ARCOBELLO HAS 6 POINTS IN RECORD SETTING GAME
WORCESTER, Mass. – The Bulldogs showed why they are one of the most exciting teams in college hockey this season, but seven goals were not enough to send Yale, in the highest scoring NCAA Tournament game in 50 years, to its first-ever Frozen Four. No. 2 ranked Boston College fought off a pair of Bulldog surges to hold on for 9-7 win before 6,054 at the DCU Center in the NCAA Northeast Regional final.
Mark Arcobello had three goals and three assists, Brian O’Neill had two goals and two assists and Andrew Miller dished out four helpers on a bad night to be a goalie. These offensive efforts helped the Bulldogs finish with 10 goals in the two regional games and earn the program’s first NCAA win in the modern era.
The Elis, who finish the season at 21-10-3, were successful on three of seven power plays, while holding the Eagles (27-10-3), who advance to Detroit, scoreless on five advantages. That’s the kind of numbers that Yale would gladly have taken heading into their first regional final.
However, the Yale defense was not successful enough at even strength, and three goalies saw the end result too close-up. Ryan Rondeau, fresh off his 34 save win, got the start and finished with 18 saves in 30 minutes. He gave up five tallies before giving way to two others who allowed a pair each.
“I would like to congratulate Boston College, Jerry York and his staff. They are a great team and they did a great job,” said Keith Allain ’80 Yale’s Malcolm G. Chace Head Coach of Hockey. “I can’t tell you how proud I am of my guys. There were numerous occasions during the course of the game where they could have thrown in the towel, but didn’t. That’s what I’ve come to expect from this program and that’s what I’ve seen from this group.”
Cam Atkinson, the tournament’s MVP, also had three goals to lead the Eagles’ charge. The two teams each had 39 shots on target and BC goalie Dan Muse endured all 60 minutes to gather 32 saves.
The game’s first goal set the tone last night in Yale’s win over No. 5 North Dakota. But that goal didn’t come off equipment failure. Ryan Donald’s stick broke as he took a slap shot from the point and it immediately turned into a two-on-one because the Yale blueliner was without his stick. Atkinson saw Ryan Gibbons heading up ice and flipped a lead pass that allowed his linemate to be open on the left side with a path to the net. Gibbons, who notched his 16th of the season, fired a low wrister that went five-hole.
The Bulldogs put a flurry of shots on the Boston College net in one stretch, taking advantage of mistakes and Yale speed. That led to an Eli tally. Miller sent a long crossing, lead pass from the Yale end ahead to O’Neill just before the BC blueline. O’Neill crossed over and left it for Arcobello’s blast from the top of the left circle. Muse made the save but the rebound came out to O’Neill (15th goal) and the sophomore forward held it, waited for Muse to commit and then tucked it inside the right post at 13:32 to make it 1-1.
Yale fought through some tough penalty calls with great penalty-kills to finally get its first advantage late in the opening frame. And that turned into a goalie’s nightmare… for the Bulldogs. Carl Sneep’s clearing blast from his own end took a wicked hop (one similar to the Brown shot that hit the net from center ice in game one of the ECACs) past Rondeau at 16:34. It was Sneep’s 11th goal this year.
Two bad breaks turned into two goals for the Eagles, who outshot Yale 13-12. That was the prelude for a wild, seven-goal middle period.
BC made it 3-1 at 2:23 of the middle frame by jumping all over a juicy rebound. Pat Mullane’s pass from behind the goal line was on Joe Whitney’s stick with room to shoot. Rondeau made the save and stopped the next rebound attempt from Whitney, but the third was just too much.
Miller’s great passing ability got the Blue back in the game again. This time, on the man-advantage, he fed Arcobello from behind the net and the senior forward snapped off a shot on the ice from the high slot that went between Muse’s legs at 4:46 to make it a one-goal game for the moment.
