erasing seven power plays without allowing a single goal.
“I didn't like the way last season ended, and I felt like I wanted a fresh start,” Malcolm says. “The inconsistency we had last year, it was tough to get on a roll. We're setting ourselves up pretty well this year.”
Yale (9-4-3 overall, 5-3-1 ECAC) sits in third place in the ECAC, behind Quinnipiac (17-3-3 overall, 11-0-1 ECAC) and Princeton (6-8-4 overall, 5-4-3 ECAC), although both teams have three games in hand on the Bulldogs. The recent returns have been promising for Yale. Prior to the sweep of St. Lawrence and Clarkson, the Bulldogs tied Boston College Jan. 4.
“We work hard in the offseason to try to peak at the right time,” Malcolm says. “Our strength coach tailors the program so we'll be in the best shape in March and April. We still have a lot to accomplish moving forward. We'd like to climb in the standings in the ECAC.”
Game of the week
Harvard at Yale, Friday, Jan. 18
Ingalls Rink, New Haven, Conn.
In Harvard's third game of the 2012-13 season, Yale scored early and rallied for three third-period goals to seal a 5-1 win at Bright Hockey Center. Harvard was 0-5-1 over a six-game stretch before beating Boston University 6-5 in overtime Jan. 9. Yale is 2-0-1 in its last three with wins over St. Lawrence and Clarkson and a tie against Boston College.
Player of the week
Kenny Agostino, Yale University
Agostino helped Yale sweep the road weekend at St. Lawrence and Clarkson for first-time since 2003-04. Agostino netted a goal and an assist both nights. He scored the game-winner at Clarkson Saturday and assisted on a game-winner the previous night against the Saints.
Quinnipiac (17-3-3, 11-0-1): The Bobcats have the longest undefeated streak (14) in Division 1 hockey since Boston College won 17 in a row en route to its national title last year.
Yale (9-4-3, 5-3-1): The Elis had the ECAC Player of the Week (Agostino), Goaltender of the Week (Malcolm) and Rookie of the Week (Stu Wilson). They have also not lost in 2013.
Dartmouth (9-5-2, 5-3-1): The Big Green snapped a three-game losing streak with a 3-2 victory over Harvard Jan. 12. The Big Green have been ranked inside the top-12 for nine straight polls (Nov. 12), the longest consecutive stretch in program history.
Union (10-7-4, 4-3-3): Boxborough, Mass., native Wayne Simpson became the ninth player in Union program history in the Division 1 era to notch his 100th career point last weekend.
Cornell (7-6-2, 3-3-2): Senior defenseman Nick D'Agostino has five assists over the last four games. He has been on the ice for 11 of the team's last 14 goals.Senior center Greg Miller (7-7-14) leads the team in scoring; he's trying to become the team's first three-time scoring champion since Matt Moulson did it in 2006.
Colgate (11-7-2, 3-4-1): Twin brothers Tylor and Tyson Spink are both are riding six-game point streaks, and the Raiders have a five-game winning streak. Tyson Spink has 10 points in the last six games. Tylor has three multi-point games, and has a total of nine points on three goals and six assists.
Princeton (6-8-4, 5-4-3): The Tigers took advantage of an RPI squad riding high in its skates Saturday night. The Engineers earned a 1-1 tie against Quinnipiac Friday night, becoming the first ECAC to earn a point against the Bobcats. Princeton shellacked RPI, 4-1, on Saturday.
Harvard (5-8-1, 3-6-0): The Crimson are 1-6-1 in their last eight games. On the positive side, three members of the Class of 2013 have eclipsed the 100-games played mark in their careers. Danny Biega leads the way with 114, followed by Luke Greiner with 105 and Marshall Everson with 101.
Brown (5-7-4, 1-4-4): Brown sophomore Matt Lorito leads the ECAC in goal-scoring with 12 in 16 games. That figure has him tied with Hobey Baker frontrunner Johnny Gaudreau from BC with a nation's best 0.75 goals per game this year. Lorito also leads the team with 18 points as he has accumulated six assists.
RPI (6-10-5, 1-6-3): The Engineers are the hardest team to figure in the ECAC. They sit last in the standings with five points in 10 games, but they are the only team to take a point from Quinnipiac this season. They have also earned big wins over Yale, Ferris State and St. Cloud State.
Clarkson (4-12-5, 3-5-1): Of the Knights’ 12 losses, 10 have been by two goals or less. Overall Clarkson has played in 17 games that have been decided by two goals or less, going 2-10-5 in those close contests.
St. Lawrence (9-10-2, 2-5-2): Saints forward Chris Martin scored the final two goals of the game in a 3-2 victory over Brown Jan. 12.