Little's SHG Tally Wins Opener For Yale
PRINCETON, N.J. - The No. 7 Yale men's hockey team erased a 2-1 deficit in the third period with four straight goals to take a 5-2 win over No. 11 Princeton in a season-opening, non-league contest at Baker Rink.
The Bulldogs (1-0), who avenged a loss at Baker Rink last March when Yale could have clinched the conference title, had goals from five different players despite being outshot 42-37 by the Tigers (1-1).
The home team scored both of its goals on the power play, while the Bulldogs went 1-for-5 with the man-advantage but notched the winner down a man midway through the third period.
"This team has a history of fighting through adversity, and they knew they could do it tonight," said Keith Allain '80, Yale's Malcolm G. Chace Head Coach of Hockey. "That's half the battle sometimes."
Yale junior Ryan Rondeau, making his first start between the pipes since the middle of last winter, made 40 saves, including 15 in the middle period. Zane Kalemba, Princeton's 2008-09 ECAC and Ivy League Player of the Year, stopped 32 shots before being pulled with 2:35 left in the game and the Tigers down by a pair.
The visitors got on the board just 1:09 into the game when sophomore Kevin Limbert converted a feed from Broc Little. The pass came across the crease and caught Kalemba out of position. Limbert one-timed the pass into the open net.
The Tigers used a man-advantage to even things at 8:29 of the first frame. Mike Kramer got one past Rondeau that ended the scoring in the period. Teammate Kevin Kaiser did the same on a power play at 18:08 of the second that was the only tally of the middle period.
The Bulldogs couldn't sustain any offensive pressure in the second period, but Allain's squad didn't get flustered and the Yale defense held on until the forwards got it clicking again in the third.
Two quick defensive lapses gave the defending conference champions all they needed to grab the lead back. First, on the man-advantage, sophomore defenseman Kevin Peel took a feed in the high slot and sent a rising slapshot into the corner of the net at 4:42 of the third to even the score at 2-2.
The Blue did it again 40 seconds later. Little, who two points on the night, led the nation in shorthanded goals last winter. He didn't wait long to get another string going in 2009-10.
Denny Kearney (3 assists), who beat a defender to the puck in the corner, controlled it and sent a perfect pass to Little, who was heading toward the goal. Little fired a shot from outside the crease through Kalemba's legs to make it 3-2.
"We had a draw in our zone and got the puck up ice. Kearney beat his man down the ice, and I came streaking up the middle," said Little. "I caught his pass on the backhand and then brought it to the forehand. When I got to the edge of the crease I let it go."
"Special teams really helped us tonight with a power-play goal and a shorthander in the third period," said Allain.
The visitors put some distance on the lead at 13:04 of the third when rookie Andrew Miller scored his first collegiate goals. Defenseman Mike Matczak made the pass that set up Miller to go in alone on the Princeton net. The Bulldog freshman forward went left and then right before tucking the puck behind Kalemba for the 4-2 lead.
"This was a real good early test for us, and we have some things to work on," said Allain, who was also happy with his goalie's performance. "Rondeau played very well and made some critical stops in critical situations."
The Tigers pulled Kalemba but could not put enough pucks on Rondeau to make anything happen. JWith 34 seconds left, Sean Backman found the empty net to clinch the victory.
"It was a huge win for us to beat a ranked team, especially when we were down in the third period," said Little.
Report filed by Steve Conn, Yale Associate AD & Sports Publicity Director