November 13, 2009

Bulldogs Beat Cornell 4-2

Yale Erases Two Deficits To Beat No. 3 Cornell

NEW HAVEN, Conn. - Brendan Mason's slapshot from the top of the right circle with 4:25 left in the third period broke a 2-2 tie and sent the No. 11/12 Yale men's hockey team to a  4-2 win over No. 3/4 Cornell before a sellout crowd at Ingalls Rink in ECAC Hockey play.

The Bulldogs (2-1-1, 1-1-1 ECAC), enjoying an enthusiastic crowd on the regular-season home opening night, erased a pair of one-goal deficits in the first period to win for the fourth straight time against the Big Red (3-1, 2-1). 

Yale outshot Cornell 37-27 but was outshot in each of the last two periods. Big Red goalie Ben Scrivens made 33 saves and blanked the Blue on all seven power-play chances. The Elis had freshman Nick Maricic in net, making his first collegiate start. It didn't begin well (two goals on the first three Cornell shots) but the rookie from California came through with 25 saves, including 11 in a wild final period.

"I was pleased with our energy tonight," said Keith Allain '80, Yale's Malcolm G. Chace Head Coach of Hockey. "Our guys have learned how darn hard it is to win games in this league." 

The visitors drew first blood with a power-play goal 2:15 in.  Big Red captain Colin Greening found a loose puck off the top edge of the crease and banged it through a few sets of legs for his third goal of the year.

The home team pelted the visitor net for the next six minutes before finding the equalizer. Mark Arcobello tried to one-time a pass from Brian O'Neill off the left edge of the crease but fanned on the swing. Scrivens went for the first try and slid out, but the puck stayed put. Arcobello, who notched his first of the year, tapped it home at the 8:42 mark.

The visitors scored twice in the first, on eight shots, and the second tally put the Red in front 2-1. With a delayed penalty call and the Cornell goalie on the way to the bench, Joe Devin's shot was saved by Maricic. The puck bounced out to the mid slot where defenseman Nick D'Agostino was waiting to wind up. The big blueliner snapped off a low shot that found the back of the net at 12:06.

When Denny Kearney is on the ice, defenders need to keep an eye out for Broc Little, who is very good at finding open space heading toward the net.  And the two seem to find each other often, like the last goal of the first period.

Maricic kicked out a Cornell shot and directed it to the boards near Kearney. The Yale winger quickly turned and flipped a high pass over a few Cornell players headed for his linemate around the blueline. It bounced past the last Big Red defender right to the stick of Little, who skated in, deked and tucked the puck behind Scrivens with 41.1 seconds left.

The wild first period ended with Yale outshooting Cornell 22-8, including five quality chances on a scoreless power play early in the frame. The next 20 minutes was very different.

The Red outshot the Blue 8-6 in an action-packed, scoreless second period with both Maricic and Scrivens, who faced three power plays, making huge saves.

"I had a little bit of the first-game jitters in that first period," said Maricic, one of two (Billy Blase) Yale goalies from California. "I got more comfortable as the game went on."

The Eis survived a big scare in the third. A Josh Balch penalty for "grabbing the face mask" midway through followed by a Little hooking call gave the Red a two-man advantage for 74 seconds. Maricic and the defense rose to the occasion and did not allow a shot on net. 

 

"Killing off penalties was huge for us tonight," said Allain. "We knew they would be dangerous with the man advantage. They scored on the first attempt but we were able to shut them down after that."

"We worked our tails off killing the five on three. Once we got through it, we knew we had a chance to win the game," said Arcobello.

Mason, who made one of the most important passes in the history of Yale hockey last March at Albany, shocked St. Lawrence with a saucer feed to former captain Matt Nelson on the game-winner in the 2009 ECAC semifinal comeback win. Mason, looking for his first point of this year, snapped off a nasty wrister from the left circle that sailed over Scrivens' left shoulder into the corner of the net with 4:25 left. 

O'Neill, who had a goal and two assists, did the work to set up the goal.

"It was the end of our shift. O'Neill cut across and drew two defenders to him. The two defensemen crossed each other and gave me more space," said Mason. "I fired a quick shot that caught Scrivens by surprise."

The Elis had to kill off another penalty that began with 3:13 left in the third. After a number of big saves from the Yale goalie, Scrivens came out of the net when the advantage was about to end. The Blue did well to clear a few times before O'Neill flipped a slow shot into an empty net with 20 second left. 

The Bulldogs, who had extra motivation tonight from the return of senior defenseman Tom Dignard (two assists), are back at Ingalls Saturday for a 7 pm game against Colgate.

 

Image: Brendan Mason had the game-winner (Sam Rubin image)

Report filed by Steve Conn, Yale Associate AD & Sports Publicity Director

 

 

Video by David Dikranian