Yale Gets Win, Tie Against Two Ranked Teams
MADISON, Wis. - The Yale men's hockey team's last two trips to the Badger Hockey Showdown have produced overtime draws against perennial national power Wisconsin. The latest of those outcomes, a 2-2 tie, came tonight in the championship game and finished off a great weekend for the No. 8/9 Bulldogs.
The game is an OT tie for NCAA records, but the tournament needed to have a champion. Blake Geoffrion's tally on the sixth shootout attempt gave the No. 7 Badgers (12-5-3) the hardware in the last scheduled Showdown. Wisconsin took the shootout 2-1.
The Elis (6-1-1 over the last eight) outshot the Badgers 42-22 and extended their unbeaten streak to four games. Yale freshman Nick Maricic, who made a few quality, game-saving stops (one was a clear breakaway), finished with 20 saves. Five straight penalties went against Yale in the middle of the contest, including consecutive calls that gave the Badgers a two-man advantage, but Maricic handled the pressure.
At the other end, Scott Gudmandson had 40 stops in a game featuring the nation's top two scoring teams.
Denny Kearney gave the Bulldogs, wearing their home white jerseys, a 1-0 lead at 3:08 of the first with an electric rush to the net. Defenseman Tom Dignard, who assisted on both goals and earned all-tournament honors, stole the puck at center ice and sent a lead pass along the left side to Kearney, who swooped in across the crease and flicked a shot toward the goal that trickled around the goal line before Andrew Miller (3rd goal) knocked it home.
Michael Davies (8 goals this year) provided all the offense the home team needed to take the lead in the middle frame. After Wisconsin killed off a five-minute advantage, he one-timed a crossing feed at 2:26 before his power-play tally at 14:11 put the Badgers up 2-1.
That lead looked safe until Craig Smith was called for holding with 4:28 left in regulation. Mark Arcobello fired a shot from the point and the rebound came out to the middle of the slot. Brian O'Neill (8th goal) grabbed the puck, wheeled and fired a low shot past Gudmandson at 17:17 to force the extra sessions.
Another home team penalty with 1:33 left nearly gave the Bulldogs (8-3-3) the win.
"This is a great statement about where we are at this point in the season," said Keith Allain '80, Yale's Malcolm G Chace Head Coach of Hockey, whose team beat No. 11 Ferris State the night before. "Going on the road to beat a top 15 team and tie a top 10 team in a tournament environment will pay dividends for us down the road."
The Elis, who tied the host 1-1 in the 2004 Badger Showdown before falling in the shootout, outshot the Badgers 14-7 in the first period, which was just the seventh time this year a UW opponent put more shots on net. If that stat was surprising for Wisconsin, imagine what the Badgers were thinking when the Blue had an 18-3 advantage in the third and messed up a 12-0-1 record when leading after two periods this season.
Mark Arcobello and Miller were denied by Gudmandson on Yale's first two shootout attempts. Davies, who was tourney MVP, slipped a low shot past Maricic to put the pressure on the visitors. The Yale freshman goalie stopped the Badgers' next try before Kearney kept the Blue alive with a nifty backhander. Geoffrion, the final shooter in the first round, lost control of the puck in the mid slot but re-gained it and snapped off a low wrister inside the right post for the title.
"It's too bad that you have to decide a tournament this way (shootout), but our kids fought hard to the end and I'm very proud of the way we competed. They [Wisconsin] are a terrific hockey team, but we had them on their heels (18-3 shots) for the entire third period," said Allain.
Yale, which does not play at home again until Jan. 16, next skates on Sunday at Dartmouth at 4 pm.
2010 Badger Hockey Showdown All-Tournament Team
Blair Riley, Ferrist State
Michael Davies, Wisconsin
Sean Backman, Yale
Tom Dignard, Yale
Justin Schultz, Wisconsin
Scott Gudmandson, Wisconsin
MVP - Michael Davies, Wisconsin
Report filed by Steve Conn, Yale Sports Publicity Director
Image (Brian O'Neill) provided by Mike Butler