Atkinson picked off a Yale pass at the top of the right circle and took three strides before wristing a low shot under Rondeau’s pad
The Yale goalie had some great moments. He thwarted a pretty one-time attempt on the doorstep with just over 11 minutes left in the frame, but couldn’t hold off the hot Eagles. Less than two minutes later, another pass from behind the net was one-timed to the back of the net by Atkinson to make it 5-2. That tally sent the Yale junior to the bench for senior Billy Blase (8 saves).
The new Yale netminder made a nice save on the first shot he saw but couldn’t get a piece of a Whitney shot at 14:46 from the left circle that sailed inside the near post to up the lead to 6-2. But the Bulldogs weren’t done yet.
Yale cut it to 6-3 off a draw in the BC end. Yale blueliner Kevin Peel got the puck to the point for Arcobello (13th), who sent a high shot over Muse’s shoulder.
Then the Blue jumped all over a power play to bring it back to a two-goal deficit. A clearing attempt was picked off by Jimmy Martin at the point. The junior defenseman fired a shot toward traffic in the slot and Denny Kearney (12th), who had two goals last night, re-directed it by a flick of his blade into the back of the cage with 1:33 left in the second.
The Bulldogs had plenty of chances to creep closer to the favored Eagles and came close a few times early in the third before another bad break gave BC a breakaway. A shot from the point was blocked by the Eagles and the puck squirted slowly to the other end. The only Eli who could get to the puck before Atkinson was Blase, but he decide to stay in the crease. Atkinson picked it up between the slot and the blueline and flicked a shot over the goalie’s shoulder at 4:16 to put BC up 7-4. Freshman Jeff Malcolm (4 saves) then replaced Blase.
Things did not improve in the Yale end, and Boston College winger Jimmy Hayes put the game away in 23 seconds. He banged one home on a rebound from the side of the net and then blasted a slap shot from the left circle, all on the same shift.
“I don’t think we were very good as a team defensively. The goaltenders were part of that, but they certainly weren’t the only part of that,” said Allain.
Once again, the Bulldogs fired back despite the five-goal deficit. Arcobello took a great feed from O’Neill, deked and then went top shelf at 13:32 on a power play to make it 9-5. Shortly after, O’Neill re-directed a point pass from Arcobello with 4:05 left and it was 9-6.
“If only I played as well on defense as on offense, I could have prevented a couple of goals,” said Arcobello, when asked if there was any consolation in having the big offensive night during his late game for Yale.
Allain pulled Malcolm with about three minutes left, and there was still a little magic left. Arcobello gathered in a puck at the point, saving it from being cleared, and flung it toward the net. Broc Little happened to be cruising through the crease and got his blade on the shot just as Muse was going to glove it. Little tipped it home with 1:22 left for his 27th of the year.
“I thought Yale was as fine an offensive team as we have had a chance to play in the last few years. Their stick skills and ability to score goals gave us all kinds of problems,” said BC head coach Jerry York. “Keith (Allain) has done an amazing job. The game was never over because of their skill factor and skill set. We were looking at a pretty good lead and then all of a sudden we’re back protecting down the stretch.”
Arcobello and senior defenseman Tom Dignard made the Northeast Regional All-Tournament Team… Yale sophomore Kevin Peel, who replaced junior Mike Matczak on defense tonight, was back after an injury that knocked him out of the last two periods of game three of the ECAC quarterfinals. That was the only change in the lineup from Saturday… This was the first game Yale lost (now 12-1) when tallying at least two PPG… The nine goals allowed are the most since losing 9-1 to Minnesota-Duluth on Nov. 25, 2005… Mark Arcobello’s six points are tied for second all-time in an NCAA Tournament game and the most by a Bulldog in 19 years… Yale set the record for most goals scored by a losing team in an NCAA regional game… Yale tied the mark for most goals scored by a losing team in an NCAA Tournament game.
Story filed by Steve Conn, Yale Sports Publicity Director