Peel Nets Two in Wild Game
NEW HAVEN, Conn. - Kevin Peel had two goals and Brian O'Neill and Broc Little each had a goal and two assists as the No. 5 Yale men's hockey team remained in a tie for first place in ECAC Hockey by defeating St. Lawrence 7-5 before another sellout crowd at Ingalls Rink.
A fifth straight win by the Bulldogs (17-6-3, 13-4-2 ECAC) gave them 28 league points (along with Cornell) and clinched home ice in the conference quarterfinals on March 12-14. This game almost went the other way because Travis Vermeulen had three goals and one assist while Brandon Bollig had three helpers.
Brendan Mason, Mark Arcobello and Sean Backman had the other Yale goals while Jimmy Martin had two assists to help Yale split its season series with the Saints (14-12-6, 8-7-4). They helped the home team outshoot the visitors 44-21.
Five of the game's 12 goals came on special teams. SLU converted three of seven man-advantages and Yale notched a pair on six chances during a 17-penalty game.
Senior Billy Blase got the start in goal for Yale but gave up three goals on seven shots in the first before being replaced by Nick Maricic. The freshman netminder stopped 12 of 14 shots -- both SLU tallies coming on the power play - and blanked the Saints in the third period to earn a team-high sixth win of the year.
At the other end, Kain Tisi made 37 saves but gave up three goals in each of the first two periods.
"It was a strange game, not the script we had planned," said Keith Allain '80, Yale's Malcolm G. Chace Head Coach of Hockey. "It was probably a good game for us though. It was a good test of our focus and mental toughness. In the long run, it might be a valuable game for us."
Yale had the first 13 shots on goal. The fifth off a Bulldog stick was the first to find the net when Peel's mid-height blast from the point went blocker side on Tisi at 1:51.
Blase made his first save with 12:43 left in the period, and the Saints evened the score at 7:48 on an Aaron Bogosian tally.
The Bulldogs' forecheck gave them the lead back a second time. Brendan Mason picked the pocket of an SLU blueliner, raced to the edge of the crease and flicked a backhander off Tisi at 8:42.
The visitors jumped all over an odd-man rush to even the score at 2-2. Vermeulen held the puck and waited for Blase to commit. His momentum carried the puck past an over-committed Eli netminder at 12:25.
Yale grabbed the lead once again on a pretty tic-tack-toe triangle. The puck went from Little to Martin and then over to Arcobello, who one-timed from the left circle at 17:58.
For the third time in the opening frame, St. Lawrence erased a deficit. This was on the power play with a second penalty on delay. Defenseman Derek Keller's shot from the slot went off Blase's glove and trickled over the goal line with three seconds left. The referees needed a video review to confirm the score that made it 3-3 and was SLU's first power-play tally.
The visitors came out of the intermission and 22 seconds later took advantage of the back end of the power play that carried over. Vermeulen re-directed a shot from the edge of the crease to give SLU a 4-3 lead and welcome Maricic to the game.
The home squad responded with three straight to take a 6-4 lead. First Backman kicked the puck in the air and whacked it into the back of the net at 5:50. Then Peel took a great pass from Little and rifled a shot from the left circle before O'Neill smacked a rebound behind Tisi.
There were 14 penalties in the first two periods and a pair of calls against Yale helped the Saints cut the margin to one at the close of the frame.
A Backman penalty with 15 seconds left in the second gave SLU a two-man advantage, and the Saints jumped all over another 5-on-3 to end a period. This time it was Vermeulen's shot from the lower left circle that slid under Maricic with one second left to make it 6-5. Another video review was necessary to put the senior center's hat trick in the book.
The end of the period brought more bad news for the Blue in the form of a bench minor that gave SLU another two-man advantage, this one for 1:44. It turned into a 5-on-4 when the Saints took a penalty 38 seconds in, and the Elis managed to avoid the danger.
Both goalies came up with giant stops in a third period that had Yale with a 9-6 advantage. Maricic had six saves and most of them were quality chances.
"You always have to be ready. It's a tough situation to come into," said Maricic, in reference to his entrance to the game. "You just have to focus on one shot at a time."
SLU head coach Joe Marsh called a timeout with 1:44 left and pulled Tisi for the extra skater. Ten seconds later, Little took a pass from Mason and skated in alone to an empty net for his 21st goal of the year.
"It's not the way we want to win but it's nice to show we can battle back," said Peel, who enjoyed his first collegiate multiple-goal game. "You have to be able to keep a cool head out there. We can't be giving out that many penalties."
BULLDOG BITES: The Yale lineup was the same as last Saturday's at Cornell except for freshman Josh Balch replacing classmate Antoine Laganiere... The Bulldogs host Clarkson at 4 pm Saturday on Youth Day; kids 14 and under are admitted free... This was the sixth straight sellout at Ingalls Rink and another is expected by faceoff tomorrow.
Recap filed by Steve Conn, Yale Sports Publicity Director
Peel image by Jack Warhola
Video by David Dikranian: