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O'Neill Hat Trick Lifts Yale To 6-3 Win

O'Neill Hat Trick Lifts Yale To 6-3 Win

Mason Nets Two At Clarkson

POTSDAM, N.Y.Brian O'Neill had three goals and Brendan Mason added a pair as the No. 2 Yale men's hockey team erased an early deficit with five straight tallies on the way to a 6-3 win over Clarkson before 2,173 at Cheel Arena.

The win kept the Bulldogs (20-5, 14-4) a point behind first-place Union with four games left in the regular season and gave them a weekend road split in the North Country. The victory also marked the third straight 20-win season for the Elis, who only had two prior to that.

Yale had a 37-25 edge in shots and scored twice on five man-advantages while also getting a goal from Chad Ziegler and 22 saves from Ryan Rondeau, who blanked Clarkson on three advantages.

"We didn't feel good about last night, and we responded the way a good team should," said Keith Allain '80, Yale's Malcolm G. Chace Head Coach of Hockey. "We had all four lines going and playing well."

O'Neill, who had a five-point weekend, notched his first career hat trick by scoring once in the first and twice in the second and now leads the team with 15 goals.

"We kept it simple tonight. We were careful with the puck and didn't turn it over. We got more chances by protecting it," said O'Neill, who did not want to talk about his own performance. "I'm just glad to win," he said.

Clarkson (13-14-2, 7-9-1), which beat Brown Friday, scored once in each period with three different players hitting the net.

The Bulldogs, who got a pair of assists from both Andrew Miller and Kenny Agostino, were barking from the opening faceoff. The offensive zone pressure was tremendous and shots were generated from every line as Yale outshot Clarkson 16-6, but the home team somehow found itself up 1-0.

Clarkson got on the board at 2:39 when a rebound off Rondeau in the low slot turned into an easy goal for the Knights. Alex Boak took a harmless slapshot from the right point. The Yale goalie knocked it down but it went directly to an uncovered Julien Cayer, who made one deke and then tucked it behind Rondeau for his second of the year.

Yale's fore-check pressure was causing more than opportunities for the Bulldogs, it forced four Clarkson penalties that led to the 3-1 lead.

The Elis' second man-advantage brought the first tally at 10:12. Miller carried over the blueline and left it for Agostino. The freshman forward hit O'Neill, who zipped by the defense in the slot. He waited for Paul Karpowich (16 saves) to commit and then backhanded a shot into an open left side for his 13th goal this season.

The visitors continued the pinch in the home end and it worked out. Ninety-two seconds after the O'Neill tally, Ziegler jumped all over a rebound of a Jesse Root shot at 11:44 to notch his seventh of the year and give the Blue a one-goal advantage.

The fourth power-play chance was golden for the Blue. Broc Little sent the puck from the right circle across to Mike Matczak, who one-timed it toward the net. Karpowich made the stop and the puck came out to Mason (3rd goal), who pulled it to the right and flicked it home at 16:57.

Clarkson got consecutive power plays early in the second with a chance to get back in the game. Rondeau made four big saves during an impressive Knights' flurry of shots on the first advantage. He didn't need to do anything on the second because the Elis cleared the puck and never let the home team set up in the Yale end. Clarkson did not generate a shot on target during the second power play.

After killing off the two, the Bulldogs amped up the heat in the other end and got two more quick ones from O'Neill. First he took a pretty lead pass from Jimmy Martin and rifled a nasty low wrister inside the right post at 7:40. O'Neill was cutting to the high slot when the pass came from the left point.

Almost three minutes later he used a great Chris Cahill toss to line up a blast from the right circle that went five-hole for the 5-1 lead. That tally chased Karpowich from the net for Richie LaVeau (15). The two Clarkson goalies saw just six Yale shots that frame.

The Knights, who had 15 shots in the second, fought back and Scott Freeman (8th) banged home a rebound of his own shot at 17:37 to close the period's scoring. 

The Bulldogs, fired up after a one-goal last night at Canton, were winning most the races to pucks. Their sixth goal was the perfect example. Brockett picked up a loose puck at mid ice and quickly sent it ahead for Mason, streaking down the right side. The senior forward wound up and unleashed a low shot past LaVeau at 5:57.

"Everyone stepped up and worked well together," said Mason, whose two goals were a career-best. "Our line was really clicking and our team played three good periods tonight, a huge difference from last night."

Clarkson center Jarrett Burton's backhander from the edge of the left circle on a 4-on-4 cut the margin in half late in the third, but it was too little and too late.

"They [Bulldogs] know when they do the right thing, there is a good chance they will be successful," said Allain.

BULLDOG BITES:  The six Yale goals were a road season-high and the most since a 6-4 win at Colgate on Nov. 20… The only change in the Yale lineup from Friday was Nick Jaskowiak in for Gus Young on defense… Brian O'Neill's second-period assist on Andrew Miller's goal at SLU was his 100th collegiate point… The Bulldogs skate at Quinnipiac Friday at 8 p.m. in a game televised by Comcast New England/CPTV.


Filed by Steve Conn, Yale Sports Publicity Director