February 18, 2011

Bulldogs Blast Bobcats 6-1

Kearney Gets 2, Rondeau Makes 30 Saves

HAMDEN, Conn. – Road games in recent weeks have presented new challenges for the Yale men's hockey team, so the Bulldogs could not have been overly confident this evening heading to a place where they had never won.  It sure didn't look that way after 60 minutes. Five different players hit the net and Ryan Rondeau stopped 30 of 31 shots as No. 3 Yale beat Quinnipiac 6-1 before 3,957 at the TD Bank Sports Center.

Denny Kearney had two goals while Chad Ziegler, Kevin Limbert, Jimmy Martin and Brian O'Neill tallied goals as the Elis (21-5, 15-4 ECAC) outshot the Bobcats 42-31. Kenny Agostino had two assists on a night when his team scored two shorthanders. The win helped the Blue remain one point behind Union in the race for the conference title with three games left in the regular season. It also clinched a bye in the first round of the ECAC tournament and guaranteed that the Elis would finish no lower than second place.

Neither team was very successful with the man-advantage. Yale went 1-for-6 while the Cats scored once on five attempts. Rondeau, and an excellent defensive effort in the visitor's end, kept Quinnipiac (13-13-5, 6-9-4) off the board when things got scary.

"We were very good right from the start. It's a lot easier playing in front," said Keith Allain '80, Yale's Malcolm G. Chace Head Coach of Hockey, whose team is now 7-5 on the road. "We had a great week of practice, and we feel great about ourselves on the road."

Eric Hartzell got the start in net for Quinnipiac and made 23 saves in two periods before being replaced by Dan Clarke (13 saves).

First periods have been an on-and-off thing lately for the Bulldogs, but tonight it was clearly on.  Yale may only have outshot the Cats 12-11, but the Blue buzzed the offensive end and moved the puck up ice with great speed. The visitors, who couldn't find the net on four advantages, still grabbed a 2-0 lead at the intermission.

First Ken Trentowski rifled a shot from the point that may have bounced off a defender. The puck went over Hartzell's shoulder at 3:57. The announcement was made that junior Chad Ziegler, who was near the slot, had scored the goal. Trentowski, a senior defenseman, was more than happy to have it corrected and get his first goal of the year. 

The Bulldogs used their first penalty kill of the night to get the second score. Chris Cahill won the race to a loose puck along the Yale blueline and chipped it out.  Limbert took it at center ice with a defender in front of him. Limbert created a little space and then let fly a nasty wrister that stunned the home netminder with just 14 seconds left in the first for his sixth of the season.

"That was a big goal at the end of the period, it really helps momentum," said Kearney.

The Yale fore-check also was dominating in the first frame and helped produce many of the shots on target. That aggressive effort never stopped on this night.

Very few people in the packed building noticed that Yale had taken a three-goal lead 6:36 into the second. But the scoreboard didn't change. A minute later, after play had stopped, the referees were heading for the scorer's booth to have a look.

Martin, who took a pass from Antoine Laganiere, shot the puck from the right circle. It whizzed over Hartzell's shoulder and through the back left side of the net. The puck bounced to the ice; no referee signaled a goal and the lamp did not go on. From the press box, you could see the net flutter and it was no surprise that the officials went to the video to confirm the captain's fifth of the season.

"I had no idea it went in. I knew I had room and I aimed for it," said Martin. "My job is to get back, so I was sprinting back and never saw it go in."

The Yale players on the bench saw it and asked for a review.

Kearney (13 goals this year), Yale's active leading scorer against the Bobcats with seven goals, was at it again tonight. The senior forward, skating four-on-four, took a pass from Colin Dueck, moved into the middle of the slot and then fired a rising shot past Hartzell's stick at 11:16.

The home team broke through on a power play with 5:47 left in the second to cut the margin to 4-1. A crossing feed in the low slot turned into a Kellen Jones goal at 14:13, but that is all the Cats could get past Rondeau.  The Yale senior goalie was certainly on his game tonight, controlling rebounds and staying calm when pucks were flying around him.

"Ryan [Rondeau] was outstanding. They had some really good chances, but he looked poised and solid," said Allain.

The Eli special teams answered the Jones goal almost a minute later when O'Neill one-timed a tip-over from Agostino at 15:23. Kevin Peel took a shot from the point and the freshman forward moved it over to O'Neill (16), who has four goals over the last two games, before the goalie could cover the opening and prevent Yale from going up 5-1.

Yale's special teams became even more special when the Bobcats, on a two-man advantage, pulled Clarke for a 6-on-3 late in the period. Quinnipiac got off three shots, two of which were blocked, before Kearney gathered in the puck in the low slot and fired a full-ice shot into the back of the net at 15:57.

"This [TD Bank] is a tough place to play, and it's a big win for us," said Martin. "We got back to playing our game. We were doing the little things well and that contributed to our victory."

BULLDOG BITES: The Elis scored their second and third shorthanded goals of the season and the first since Broc Little scored in the season opener… Jimmy Martin's goal may never have been counted if the game was not on TV. Quinnipiac does not have the overhead camera/video replay system in place (next year it becomes an NCAA requirement) and there would have been no way to watch that shot... Yale is now 1-3-1 at TD Bank Sports Center… The five-goal margin was the largest since a 10-3 win over Holy Cross on Jan. 2… The Yale lineup was the same as last Saturday at Clarkson… The Blue skates at Princeton Sunday at 1 pm in a game broadcast live by ESPNU.

 

Story and Image Filed by Steve Conn, Yale Sports Publicity Director