Hart Scores Twice, Tucker Stops 27 Shots
ITHACA, N.Y. – An old school ECAC and Ivy League showdown in a college hockey cathedral had an old fashioned defensive battle that may have been the game of the night in amateur sports. Ted Hart scored twice and Sam Tucker made 27 saves as the Yale men's hockey team skated to a 2-2 OT tie against No. 12 Cornell before a sellout crowd at Lynah Rink.
The Bulldogs overcame an early 2-0 deficit by blanking the Big Red over the last 50 minutes of the game and tilting the ice toward Yale for the last two periods and the extra session. The Elis outshot Cornell in that span 28-17 and finished with a 37-29 overall advantage.
Hart, who scored in the middle of the second and late in the third, helped the visitors grab an important point in the conference standings while notching his second multiple-tally outing of the season.
Tucker, the sophomore goalie from Wilton, Conn., stood on his head most of the game, including a penalty-shot stop, and helped energize the Elis at the other end.
Cornell converted a turnover and a defensive mistake into a 2-0 lead after 20 minutes, but it could have been worse without some big stops by Tucker. The biggest one came with 2:38 left on a penalty shot by Trevor Yates, the Red's top goal scorer. The sophomore goalie, who made 10 saves in the first, did not go for the fake, and the backhand flick sailed over the net. Tucker was also crucial in killing off two advantages in the period and all four in the game.
The middle frame was a different story other than Tucker coming up big again on a few quality chances, while the Blue, which protected the puck like it was a jewel, notched the only goal. Yale had a 13-7 edge in shots and created a handful of grade-A situations.
Yale's fore-check created the second-period tally. Chris Izmirlian took the puck away from Cornell at the home team blueline, moved it over to Hart and then raced in on a 2-on-1. Hart held into the left circle and then fired a shot off Mitch Gillam. The puck bounced up and landed on the ice before Hart and Izmirlian both crashed the net. Hart got to his own rebound and put it back at 8:02 to make it 2-1 with his eighth of the year.
"The goal came after a turnover in the neutral zone. My linewates were able to poke the puck off the stick of a Cornell player and I picked it up and went the other way," said Hart. "I took a shot off the goalie's shoulder then was able to follow up my own rebound and buried it."
A Tucker leg save on a shorthanded breakaway just 1:34 into third turned out to be a game-saver and his highlight of the night. He then made two enormous stops on a Big Red power play.
The Elis had its best chance to even things midway through the third with a power play that generated a ton of rubber pelted at the Cornell net. Gillam managed to stop all five shots on target while bringing the noise level at the ancient barn at a fever pitch.
However, the Blue broke through with 4:40 left on an offensive zone draw. The scoring on the play went exactly the same way as the first Yale goal. Izmirlian won the face-off, but the puck was not immediately grabbed by a teammate. It sat unattended for a moment before the Maine native jumped on it with a top-shelf blast through traffic. Gillam had no chance to prevent that.
"The puck was loose in the slot and I quickly threw it to the net and put it short side by the goalie," said Hart.
The action was wild the rest of the way with end-to-end action. The Elis had a 2-1 edge in OT shots including a sneaky one from the point by defenseman Adam Larkin with a second left that almost caught the Cornell goalie off guard.
"It was a hard-fought hockey game," said Keith Allain '80, Yale's Malcolm G. Chace Head Coach. "Our kids showed a lot of character by overcoming a two-goal deficit on the road against a good team."
This was the third straight game where Yale had one player score both of its goals; Joe Snively and Frankie DiChiara had the other two… Tonight's game was originally slated for Friday but had to be changed when a vicious snowstorm hit New England, making Thursday travel questionable… This game is always a "throw-back" encounter with ancient rivals wearing uniforms that haven't changed for generations in an old-school building… Cornell dressed four forwards who have been drafted by NHL teams; forward John Hayden was the lone Eli draftee on the ice… They played "O Canada" before the game and it's easy to understand why. Cornell suited up 11 players from over the border (Yale had three).
Filed by Steve Conn, Yale Associate AD & Sports Publicity Director – firstname.lastname@example.org