Rondeau Makes 32 Saves
HANOVER, N.H. – The Yale men's hockey team had not played this type of game all season. The first low-scoring, close contest on the 2010-11 Bulldogs' resume was a success in hostile territory. Ryan Rondeau stopped 32 shots as the nation's top ranked team extended Division I's longest win streak to eight games and stayed perfect in conference play with a 2-1 win over Dartmouth before 4,312 at Thompson Arena.
A ferocious fore-check, great goaltending and two tallies from sophomores helped the Bulldogs improve to 13-1 (7-0 ECAC) and move into first place. All three goals came in the second period, including clutch shots from Yalies Antoine Laganiere and Josh Balch.
Rondeau, who tied a career-high with his save total, may have played his best game for the Bulldogs. The senior stopped 12 in the first and 10 in each of the last two periods on a night when both teams went scoreless on two man-advantages.
The Blue had the shots advantage, 37-33, as James Mello made 35 saves for the Big Green (7-4-2, 5-2-1).
"It was a heck of a hockey game and Dartmouth played very well," said Keith Allain '80, Yale's Malcolm G. Chace Head Coach of Hockey. "I liked our fore-check, and we made it hard for them to get it up ice."
Dartmouth had the advantage (12-11) in shots during a scoreless first period. It took Yale more than four minutes to get its first puck on net, but the Bulldogs gave Mello a few tests the rest of the way. Andrew Miller made a pair of amazing moves with the puck to get past defensive pairs on different shifts and had Yale's best chances. Mello came up with stops on both attempts.
The visitors broke through first in the middle frame. Brian O'Neill brought the puck over the Dartmouth blueline and fed across to Ken Trentowski. The Eli blueliner carried to the left circle and fired a low shot off Mello's pad. Laganiere extended his long frame to snatch the rebound and flick it into the open side of the net at 7:49 for his second goal of the year.
"The puck popped up and I dragged it past the goalie's pad with an open side," said Laganiere.
The Green evened the score almost five minutes later on a wrap-around shot by Rob Smith (2nd goal) at 12:13. He picked up a loose puck in the corner, swept around the net and squeezed a shot through a small hole at the near post.
The opening period was quick and clean. The game's first penalty didn't come until Chad Ziegler was called for interference late in the second period.
As soon as the Blue killed off the infraction, it struck for a 2-1 lead with Ziegler making the initial pass. Brendan Mason got the puck from Ziegler behind the net and he quickly found Balch between the right circle and the edge of the crease on a perfect feed. The sophomore forward one-timed it inside the near post for his second tally of the year at 16:12. That turned out to be the winner.
"Mason was behind the net and sent me a pass. I just tried to put it back quickly. When you put the puck on the net, anything can happen," said Balch.
The period ended with Yale on a two-man advantage for 48 more seconds and a very busy Mello, who stopped a flurry of shots just before the second buzzer. The home team killed off both penalties and then turned a good defensive play into an odd-man rush that was thwarted at the end by an amazing Rondeau glove save.
"Getting shots early get you focused," said Rondeau. "They came out hard and we weathered the storm. I felt like a lot of shots were from the perimeter, which is what you want. Our guys also blocked a lot of shots."
Dartmouth pulled Mello for the extra skater with 65 seconds left but - like most of the game - the Yale fore-check prevented sustained pressure. When the Green did reach the Yale net, Rondeau came up with the stop every time.
"Ryan [Rondeau] was rock solid. He had real strong first 10 minutes and that helped him as the game went along," said Allain.
"When we had a breakdown, Ryan was there to bail us out," said captain Jimmy Martin.
Filed by Steve Conn, Yale Sports Publicity Director