Backman's Late Goal Gives Yale Tie

Backman's Late Goal Gives Yale Tie

Bulldogs Score Twice in 3rd To Earn Point

SCHENECTADY, N.Y. - Sean Backman's goal with six seconds left in regulation capped a two-goal, third-period comeback and helped the No. 6/7 Yale men's hockey team earn a 3-3 OT tie at Union before 1,596 at Achilles Rink.


Union (3-3-3, 0-0-2 ECAC), which has played three straight OT games including a 3-3 draw with Brown last night, outshot Yale 39-37 and was seconds away from having a three-point weekend when Backman notched his second goal of the night to save Yale from a lost weekend.

Junior goalie Ryan Rondeau made 36 saves for the Elis (1-1-1, 0-1-1), while Corey Milan needed 34 stops to earn another tie for the Dutchmen.


The Bulldogs got on the board first when senior forwards Backman and Mark Arcobello hooked up midway through the first. Arcobello fed Backman heading across the blueline and Backman carried along the right side and came toward the net from the goal line. With no angle from which to shoot and Milan covering tight on the near post, Backman, who notched his second of the year, fired a rising wrister through a tiny opening that shocked everyone in the building at 11:36.


Union, which outshot Yale 14-12 in the first, had most of its shots over the last 10 minutes of the period and put plenty of pressure on Rondeau (13 saves).


"Their goalie is struggling holding pucks, so we have to get shots to the net," Union head coach Nate Leaman said during a first-period intermission TV interview.


That's what Union did on its second power-play chance to even things at 1-1. A shot from the point was blocked short of the crease. Adam Presizniuk swatted at the rebound and the puck squirted through the crease. Kelly Zajac swooped in toward the goal and tapped the loose puck behind Rondeau at 16:51 of the first.


The home team had seven of the second period's first eight shots on target and it cashed in on the seventh at 13:22 to take a 2-1 lead. Valery Trabucco took the puck from the corner, skated in front of the net and fanned on his first shot. He managed to control it as Rondeau committed toward the first attempt and Trabucco's second swing put the puck into the back of the net.


Union did a great job of preventing Yale from getting rushes and opportunities while outshooting the Bulldogs 15-5 in the middle frame.

Rondeau needed a solid save on a wrap-around attempt with a minute left in the second but was victimized 30 seconds later.  Andrew Buote made a nifty move around a Yale blueliner in the left circle and went toward the goal before sending it across. Zajac, going full-blast to the net, one-timed the feed into an open half of the goal to make it 3-1.

"Union played a sound defensive game and frustrated us early. They took us out of our game," said Keith Allain '80, Yale's Malcolm G. Chace Head Coach of Hockey.


Broc Little, who had both Yale goals last night at RPI, brought the Elis within a goal midway through the third. Kevin Limbert won a draw in the right circle and Little, who has a team-high four goals, stepped up to snap a shot off that went through a screen and past Milan.

The Elis dominated puck possession the rest of the way and had plenty of quality chances to tie the game. 

"We were determined to play "Yale" hockey in the third period, and that is what got us the tie," said Allain.

Yale got a man-advantage for most of the last two minutes, and pulled Rondeau for an extra skater for the last 58 seconds. The Blue did not score with the 5-on-4 or the 6-on-4, but got a chance when the Union player came out of the box.


The final hope was a faceoff with 11 seconds left in the Union end.  Allain put six forwards on the ice. Andrew Miller won the draw in the right circle and moved the puck to Little, who quickly got it to Backman. The speedy Yale senior went down the back side and fired a rising shot past Milan with six ticks left.


Both sides had three shots on target, but the Elis had to survive a Denny Kearney hooking penalty with 1:25 left in the extra frame to leave town with a point.

"It's clear that our guys understand how we need to play to be successful. There are no shortcuts," said Allain.

 Image: Backman has three goals this season (Sam Rubin image)

Report filed by Steve Conn, Yale Associate AD & Sports Publicity Director