No. 2/3 Yale Stays On Top of ECAC With Sweep
NEW HAVEN, Conn. – The No. 2/3 Yale men's hockey team is perfect in 14 games at Ingalls Rink after erasing an early deficit with three straight tallies on the way to a 4-2 win over No. 17 Dartmouth that kept the Bulldogs in first place by a point. Four different Elis scored goals and Ryan Rondeau made 25 saves to enable a conference weekend sweep.
Charles Brockett, Andrew Miller, Broc Little and Kevin Limbert hit the net as the Blue (19-4, 13-3 ECAC) outshot the Big Green 42-27. Little, who had an assist, was the only two-point Bulldog tonight.
Rondeau needed 14 of his saves and a penalty-kill in the final frame to hold off a late charge by Dartmouth (13-7-3, 9-5-2), which had gone 6-1-1 since falling to the Elis at Hanover last month.
Big Green goalie James Mello, who blanked Brown Friday night at Providence, stopped 38 shots and two of three Yale advantages but could not withstand the flurry of shots that resulted from the home team winning many of the races to pucks and a great fore-check.
"We had a good jump and everyone was skating. That helped us create a lot of turnovers. We were really moving our feet," said Keith Allain '80, Yale's Malcolm G. Chace Head Coach of Hockey.
The Blue had a 19-10 shots (on target) advantage in the opening frame but generated an amazing 38 shots overall.
The Big Green, which did a great job of killing off Yale's first power play, opened the scoring at 8:36 when Matt Reber found the net for the fifth time this year. The senior wing, skating with space in the right circle, took a crossing pass from Scott Fleming and then wristed a low shot inside the near post.
The Eli fore-check turned it up a notch and the result was Brockett's second career goal, his first at Ingalls Rink. Antoine Laganiere had the puck behind the net and sent it to the point for Nick Jaskowiak, who side-stepped twice before winding up and blasting a low shot. Brockett, who went from the left circle to the high slot, flicked his stick as the puck went by him and re-directed it just enough to throw off Mello at 12:40 of the first.
Yale made it two straight early in the second to take a 2-1 lead. Colin Dueck took a shot from the left circle that Mello knocked aside. Miller, crashing the net on the right side, grabbed the rebound and had an open side to bang it home for his sixth this season.
The home team's power play broke through on its second chance of the night. Chris Cahill chipped the puck over a rushing defender trying to clear the puck. It went to Little, who cruised into the middle of the slot and unleashed a rising wrister that went bar-down. It was Little's team-best 14th goal of the year but his first in six games.
"I tried to put it out of my mind that I wasn't scoring. I couldn't tell it went in. I just saw the crowd stand up," said Little about his goal.
The Bulldogs continued to buzz and put the pressure on the Dartmouth end. It seemed like there was a stretch of three minutes straight where the Big Green could not clear their zone.
Much of that momentum was squeezed out of the Elis at a crucial time. Connor Goggin (2nd goal) brought his squad to within one with 59 seconds left in the second. He fired a mid-level wrister from the point that got past Rondeau's glove. That was the last tally of a middle frame that had Yale outshooting Dartmouth 10-3 and dominating puck possession time.
Rondeau needed four quality saves on a very solid Dartmouth advantage midway through the third to keep the one-goal lead. The Green kept the puck in and found ways to get shots through the Yale sticks that had prevented any shots on goal on the previous Dartmouth power play.
The Big Green had a 14-13 edge in shots in the third, but the Yale defense clamped down and did not allow anything to get past Rondeau. That effort led to the Bulldogs putting the contest away with 1:24 left. Denny Kearney got the puck to Little, who moved into open space and spun in time to see Limbert open and ready in the left circle. Little put the puck in the perfect place and Limbert one-timed it past Mello for his fifth goal of the year.
"Denny [Kearney] was outstanding tonight. He protected the puck down low. He had his A game tonight," said Allain.
Mello was pulled for the extra skater with 65 seconds left but his squad could not put sustained pressure on the Yale end. Little had a great chance to hit an empty net but the pressure from a defender in the right circle forced the shot to miss wide by a few inches.
"Broc's game was way better tonight. As a result, he got opportunities to score and he kept his shifts short," said Allain.
BULLDOG BITES: Yale's 42 shots on goal were the third most this season… Nick Jaskowiak and Dartmouth's Doug Jones received matching 5-minute majors for face-masking, calls that also included game disqualifications (which makes them sit out the next game as well)… The one change in the Yale lineup from last night was Antoine Laganiere in for Josh Balch… Tonight's game was aired live on the YES Network and can be seen again tonight at 11:30 and Sunday at 5 p.m… The Blue beat the White 4-3 in this morning's Yale Alumni Game. Goaltenders Mickey Kappele '87 and Matt Modelski '07 were named co-MVPs of the game.
Filed by Steve Conn, Yale Sports Publicity Director
Limbert image by Steve Conn