December 4, 2009

Yale Stuns No. 4 Bobcats

Backman, Kearney Score Twice

NEW HAVEN, Conn. - Four straight goals erased a one-goal deficit in the third period and sent the No. 10 Yale men's hockey team to a 7-4 win over No. 4 Quinnipiac before a frenzied sellout crowd at Ingalls Rink. It was the first meeting of the local rivals as nationally ranked teams.

The Bulldogs (6-3-2, 3-1-2 ECAC), who now have three wins over top 10 teams, ended Quinnipiac's win streak at eight games while outshooting the Bobcats 41-22 and converting two of seven man-advantages.

Sean Backman and Denny Kearney both had two goals while Brian O'Neill had a goal and two assists to lead the Blue to its third win in four games. Mark Arcobello and Andrew Miller each had two helpers. Freshman Jeff Malcolm, making his second straight start, made 18 saves including some nifty stops in the third.

Quinnipiac (12-2-0, 7-1-0), despite going 3-for-5 on the power play, lost its first conference game after earning its highest national ranking ever. Dan Clarke made 34 saves, including 13 in the first period, but lost his first game of the year.

"I am really happy with the way we came out and executed our game plan," said Keith Allain '80, Yale's Malcolm G. Chace Head Coach of Hockey. "I was impressed how we stuck with it and stuck with it. That showed a lot of character."

The first period was a power-play bonanza that included 25 shots on goal and a pair of man-advantage goals for both sides, just what was expected from the top two scoring teams in Division I.

O'Neill sent a perfect pass to Backman, who was cutting across the left circle toward the net. Backman, who notched his seventh of the year, did not have a defender in the way. He deked right, went left and tucked it behind Clarke with his backhand at 3:08.

The Bobcats, outshot 15-10 in the frame, answered a little more than three minutes later when blueliner Loren Barron (3rd goal) smacked a rebound home. Eric Lampe's shot was stopped by Malcolm, but the puck slid out to the low slot where Barron was waiting. He waited for an opening before sending it on the ice into the net.

Quinnipiac took the lead 2-1 at 13:30 when Brandon Wong, who two goals, took a Lampe feed from behind the net and skated in untouched from the boards. The senior center scored his ninth of the year by wrapping a shot around and inside the far post from the goal-line extended.

Lampe, who had three assists, was called for roughing after the goal and that helped the Bulldogs even things again less than a minute later. Arcobello fired a perfect slap pass from the point to O'Neill (6th), who re-directed it inside Clarke's far post from the left edge of the crease at 14:28.

The Bulldogs dominated the first half of the middle period. Quinnipiac did not get a shot on net until late in the ninth minute. That helped Yale protect its second lead. Thirty-two seconds into the second, Jeff Anderson took a lead pass from Ryan Donald and skated in with one defender closing in. Anderson held the puck until reaching the middle of the slot and then flicked a low one stick side to make it 3-2 and give the junior forward his first of the year.

The visitors made the most of their five shots on goal in the second and tied it again with 4:42 left. Greg Holt (3rd) sent a rising wrister from the point through some traffic that may have hit Malcolm's glove before bouncing off the right post.

Backman made a great play to fight through the defense and get a shot on goal before getting pushed into Clarke, the Division I player of the month for November. The Quinnipiac goalie went down hard into the net and the Yale senior was called for roughing. That call led to the visitors notching their third power-play goal and a 4-3 lead.

In a wild scramble in front of the net, Malcolm made a save as bodies flew around the ice. Wong got his stick on the puck and flipped it in at 6:24. That was the end of Quinnipiac's scoring, and the flood gates were about to open at the other end.

Almost two minutes later, Donald's wrister from the point whizzed through traffic and went top shelf at 8:34 to even things at 4-4. The Yale captain got the puck off a faceoff win by Miller.

"I was just trying to get it by the first guy," said Donald, the captain, about his game-tying goal. "I wanted to get it on net and let the forwards go to work."

Miller was in on the next goal as well. He took the puck low and left it for Broc Little, who carried to the crease and lost the puck. Kearney was following and reached out to bang it in at 15:24 for the game-winner.

The crowd nearly broke a rib on the Yale Whale. That frenzy came back a minute later when O'Neill made one of the great offensive moves of the year. The sophomore forward skated into the middle slot, waited for a falling defenseman and his stick to clear out while two defenders on each side closed in. O'Neill, with the goalie coming out to key on him, then sent a perfect pass to a coiling Backman, who uncoiled and released a one-timer into the open side for his eighth goal of the season.

"Ingalls was rocking tonight," said Backman, who now has 64 career goals after putting eight shots on net tonight. "Having some of their [Quinnipiac] fans in the building helped get us going too."

Seven Yale goals kept that enthusiastic crowd on its feet, which is where it spent most of the third period. They were jumping up and down when Kearney finished off the Cats with a behind-the-back clear/shot from center ice that trickled into the net with 33 seconds left.

Malcolm made a few big saves during the Yale run to earn his second win. "Jeff played really well. We sensed he would be able to handle this environment, and he did," said Allain.

 

Image of Sean Backman by Sam Rubin '95

 

Recap filed by Steve Conn, Yale Sports Publicity Director

 

Video by David Dikranian