4 Elis Score, Spano Stops 23 Shots
NEW HAVEN, Conn. – Patrick Spano worked hard for the first three seasons of his collegiate career, but he knew there would be few chances to play with the nation's best goalie in front of him.
Alex Lyon, who signed early with the Philadelphia Flyers, would have liked what he saw tonight from his former teammate. Spano's debut as Yale's top netminder was a big success with 23 saves in a 4-1 opening night victory for the No. 17 Elis over Sacred Heart at Ingalls Rink.
The senior from Montreal, facing a team playing its seventh game of the year, fought through numerous challenges to notch his fifth career win. That included three tough saves during a third-period, 5-on-3 that sealed the deal for the Bulldogs.
"He made a huge save on the 5-on-3 kill," said Keith Allain, Yale's Malcolm G. Chace Head Coach and a former Eli goalie. "That was the save of the game. The goalie has to be your best penalty-killer. Patrick played really well."
Spano, who had 10 of his saves in the second period and blanked SHU on nine power plays, wasn't too excited about his debut as the starter.
"It was just another game, it was just good to get the win" he said. "You want to start strong in the first game of the season, and it's fun to win. We just want to start rolling now."
The Blue, who outshot the Pioneers 34-24, erased an early 1-0 deficit with four straight goals, including three in the first period. Four different Bulldogs lit the lamp, while Joe Snively and Mike Doherty each had two helpers.
Chandler Lindstrand began his collegiate career with a bang. The freshman defenseman took a pass in the right circle from Snively and fired a rising wrister off Sacred Heart goalie Nathan Perry's arm. The biscuit bounced up and over the netminder before landing in the back of the net at 6:08 to even the score.
Sophomore forward Ted Hart gave the home team the lead for good at 14:58 of the opening frame when he skated in from the left boards along the goal line and sent a low shot inside the near post. Perry had the post covered but Hart's shot somehow created its own opening.
Doherty had two assists in the first period, and his work on the third goal was critical. The senior won the race to the puck in the neutral zone, flicked it off the boards past a red shirt and then cruised in on a 2-on-1 advantage. Rather than attempting to threat the needle with a pass, he dropped it back for the trailer, senior Chris Izmirlian, who took a few strides and then flicked a shot inside the left post at 16:36 for the 3-1 lead.
The Pioneers had a 10-6 edge in second-period shots, but neither team found the net in the penalty-filled middle frame.
Yale jumped all over its first advantage in the third using a nifty pass from Snively. John Hayden's one-timer from the right circle zipped past Perry inside the far post early in the third to up the lead to 4-1. That was the captain's 30th career tally.
According to Allain, his squad came out a little nervous tonight. "The entire team looked a little nervous, but everyone settled into the game," said the Eli coach who had seven newcomers dressed for the game.
The jitters are gone, and that's a good thing for a team that begins conference play next weekend in the Capital District against two quality opponents.
Filed by Steve Conn, Yale Associate AD & Sports Publicity Director – firstname.lastname@example.org