December 7, 2011

Bulldogs Fall Short at UMass

Not Enough Advantage on Power Play

AMHERST, Mass. – Branden Gracel broke a 1-1 tie midway through the third period that sent Massachusetts to a 3-1 win over the No. 17 Yale men's hockey team before 2,473 at the Mullins Center.

The Bulldogs (6-5-1) played hard and had plenty of chances to distance themselves from the Minutemen, but going 1-for-6 with the advantage was just too much for Yale goalie Jeff Malcolm (Lethbridge, AB) to overcome. He made 30 saves and stopped all four power plays, including a number of grade-A chances, and deserved a better fate than a second straight loss.

UMass (5-7-4) outshot the Blue 33-27 and erased a one-goal deficit with the game's last three tallies, while freshman goalie Kevin Boyle made 26 saves. Ten of those saves came with his team down a man, which ended up being the difference.

"This was another hard-fought game that went down to the very end," said Keith Allain '80, Yale's Malcolm G. Chace Head Coach of Hockey. "Once we get better with the details of our team game, we will be able to win this type of game. We have a nice stretch here where we will be able to work and improve our overall game."

The Blue had three power-play chances in the first seven minutes and cashed in the middle one to take a 1-0 lead. Senior Chad Ziegler (Spruce Grove, AB) won the draw in the UMass end and the puck went to junior Antoine Laganiere (Ile Cadieux, Que.), who slipped it to junior Nick Jaskowiak (Bloomington, Minn.), whose blueline partner, Gus Young (Dedham, Mass.) was ready for a feed. Young, looking for his first collegiate goal, snapped off a low shot that got past Boyle at 5:25.

Nobody in the building figured it would be Yale's only goal tonight, the Bulldogs were forechecking, creating chances and just barely missing one shot after another.

Malcolm needed some huge stops to keep the home team off the board in the opening frame. A Bulldog defenseman gave the puck away in his end and the junior goalie snapped a point-blank shot out of the air with 5:11 left. Malcolm, who made 11 saves in the first, stopped a few scary shots on a two-man disadvantage at the end of the period and made another big save to kill off the rest of the power play starting the second.

The Yale defensive effort was nearly perfect until the Minutemen capitalized on a two-on-one rush down the right side. Peter DeAngelo held on the outside and then wristed a rising shot inside the far post at 7:36 into the middle period. Malcolm, who had 11 saves again in the period, rebounded from the tally to make a huge stop on a three-on-one rush and sent the visitors to a second-intermission tie.

The game-winner didn't appear to come from a dangerous defensive situation until Gracel skated out from the corner without any defensive pressure, pulled up at the edge of the crease and backhanded a low shot into the back of the net at 9:18.

The Elis, who don't play anyone until the Russian Red Stars come to New Haven for a Dec. 28 exhibition, had more great chances to even things with a power play a little more than a minute after the Gracel tally but couldn't solve Boyle, who had his best period with 11 saves. Boyle's efforts on the penalty kill were even more impressive knowing the Elis owned the seocnd-best power-play unit in the country.

Malcolm got off the ice for the extra skater with 37 seconds left and T.J. Syner dropped a shot into the empty net seven seconds later to put it away.

 

BULLDOG BITES

Sophomore F Kenny Agostino (Flanders, NJ), who was named to the US Junior National Team's preliminary roster for this year's world championships, missed his second straight game with an injury... This was Keith Allain's first game coaching at the Mullins Center, which has an ice surface 10 feet wider than Ingalls Rink (85 feet)… The one change in the lineup from last Saturday at Brown was freshman F Nicholas Weberg (Oslo, Norway) in for classmate Trent Ruffolo (Coral Springs, Fla.)… The only player in the Yale lineup who came back to his home state tonight was sophomore D Gus Young (Dedham, Mass.).

 

Report filed by Steve Conn, Yale Sports Publicity Director