Bulldogs Bite Tigers in Game 3
Yale Wins 7-3, Harvard Next in Quarterfinals
NEW HAVEN, Conn. – The defending ECAC Hockey Tournament champions were pushed to the brink but came through with an offensive explosion to advance. Antoine Laganiere's first collegiate hat trick and Anthony Day's first two-goal game ignited Yale to a 7-3 win over Princeton in the best-of-three, first-round playoff finale at Ingalls Rink.
The win puts the Bulldogs (15-14-3) at Harvard in a best-of-three quarterfinal series at The Bright Hockey Center starting Friday night at 7.
Laganiere, who scored three for the first time since his senior year in prep school, found the net shorthanded, even strength and on the power play to push his season total to a career-high 17 goals. He had seven of the Elis' 42 shots on goal and helped make a miserable night for Princeton goalie Sean Bonar (35 saves).
Princeton's season came to an end at 9-16-7 and with a valiant fight to the finish. The Tigers put 30 shots on target but went 1-for-8 on the advantage.
"We configured four lines to make things even, so we didn't have to worry about matchups," said Keith Allain '80, Yale's Malcolm G. Chace Head Coach. "We took short shifts and the guys really played well."
It took the Bulldogs more than 46 minutes to find the net in game two, tonight was a different story. Yale scored in the fifth, eighth and 11th minute of the opening frame on the way to a 3-1 intermission lead.
Anthony Day, a freshman forward, matched his career total in the first half of the first period by scoring a pair of pretty goals assisted by Kenny Agostino. On the first one, he took a pass on the inner edge of the left circle, turned to get his body on the right angle to fire and then snapped off a rising shot over Bonar's shoulder at 4:52.
Day's second was a little tougher. With a defender draped all over him on the edge of the crease, the rookie from Buffalo reached out at the last moment and re-directed Agostino's crossing pass inside the near post to make it 3-0.
A shorthanded tally by Laganiere had given the Blue a two-goal lead. After a Saturday night full of penalties and special team goals, the first call of this night was going to be big. So when Colin Dueck was called for boarding 7:19 into the game, you had a feeling it might be a defining moment. Yale's big forward made sure of that. He carried from mid ice and swooped around two defenders on the backhand before lifting a nasty shot from the right circle top shelf.
If anyone in the building needed to see that the Tigers weren't going away, Andrew Calof's high slot snap shot on a 4-on-4 at 16:13 of the first was an obvious sign. It whizzed over Malcolm and almost knocked the water bottle off the top of the net.
The Blue made it 4-1 late in the second just after Princeton killed off a penalty. Andrew Miller had the puck on the left point, sent a crossing pass to Kevin Limbert, who was on the bench when the feed left Miller's stick. Limbert headed toward the net but quickly sent it down to Laganiere, who was on the goal line extended, 20 feet away from the net. The junior one-timed it off Bonar's pad….
There was still time left in the second for Calof to do it again, his fourth goal of the series at 15:39 to cut the margin in half. However, there was an answer from the home team less than a minute later when Laganiere picked up a loose puck in the right circle and carried to the low slot before he deked and then fired blocker side on Bonar. About 50 hats immediately flew out of the stands onto the ice as the red light went on.
"We knew they had a short bench. We were just trying to get the puck deep and tire them out," said Laganiere. "I think we wore them down."
The Elis thought they had another in the final second of the second when Chad Ziegler dove and poked a puck past the Princeton goalie off a face-off in the right circle, but it was waved off after a video review. And that was a big call because the orange shirted Michael Sdao got his second goal of the series from the same spot, a few steps from the blueline just 56 seconds into the third to make it 5-3.
Malcolm, making his first start since Feb. 11 at Cornell, came up huge over the last five minutes with four or five quality stops.
"The guys in this league are not used to playing three games in a weekend. It's hard to ask him (Nick Maricic) to do that. We trust all of our goalies," said Allain, when asked why he made the switch in goal.
Bonar left the net for an extra skater with the teams skating 4-on-4. That set up Brian O'Neill's best chance for a goal. He had been making great plays all game, but was missing the reward. Miller sent a pass off the boards on the right side in the Yale end and the captain barely won the race to it. He got to the top of the right circle at the other end, dove and smacked a shot into the empty net as the Princeton player fell on top of him.
The finishing touches on the scoring came 4-on-3. Kevin Peel made a great play to keep the puck in and skate past a Tiger forward. He came in full speed toward the net and dished to the opposite circle at the last second. Clinton Bourbonais one-timed a shot low into the back of the net for Yale's 15th goal of the weekend series.
"This was truly a team victory, which is exactly what we were hoping for," said Allain, who will face the Crimson at Harvard for the first time in the playoffs since his first season behind the Yale bench in 2006-07.
Here's what happened in the other ECAC Hockey Game 3s on Sunday:
RPI 4, Clarkson 1 (Engineers head to Union for quarterfinals)
Quinnipiac 4, Brown 2 (Bobcats take on Colgate)
Dartmouth won its series 2-0 and will play at Cornell
O'Neill's two points gave him 162 for his career and moved him past Mark Kaufmann '93 into second place on the school list… Yale went with the same lineup for the third straight night with the exception at goalie… This is the 2nd time Yale and Princeton have gone to a 3rd and final game of an ECAC Playoff Series. In 2008, the Tigers won the first and third games of a quarterfinal series at Baker Rink to advance to the championships… This was the second straight year Yale is hosting a game three of a tournament series; the Elis beat SLU in the quarters last March… Tonight was the 17th (regular and post-season) and final home game for the Blue, which went 10-7 at the Whale in 2011-12… Six seniors got a victory in their final game at the Whale… Yale is 5-1-1 over its last seven… The Bulldogs outshot the Tigers this weekend 117-88. Yale was 6-18 on the PP, while Princeton was 3-20.
Filed by Steve Conn, Yale Sports Publicity Director
Antoine Laganiere image by Don Clark
Click Here for game images by Mara Lavitt of the New Haven Register