Classic Ivy League Battle at Reese Stadium
NEW HAVEN, Conn. – Dylan Levings had the performance No. 15/16 Yale needed to knock off the No. 2 team in the nation when he won an amazing 22 of 25 face-offs during a cold Ivy League opener. The problem was his team's 19 turnovers, which ultimately led to a 12-10 loss to Cornell before 2,955 fans at Reese Stadium.
Levings, now with a .661 success rate on the X, had one of the most dominating face-off days ever for a Bulldog. His efforts helped the Blue enjoy the lead for most of the first half. Those possessions led to the home team getting goals from eight different players including three by Conrad Oberbeck, Yale's leader with 15 goals this season.
Brandon Mangan, who leads the Elis with 24 points in five games, also had a stong showing with a goal and four points, but it wasn't enough to keep the Yale record from falling to 3-2 overall.
None of those efforts could overcome the combined performances of Steve Mock (6 goals) and Rob Pannell (2-3-5), as the Big Red improved to 6-0 overall. A.J. Fiore stopped eight of Yale's 32 shots to earn the win in net.
"The team fought hard," said Andy Shay, the Ryan & Forst Family Head Coach at Yale. "We're proud of them for that. We didn't capitalize on our opportunities in the fourth quarter, which cost us. But Cornell is an excellent team, and when you play a great team like that, that's what happens."
Eric Natale, who faced 39 Cornell shots, made seven saves, including some point-blank attempts from a few very accomplished players.
The teams traded goals three times to start the contest before the visitors got two straight and their first advantage at 4-3 early in the second quarter. Kirby Zdrill and Oberbeck answered for Yale to grab the lead back. It took another Oberbeck tally before half to make it 6-6 heading into halftime.
Levings was good in the first half, but he stepped it up big in the second 30 minutes by going 10-for-12. Despite the hot hand from the X, the Big Red scored the only three goals of the third. Levings then captured six straight face-offs in the fourth while his teammates found the net three times to cut the margin to one goal at three different points.
"We still felt like it was a game when it was 9-6," said Shay. "Dylan [Levings] was awesome. He had a great effort. He knew it would be challenging and played really well."
Mock answered three of the Bulldog goals, including the clincher with 3:06 left off a rare Cornell face-off win.
Special teams could have changed this game one way or another, but both defenses stood up to the extra-man opportunities and were successful on five of six kills.
The Elis are next in action at Princeton on Friday night in a game that airs live on ESPNU.
Filed by Steve Conn, Yale Sports Publicity Director
Watch the game for free on Yale All-Access on YouTube: