CLEMENTE HALTS YALE RUN WITH 44 SAVES
NEW HAVEN, Conn. – The last thing anyone at Ingalls Rink figured to see in the finale of the best-of-three ECAC Hockey Quarterfinal Series was a defensive battle since the two teams had combined for 38 goals over this year’s four meetings. Mike Clemente stopped all 44 shots he faced from the nation’s top scoring team to take Brown past No. 6 Yale 1-0 on the way to the conference semi-finals.
“This was a night when the goalie stole the game,” said Keith Allain ’80, Yale’s Malcolm G. Chace Head Coach of Yale Hockey. “It’s as frustrating as it can get… when a guy in a team sport is a difference maker.”
Clemente stopped 13 in the first and 19 in the third to record his third career shutout and first of the year. That included stopping five Yale man-advantages on a night when the Elis had a 44-21 advantage in shots.
Brown (12-19-4) earned its second straight playoff series upset in three games, having won the first and last nights of last weekend’s games at RPI.
The Elis (20-9-3), who fell to No. 12 in the PairWise Rankings minutes after the loss and then went up to No. 10 an hour later, can only wait to see if they will be among the 16 teams going to the NCAA Tournament. The tournament selection show is a week from today at 11:30 a.m. on ESPN2.
Yale senior goalie Billy Blase stopped 20 of 21 shots and both of the Brown man-advantages, but the one that got away came with his team up a skater.
Yale first power-play attempt turned into the game-winner for the Bears, their second shorthanded tally in as many nights. Mark Arcobello was flying over the blueline with the puck and collided with Andrew Miller. Jack Maclellan (15th goal) was there to grab the puck and buzz to the other end before snapping off a rising shot from the right circle at 9:21.
“I definitely should have had it,” said Blase, who made a number of big stops but came up one short of keeping it an ultimate defensive struggle. “I don’t want to be too hard on myself. It was tough that it had to be the game-winner.”
The Elis had a 13-5 advantage in shots on target in the first but only had one grade-A scoring chance, a breakaway by Denny Kearney that was stuffed by Clemente with 7:40 left. The Brown penalty kill was successful on all three attempts, and the Bears also put bodies on Yale players, including one that took Kevin Peel out of the game.
Blase made 11 stops while Clemente had a dozen in a scoreless middle frame. The Yale netminder stood on his head three times over the last five minutes of the period. He knocked down two shots with just over four minutes left but saved the best for last with 2:34 on the clock. Skating four aside, Maclellan ripped a shot from the high slot through traffic that required great reflexes to stop.
The Bulldogs, who were being given some space on the outside by a respecting Bear defense, created plenty of good looks at the net but were a touch off. One of the best chances was a move by Broc Little that produced a backhander from the edge of the crease and surprisingly ended up as a goalie charging call on the Yale junior.
“I am extremely proud of the way we competed. We played smart, we were persistent,” said Allain, whose squad entered the series with eight straight wins over the team from Providence.
Yale kept pounding the net and getting turned away. Kearney’s nasty wrister from the edge of the crease with a bit over eight minutes left required a great Clemente glove save. Little’s shot through traffic from the low slot was another top-notch move with 3:55 on the clock.
Yale called a timeout with 1:04 left and pulled Blase for the extra skater. The only chance that resulted in was Little and another Clemente glove save.
Arcobello led the Bulldogs with nine shots on goal while Kearney had six.
“I felt it all game long,” said Allain about his team getting on the board. “And not just the tying goal, I thought we would get more. The chances were there, rebounds and posts.”
Two Yale juniors hit the career 100-games played mark tonight, defenseman Jimmy Martin and forward Denny Kearney… Senior blueliner Tom Dignard is now alone in fourth place on the school points list for defensemen with 75. His 19 goals are also fourth on the career list… The Yale lineup was the same one used on Saturday… The on-ice officials were the same all three games.