January 22, 2011

Bulldogs Notch Home Sweep

No. 1 Yale Beats SLU 4-1

NEW HAVEN, Conn. – Freshman Kenny Agostino has seven goals in his last seven games. Two of the most important ones helped No. 1 Yale beat St. Lawrence 4-1 before a sold-out Ingalls Rink in ECAC men's hockey action.

The Flanders, N.J., native, who leads all Bulldog rookies with eight goals, broke a scoreless deadlock midway through the second and added a power-play tally in the third to help Yale win for the 12th time in 13 games and improve to 17-2, 11-1 ECAC.

The Yale offense, however, was not the story of the game. Senior goalie Ryan Rondeau stopped 28 of 29 shots and his defensive mates blanked a solid Saints' offense for just over 58 minutes. Rondeau, who made a dozen saves in the first, stopped all four SLU advantages and knocked aside numerous grade-A chances to prevent the visitors from taking the game's first goal.

The Blue outshot SLU 36-29 and kept freshman goalie Matt Weninger (32 saves) very busy. He prevented the Elis from hitting the net on six of seven power plays and picked a number of pucks headed for the corners out of the air.

In addition to Agostino, Mike Matczak and Brian O'Neill tallied while Chris Cahill and Brendan Mason each had two assists.

"We got life on our penalty-kill tonight," said Keith Allain '80, Yale's Malcolm G. Chace Head Coach of Hockey. "[Brendan] Mason's line (Chad Ziegler, Charles Brockett) was outstanding. They shut down their big line."

The Blue, who were outshot 12-6 in the first, took consecutive penalties late in the frame and had to kill off 71 seconds down a pair. The Saints got off three shots, none of them on target.  Prior to that, Greg Carey had two point-blank shots with no defender in the way, a few seconds apart, and Rondeau saved one while the other caught pipe.

Yale's best chance to tally in the first followed a brilliant move by Broc Little through the left circle. As a defender slid across in front of him, Little held and backhanded a perfect pass to Chad Ziegler, who barely missed the one-timer.

The home team got the only tally of the second while Yale had a 15-7 edge in shots. The Elis finally broke through after a flurry of shots and near misses. An attempted clear was picked off by Antoine Laganiere along the left boards. He immediately fired on target and the rebound came off Weninger's pads onto Agostino's stick in the low slot. The freshman forward wrapped it around the SLU goalie on his backhand at 12:40.

"A lot of it is luck, being in the right place at the right time," said Agostino, who had the game-winner last night against Clarkson. "Having great players passing the puck also helps."

SLU, playing all weekend without head coach Joe Marsh, had one man-advantage in the second and the Bulldog special teams came up big. Kevin Limbert blocked three shots while the Elis had four overall.

The nation's top offensive team opened things up in the third. Captain Jimmy Martin fired a shot off a defender and the rebound came over to the point. Matczak took it in and unleashed a rising wrister through traffic that sailed over Weninger's shoulder at 4:22.

"I was just trying to get it through. I think Chuckie [Charles Brockett] was screening the goalie," said Matczak about his second tally this season.

The Yale power play finally cashed in on its fifth opportunity. Cahill, who skated a semicircle, set it up by grabbing the puck high, skating by the first line of defense and then dishing for Agostino in the right circle. The rookie was winding up when he saw the pass coming and blasted a shot over the SLU netminder at 8:24.

Rondeau kicked aside nine shots in the third and helped nearly had the shutout.

"Ryan Rondeau was really good tonight. In the first period, the fact that he was able to keep it 0-0 was huge for us. He was big reason we were able to win," said Allain, the former Yale goalie.

Kyle Flanagan finally got the Saints on the board when he one-timed a crossing feed in the low slot at 18:22. That gave SLU enough hope to pull Weninger with 62 seconds left, but the Bulldogs responded with an empty-netter by Brian O'Neill, who got the pass from Mason. The opportunity didn't sit well with St. Lawrence forward Sean Flanagan, who drew a game misconduct for hitting the Yale junior after he deposited the puck in the net with 36 seconds left.

 

BULLDOG BITES:  The Bulldogs go on the road next week to face a pair of nationally ranked teams in RPI and Union… Yale (22 points) has a five-point lead over Union, seven points better than Dartmouth and Princeton.

 

filed by Steve Conn, Yale Sports Publicity Director

Agostino image by Don Clark