December 30, 2012

Special Teams The Difference in Holy Cross Win

Weberg Leads Blue with Two

MARLBOROUGH, Mass. – Three power-play goals and a shorthanded tally helped Holy Cross produce a 5-4 win over the No. 14/15 Yale men's hockey team before 1,406 at the New England Sports Center.

The Bulldogs (7-4-2) outshot the Crusaders 36-31 and converted three of six advantages but gave up four special-teams goals and could not recover from the second of three-goal deficits.

Nicholas Weberg, who has three goals in his last two games, led the Blue with two goals, while Jeff Malcolm stopped 26 shots in this non-conference game.

The Crusaders (10-4-2), off to their best start since 2005-06, were losing the battle to the Yale fore-check for the first 10 minutes of the game but got bailed out by goalie Matt Ginn (32 saves), who barely stopped quality chances by Andrew Miller, Josh Balch and Anthony Day

The Bulldogs may have had eight or nine of the first 10 shots on target in the contest but ended up behind 2-0 after two Holy Cross special teams goals. After being dominated in the first half of the frame, the home team figured out how to hold onto the puck long enough to finish with a 15-11 shots advantage.

Adam Schmidt scored shorthanded at 11:13 and then Malcolm stoned a two-man Crusader advantage for 1:39 with three saves, keeping it 1-0. However, Holy Cross had another chance with Yale's third penalty in less than three minutes, which resulted in a Kyle Fletcher one-timer from the right circle and a two-goal lead heading into the first intermission.

The Crusaders pushed the lead to three early in the middle frame on a Brandon Nunn tally, but the Bulldogs didn't stop grinding.

The Elis, who outshot Holy Cross 15-8, got one back at 6:23 of the second on the power play. Kenny Agostino took a long pass along the right boards, beat a defenseman and came in alone on Ginn. The junior forward deked forehand and then tucked it the other way for his seventh of the year.

The pressure continued in the home end, and the visitors cut the margin to one with 2:48 left in the second on another advantage. Miller, skating through the right circle on an odd-man rush, sent a perfect lead pass to Weberg, who was streaking down the left side ahead of the defense. Weberg re-directed the pass into the back of the net for his second of the year.

The momentum had clearly shifted back to the Blue, but that was about to change with one very important whistle. Yale freshman Cody Learned was sent off the ice with a five-minute, hitting-from-behind major (game misconduct) with less than a minute left in the second. The Crusaders jumped all over that with two quick ones to start the third to make it 5-2.

The Bulldogs continued to fight back and once again chipped away at a three-goal deficit to make it close. Weberg went five-hole at 11:59 with a nifty shot from the right circle.

With 1:55 left and Holy Cross clinging to a two-goal lead, Antoine Laganiere got his stick on a loose puck off the edge of the crease and slipped it past Ginn to bring the Blue back to 5-4.

The momentum was back to Yale again, but it quickly got taken away with a controversial cross checking call on Gus Young at 18:48. The Elis still managed to get Malcolm out of the net for an extra skater and get two or three quality shots on the cage.

Yale's last attempt at getting the equalizer came from Laganiere in the middle of the slot with a few ticks left on the clock. His wrist shot sailed inches wide of the left post.

 

BULLDOG BITES

The New England Sports Center, which has six sheets of ice, was the youth hockey home for Bulldogs Gus Young and Cody Learned. A conservative estimate of their combined games played here is 800. It was chosen for this game as a way to market Holy Cross hockey to youth players in the region… Yale goes to No. 1 Boston College on Friday for a 7 p.m. game.

 

Filed by Steve Conn, Yale Sports Publicity Director (steven.conn@yale.edu)