Little Gets 2 Points As Elis Move Into 2nd Place
POTSDAM, N.Y. - The team that has a big advantage in shots on goal is not always going to come out on top. The No. 5/6 Yale men's hockey team outshot Clarkson 44-25 but had to hang on for a 3-2 victory before 2,086 at Cheel Arena.
The Bulldogs, who have won three of the last four, improved to 11-4-3 (7-2-2 ECAC) by converting two of seven power plays while stopping Clarkson six out of seven attempts. Freshman goalie Nick Maricic had 23 saves, including 10 in the final frame to give the Blue their fifth win at Cheel in 21 games. The win moved Yale into second place tie with Cornell, a point behind Union (17).
The Knights (5-15-3, 1-8-2), who are winless in conference play at home, hung with Yale because of sophomore goalie Paul Karpowich and his 41 saves. He stopped two breakaways and more than a dozen other grade-A scoring chances on a night the underdog was nearly always one shot away from the equalizer.
"I thought we played pretty well. We brought a lot of energy and we were very good on the fore-check," said Keith Allain '80, Yale's Malcolm G. Chace Head Coach of Hockey, who has now won two straight at Clarkson. "We created a lot of opportunities. I would just like to see us finish more of them."
The first-period good news for Yale was it thoroughly dominated play. The bad news was the Elis only had a 1-0 lead to show for it. The Bulldogs back-checked (Mark Arcobello stole the puck at least four times) the Knights to death, creating chance after quality chance while outshooting the home team 17-6. The lone tally, just 2:02 into the game, came off a Clarkson player's stick on a shot from the point by Yale blueliner Mike Matczak, his first of the year. Karpowich, who made 16 stops in the first frame, was knocking down shots from all over.
Yale's attack on the Clarkson breakout led to three Bulldog power plays but no goals.
The Yale fore-check kicked into high gear in a second period that was even on the scoreboard (goals from both teams) but lopsided on the shots (12-8) and possession time. The Knights used their third man-advantage to even things. Corey Tamblyn's shot from the point was re-directed by Adam Pawlick (6th goal), who was stationed in the slot. Maricic, who made seven saves in the frame, had many bodies to look through on the shot at 9:06.
The visitors grabbed the lead back 67 seconds later. Kevin Peel moved the puck from right to left on the point before Jimmy Martin fired a low shot that zipped inside the far post at 10:13 to make it 2-1. It was the Yale junior's first goal of the year.
The Elis took advantage of their fifth power play early in the third period to increase the lead to 3-1. Sean Backman, sliding on his stomach near the Clarkson blueline, kept a clearing attempt alive and flung it over to Brian O'Neill, who was alone in the low slot. The Knights figured the puck would be cleared and were heading up ice. When they rushed back to O'Neill, he flipped it across to Broc Little. The junior forward deked right and went backhand over Karpowich.
"Our focus is to put lots of shots on goal. We could have had five or six tonight," said Little, who had a two-point night and leads the nation in goals per game. "I give a lot of credit to their goalie. We just kept shooting and going to the net."
Yale's speed was giving Clarkson fits, but a 4-on-4 produced a Clarkson goal to make it 3-2 at 6:35 of the third. Jake Morley's (4th) shot off a 2-on-1 rush bounced off Yale defenseman Tom Dignard's skate just before Maricic was about to snatch it.
The Elis had so many chances to put it away after the second Clarkson tally. Backman, who broke in alone after a great crossing feed at the Clarkson blueline bounced over a defender's stick, tried to tuck one past Karpowich with nine minutes left. The Knights' goalie then made consecutive quality stops on Arcobello and O'Neill before Backman had another breakaway - this time shorthanded -- with 6:50 left.
"Karpowich was the difference in this game, and it could have been in a negative way for us," said Allain. "He made some incredible saves tonight."
Maricic, who had seen most of the play happening at the other end for two periods, had to come up with a big third frame. When Backman was called for a penalty with under two minutes left, and Karpowich pulled for an extra skater, the rookie netminder made two quality saves to prevent the equalizer. The last came off the stick of Jeremiah Crowe with 15 seconds left.
"I thought we did a good job of keeping the pressure on them and preventing them from getting any speed through the neutral zone," said Yale captain Ryan Donald. "And it was frustrating for us to get all those chances and not put it away."
Notes: Ed Maturo, in his 33rd year as Yale's Director of Equipment Services, will be retiring at the end of the 2009-10 season. Maturo, who began working with Yale hockey teams in 1977-78, missed the 1993-94 and 2005-06 seasons to work for U.S. Teams at the winter Olympic games... The Bulldogs traveled from New Haven on Thursday and stopped in Lake Placid to practice at the Herb Brooks 1980 Arena and eat at the U.S. Olympic Training Center, almost exactly on the 30th anniversary of the U.S. Hockey miracle on ice. Keith Allain, who has coached U.S. Olympic Teams, played a game against the "miracle" U.S. Team in 1980 in Buffalo when he was a senior at Yale... As the Elis pulled into Lake Placid, Denny Kearney's sister, Hannah, was winning the 2010 Freestyle World Cup Moguls on Whiteface Mountain, just nine miles away.
Report and image filed by Steve Conn, Yale Sports Publicity Director