Goalie Breaks School Record
NEW HAVEN, Conn.- Alex Lyon's school-record 43rd goaltending victory and 13th career shutout came when the Yale hockey team needed it most. The No. 12 Bulldogs, who had their long unbeaten streak end last night, got 29 saves from their goalie and goals from Rob O'Gara, Anthony Walsh and Cody Learned in a 3-0 win over No. 16 Rensselaer before a sold out Ingalls Rink.
It was a crucial victory. Yale, 7-1-2 over the last 10 games, moved into fourth place in the ECAC Hockey standings, a point behind RPI and two behind a Harvard team that comes to the Whale a week from today.
"We had a really good jump start tonight," said Keith Allain '80, Yale's Malcolm G. Chace Head Coach. "We won a lot of puck battles, and we created a lot of problems for them in the first 20 minutes. We got those two goals in the period against a very good goalie."
The Blue (12-5-4, 7-4-3 ECAC), playing without five forwards out with injuries, had a 33-29 edge in shots on a night it did not have a power-play chance. RPI (14-8-6, 6-2-6) had the game's only advantage in the first period.
"The thing that stands out to me the most tonight was that we were down so many guys and rallied to win after [losing] last night," said Lyon, who notched his third blanking of the year while improving his goals against average to 1.56. He jumped ahead of Alex Westlund '99 (42 wins) as the winningest goalie in Yale history.
The Bulldogs were buzzing in the first period and got the first 11 shots on goal in the game. One of those shots came during a pile up around the RPI crease as Yale pounded on the net. It began with an O'Gara shot from the top of the left circle and finished with the senior defenseman following up his shot and two others. Ted Hart and Mike Doherty also smacked the puck at Jason Kasdorf before the All-America blueliner swooped in to light the lamp 5:59 into the game.
Walsh's second collegiate goal gave the home team a 2-0 start almost eight minutes later. Joe Snively poked the puck away from an opponent to the point for Adam Larkin, whose cousin, Dylan Larkin, broke the speed skating record tonight in Nashville at the NHL All-Star festivities. The second-year defenseman moved it along the blueline to Walsh, who found space, took a few strides and sent a rising snapshot over Kasdorf's shoulder.
Nearly eight minutes of the game passed before the Engineers put a shot on net. They ended up with 10 in the period and Lyon was thoroughly tested on the last few stops of the opening frame. That included a nasty, leg save on a shot from the slot
The middle period was a quintessential puck-stopping bonanza. Forty-seven shots were taken, 20 of them required stops (12-8 in favor of Yale). Lyon and Kasdorf were diving, sliding, jumping, swiping and just stopping everything headed their way.
RPI, which had its unbeaten string end at six games tonight, had chances to put pucks in the net, but they didn't get many second chances. The Elis blanketed Engineers, who had combined for nine goals over their previous two games, as they attempted to crash the net or find rebounds.
Senior Carson Cooper was winning battles and making plays all night. His work in the defensive end midway through the third gave his team a three-goal cushion. Cooper won the puck in the slot and spotted Ryan Obuchowski breaking up the right side. He sent a perfect lead pass for the senior, who zipped a step ahead of two defensemen. Obuchowski put the brakes on suddenly in the right circle to turn and send a pass back to Learned. The senior forward one-timed it over the goalie's shoulder from the slot for his second of the year.
"We did a good job getting it out of the defensive zone. I was just following Obi (Obuchowski) up the ice," said Learned. "I knew he would find me, and I just needed to be ready to shoot."
There were a bunch of great Lyon saves in this contest, but the one play that typified his performance was not a save. Yale's king of the jungle anticipated a crossing pass and poked the pass away. The puck jumped up and the Eli netminder had to swing his stick waist high to swipe it away from red jerseys.
Lyon knocked it out of the park tonight.
"I've run out of new things to say about Alex," said Allain, trying to describe his goalie's effort. "He's the backbone of our team."
The visitors pulled their goalie with 2:44 left, but the Elis allowed only one shot to find Lyon.
Two defenseman had goals... Six different Elis had assists… Yale scored the most goals of any ECAC team tonight… The Blue hosts Dartmouth and Harvard next weekend… Dylan Larkin, the Detroit Red Wings' rookie star broke the all-star skills competition record held by Mike Gartner, the father of former Yale goalie Josh Gartner '06.
Filed by Steve Conn, Yale Associate AD & Sports Publicity Director – firstname.lastname@example.org