No. 2 Yale Wins Fourth Straight
NEW HAVEN, Conn. – The nation's top scoring team showed it could overcome adversity despite being held to a season-low 24 shots on goal. No. 2 Yale, which had to weather a Rensselaer comeback, won its fourth straight game and moved into a second-place tie with a 4-2 decision before a full house at Ingalls Rink in ECAC Hockey action.
Andrew Miller's third-period power-play goal broke a 2-2 tie and was the deciding tally to put the Bulldogs at 9-1 overall, 5-0 in ECAC Hockey. It was ironic that the team ranked second in Division I in penalty minutes used eight RPI infractions to notch two of its four goals.
No. 15/16 RPI (7-4-3, 2-3-0) may have held the shot total down on defense, but it was Yale that won the defensive battle by allowing just 17 shots on target and preventing a power-play score out of five chances. Ryan Rondeau, Yale's senior goalie, stopped 15 shots and got plenty of support from the guys in white jerseys.
"I thought we played well, but we were not as sharp as we would like to be with our passing and our receiving passes," said Keith Allain '80, Yale's Malcolm G. Chace Head Coach of Hockey. "We were not efficient enough on our scoring chances, but RPI is a good team. They [RPI] did a great job of getting in the shot lanes. The discouraged shots and blocked shots."
The Elis have been outshooting opponents by nearly a 2-to-1 margin this season, so they couldn't expect much in a period where both teams got six shots on net. If those were the expectations, they were very wrong. Yale hit the net on two of those six shots, including one power-play goal and took a 2-0 lead into the first intermission.
A penalty 34 seconds after the opening draw turned into trouble for the Engineers. Yale did not generate much pressure on the RPI net for the first half of the advantage but eventually cashed in with a classic tic-tack-toe tally. Mike Matczak moved it from the point down to Denny Kearney, who one-timed it across to Little near the edge of the crease. Little, who has a team-high nine goals, gathered from off angle and moved it back and inside the post at 2:23.
The Bulldogs increased the lead with a nasty shot from Cahill (4th). The Yale senior forward picked up a blocked shot by Colin Dueck on the inner edge of the right circle and then snapped off a low shot that went stick side on Allen York (20 saves) at 13:36
The Yale penalty kill had one of its best chances on the Engineers' second attempt midway through the second frame. Not only did the Blue prevent any shots from going on goal, an aggressive fore-check by Kevin Limbert and Cahill, which prevented the puck from going out of the RPI end for almost was as exciting as any goal scored in this game.
The only tally of the next period came from RPI despite managing just four shots on goal.
Rondeau's biggest save in the first 40 minutes came late in the second period when an RPI stick got to a loose puck on the edge of the crease with an open side of the net calling for it. The Bulldog netminder stuck out a leg just as the stick connected with the puck.
However, Yale could not keep the visitors off the board. A long Nick Bailen (6th goal) wrist shot from the point bounced on the ice while going through traffic with 54 seconds left in the same period to cut the margin in half heading into the third.
RPI used the momentum from the end of the previous period to even things at 2-2. Mike Bergin one-timed a back pass into the net from the top of the left circle at 4:37. Alex Angers-Goulet protected the puck along the goal line extended before sending it out to his defenseman who notched his second goal of the year.
Three consecutive RPI penalties midway through the second led to the game-winner. The Bulldogs jumped all over a two-man advantage to nail their third goal. After winning a faceoff in the visitor's end, Brian O'Neill and Miller (3rd) moved it back and forth before the sophomore fired a sniper wrist shot past York's glove 12 seconds into the 5-on-3.
"There was a little space for us to work with. I was working it with O'Neill. It's important for us to take advantage of opportunities like that," said Miller. "RPI is a fast and physical team that likes to finish checks. They are a tough team to play against."
The Engineers, desperate for the equalizer, pulled York with 1:42 left when both sides were skating four. It did not produce a quality scoring chance, but it did help the home team get the clincher.
Anderson (3rd) grabbed a loose puck in his own end and flicked a bouncer down the ice that eventually hit the back of the net.
The Bulldogs have a rare Friday-Sunday conference set, and it would not have been unusual for them to start thinking ahead when they got the two-goal lead.
"We feel very good about this win," said Yale captain Jimmy Martin. "Every game in this league is tough. This weekend is a great test for us with two good teams."
BULLDOG BITES: Yale hosts Union on Sunday at 3 p.m. in a game that airs live on ESPNU… The Elis were outscored by RPI 9-2 last year… This was the second game Yale did not allow a power-play goal… Little's goal streak was extended to four straight games... This was Yale's first game against a ranked opponent this season.
image: Bulldogs celebrate Cahill's goals (Don Clark)
filed by Steve Conn, Yale Sports Publicity Director