Rondeau Strong in 5-2 Win at Whale
NEW HAVEN, Conn. – The final score, 5-2, was not indicative of the way this classic men's ECAC Hockey contest was played. Kenny Agostino's goal with 11:16 left in the third broke open a 2-2 game and sent No. 1 ranked Yale on to victory over Clarkson before a sold-out Ingalls Rink.
On a night when the Bulldog power play went 0-for-7, the home team still got two goals from Chris Cahill (3 points) and other scores from Brian O'Neill and Denny Kearney. Kevin Peel pitched in two assists while Ryan Rondeau stopped 21 of 23 shots to help the Blue improve to 16-2 overall, 10-1 in the ECAC, and remain atop the conference standings.
Rondeau and the Yale penalty-kill were successful on seven of eight attempts. The senior goalie stopped all 10 shots in the second period, when the Elis needed him the most.
Yale outshot Clarkson 33-23 during one of the most physical games of the season. The Knights' netminder Paul Karpowich made 28 saves and was the primary reason the game was so close most of the way.
"All game long we were creating odd-man opportunities and we were able to break through in the third period," said Keith Allain '80, Yale's Malcolm G. Chace Head Coach of Hockey. "We went into third period with a lead and relinquished it. That would make some teams weaker, but it appeared to make us stronger. I thought we had our best moments of the game after that, which tells you a lot about our character."
The Bulldogs had trouble staying out of the penalty box in the first period. Three calls could have turned into big trouble for the Blue, instead they took a lead into intermission.
Yale got on the board first thanks to a pretty Cahill feed. Colin Dueck gathered the puck at his own blueline and quickly sent it up to Cahill, who saw O'Neill breaking over the blueline a step ahead of the defense. Cahill put it on the junior's stick going full steam for the net. O'Neill made one fake to his forehand and tucked it backhand at 11:24 for his 11th tally of the year and a lead that would last exactly five minutes.
The visitors cashed in on their second power-play chance. A shot from the point and a rebound out to the right of the crease turned into a relatively easy Nick Tremblay put-back into a small opening inside the near post at 16:24. Tremblay had to beat a Yale defender to the loose puck to net his sixth of the year.
The Bulldogs turned the tide on the Knights' third man-advantage to take a 2-1 lead before intermission. Cahill, who now has a career-high 11 goals, did almost all the work himself. He made a big hit on a Clarkson defenseman on their blueline and then sprinted out to the middle after Limbert had the puck at center ice. Limbert fed Cahill who raced in alone (the defender that would have been there was the guy Cahill hit) on Karpowich. The senior forward froze the goalie on his forehand and then tucked a backhander into the net at 17:18 for the first shorthanded goal of his career.
Both goalies came up with big saves on grade-A chances. Rondeau stopped Adam Pawlick at 15:47 with a point-blank blocker save on a mini breakaway before Karpowich knocked aside Brendan Mason's odd-man rush at 14:54 during a Yale penalty-kill.
The second period may have been scoreless, but it was not lacking action. After being outshot by four in the first, Clarkson had a 10-8 advantage. Both sides had great scoring chances, most notably Broc Little, who broke in alone on the man-advantage and shot one off Karpowich's pad with 3:05 left. In addition, both teams were blanked on four power plays.
The Golden Knights (11-9-2, 5-4-1) got the equalizer early in the third. Just as Brendan Mason was coming out of the penalty box, and with Clarkson on a 4-on-3, Julien Cayer picked up the puck in the corner and wheeled around from the lower edge of the right circle. The Clarkson forward fired it low and inside the near post for his first goal just 1:37 in.
The Blue had a chance to get ahead again four minutes later with 71 seconds of 5-on-3 hockey but could not manage a shot on net. Clarkson packed its penalty-kill down low and did a great job of not allowing many shots to get past the first line of defense. All shots that got by went off target.
Yale finally grabbed the lead again when Josh Balch grabbed a loose puck in his end and chipped it off the wall and ahead for Agostino near center ice. With a defender draped all over him, the Yale freshman swooped from the wall to the lower slot before using his right hand to flick the puck over Karpowich.
"Balch [Josh] made a great play to get it up to me. I was able to get around them and chip it over the goalie," said Agostino, who used his left hand to ward off a defender.
"Kenny made a great individual effort with a one-handed shot over the goalie," said Allain, who acknowledged a geat progression from his freshman forward. "He was just ok up to the [exam/holiday] break, and came back almost as a different person."
The Knights had plenty of opportunities to pull their goalie under two minutes, but waited until the clock went below a minute. Four seconds later Kearney had the puck (after a Peel poke check assist) heading over the red line. He fired low into the empty net with 47 seconds left that set off an eruption from the big crowd.
Cahill capped the scoring by tapping home his own rebound with one tick left after an Andrew Miller feed.
BULLDOG BITES: Chris Cahill earned first star honors and Kevin Peel was the No. 2 guy… Tonight was the fifth straight sellout at Ingalls Rink… There are no tickets available for Saturday night's game against St. Lawrence… Yale now has a five-point lead in the ECAC standings.
Filed by Steve Conn, Yale Sports Publicity Director
Brian O'Neill image by Don Clark