Root Leads Yale To Win at Harvard

Jesse Root on the fore-check
Jesse Root on the fore-check

Bulldog Power Play Helps Team Move Into 5th Place

BOSTON, Mass. –  Jesse Root wanted to talk about defense after his No. 14 Bulldogs registered a 5-2 win over Harvard in ECAC Hockey action at Bright-Landry Center. The Yale captain, who was equally important at the other end of the rink, tallied two goals and assisted on another in an important road and rivalry game that moved the Elis into fifth place by a point.

"We worked on our D all week and that really paid off," said Root, who notched Yale's fourth and fifth goals and assisted on the third. "You saw tonight, if you play good D it can lead to offense for us. It also frustrates teams."

Bulldog freshman goalie Alex Lyon stopped 29 of 31 shots to help his squad get a second win (2-0-1) over the Crimson this season and move one spot from a home ice spot for the second round of the playoffs.

The Elis scored three power-play goals on four chances to put this one away.

Yale had a 10-9 shots edge in a scoreless opening frame. Lyon came up with a number of top-notch saves including a play where he made a blocker save and the puck popped up in front of him with a Crimson skater on the edge of the crease. Lyon reached around the forward and gloved it before it hit the ice.

The second period was a very different story despite the shots being close. The Elis jumped all over two power-play chances and used a blanketing fore-check to score three times.

After killing off a penalty to start the second, Yale got an advantage of its own. Rob O'Gara passed the puck along the boards to Mike Doherty on the edge of the right circle. The freshman forward sent it low along the goal line to Stu Wilson, who didn't have any angle to think about a shot. However, the sophomore forward threw it hard at Harvard goalie Steve Michalek (entered game with top save percentage in ECAC) and the puck whizzed off his stick and inside the far post at 4:37 to make it 1-0.

Yale senior defenseman Gus Young, enjoying his best offensive season, added to his numbers with a great feed to give the Blue a 2-0 lead almost five minutes later. Young grabbed a loose puck along the boards in his own end and sent the puck ahead for a wide open Matt Beattie. The sophomore forward came in alone on the cage, deked left and tucked it behind the goalie on the right side.

"I was able to get the puck off of a Harvard player's stick as they were going for a change," said Young. "Beattie did a good job getting open, and I saw him darting up the middle. There was nobody in my path, and he did a good job to finish it."

Lyon stopped Harvard's best chance of the second period when Jimmy Vesey came in on a breakaway with 7:30 left.  That helped set up another goal for the visitors on the advantage.  After the save, the Crimson took a charging penalty and the Yale power play went to work.

Root passed low to Kenny Agostino, who skated out from the boards toward the net. As the goalie commited to Yale's leading goal scorer, defenseman Ryan Obuchowski charged in from the point. Agostino threaded the pass through the defense and the sophomore blueliner one-timed it into an open side at 13:23.

The Cantabs cut the margin to 3-1 early in the third with a power play and got another chance midway through with an opportunity to cut it to one. Lyon made three big saves on the way to a successful kill, and the Blue used the momentum from that work to get another advantage.

The Elis cashed it in for a third power-play tally in four attempts. Obuchowski gave the puck to Agostino down low and he sent it to the right circle for Root. The Yale captain moved toward the goal and had a defender poke the puck slightly before Root kicked it back to his stick. He brought it in close to his body and flicked a wrist shot over Michalek's shoulder and off the cross bar for the clincher.

The visitors withstood another Harvard power-play goal and an extra skater over the last 90 seconds. Root's empty-netter was the finishing touches on an important victory.

"It's a big win. It's good to get two points on a Friday and go into Saturday with some momentum," said Young.



It was announced this week that the second edition of Rivalry On Ice takes place Jan. 10, 2015, at Madison Square Garden… The one change in the lineup from last weekend was a sophomore forward swap with Matthew Beattie in for Charles Orzetti… The Blue heads to New  Hampshire tonight for Saturday night's game against Dartmouth at Thompson Arena which can be seen on…  Andrew Miller '13 and Mark Arcobello '10 are teammates with the AHL Oklahoma City Barons after the older Eli had played a productive 41 games this winter with the Edmonton Oilers.

Filed by Steve Conn, Yale Sports Publicity Director