January 12, 2010

Harvard Takes 3-2 Contest at Bright

Dignard Assists on Both Yale Goals

BOSTON, Mass. - The No. 5 Yale men's hockey team's five-game unbeaten streak came to an end against a rival desperate for a victory in its home building. Louis Leblanc had two goals and Ryan Carroll stopped 35 shots as Harvard slipped past Yale 3-2 at Bright Hockey Center.

The Elis (9-4-3, 5-2-2 ECAC) outshot the Crimson 37-22 but had trouble finishing on the junior goalie who earned his first win of the year before a sparse crowd for an old-school rivalry. Carroll stopped 12 of 13 shots in the third period and got help from the cross bar on another attempt to help Harvard improve to 3-10-2, 3-5-2.

"We didn't do the things you need to do over 60 minutes to win a hockey game," said Keith Allain '80, Yale's Malcolm G. Chace Head Coach of Hockey. "

Eli Freshman Jeff Malcolm made 19 saves - and not more than eight in any period - but nearly half of them were quality stops.

The scoreless first period shots on goal may have read 12-4 in favor of the visitors, but the Crimson had all the quality chances. The Bulldogs had the game's first five on target and Harvard did not put one near Malcolm until more than the midway point of the frame.  The first one for the home team required a nifty stick save by the freshman netminder, and the next two were even better chances and stops. Junior Ryan Carroll was steady at the other end with 12 saves, but the Bulldogs made great plays to set up opportunities that never resulted in grade-A ones.

A hold-over man-advantage early in the second period helped Yale take the lead. Tom Dignard, who assisted on both Yale goals, hit a speeding Sean Backman with a pass up the right side. The senior forward, who now has 11 goals, wound up and blasted a low shot inside the far post just 36 seconds in.  

The 1-0 advantage lasted until Harvard's next power play, a Leblanc snap shot from the middle of the slot at 2:08. Conor Morrison set up Leblanc by one-touching a crossing feed back to his teammate, who was open with plenty of space to shoot.

The Cantabs made it two straight 64 seconds later. Freshman center Alex Fallstrom couldn't have had any expectations that his shot from the top of the right circle could become his first collegiate goal, but it managed to catch the Yale goalie off guard to make it 2-1. Things were falling apart for Malcolm, who made a left pad save on a Ryan Grimshaw shot that was put back into the net at 9:48 by Leblanc (6th goal) for a two-goal cushion heading into the third.

Yale survived consecutive penalty-kills in the first four minutes of the third thanks to a few great Malcolm saves and a shot from the low slot that went off the cross bar.

That helped the Blue cut the margin to 3-2 at 5:22 after a delayed penalty call with Yale already on a power play. Junior winger Broc Little one-timed a Dignard feed from the lower right circle past Carroll for his team-high 12th goal of the year.

"Once we killed off the two penalties, we really played with some energy," said Allain.

The Bulldogs, who had a 14-8 shots advantage in the final 20 minutes, moved the puck well and created space with bursts and well-timed passes, but couldn't get another one past the Harvard goalie. A Little penalty for "grasping the facemask" with 1:25 left prevented another chance to even things.

 "We had a couple of good chances," said Allain.

The Bulldogs, who have played four straight road games, return home Saturday night at 7:30 to face Brown on Ingalls Rink Dedication Day.

 

Report filed by Steve Conn, Yale Sports Publicity Director

 

Tom Dignard image by Sam Rubin '95

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