Blue Blasts Brown

Denny Kearney. (photo by Sam Rubin '95, Yale Sports Publicity)
Denny Kearney. (photo by Sam Rubin '95, Yale Sports Publicity)

Yale Earns 7-4 Win in Season Opener

NEW HAVEN, Conn. – The hockey team that led the nation in scoring last winter opened the 2010-11 season with an offensive onslaught that ended with a 7-4 win over Brown in the nightcap of the Ivy Shootout at Ingalls Rink.  Denny Kearney had a natural hat trick and four points, Brian O'Neill (3 points) hit the net twice and Broc Little added a goal and three points for the No. 5 Yale men's team.

The Bulldogs (1-0), who scored five straight goals after being down by two, will play Dartmouth, 2-1 winners over Princeton in the first game, at 7 p.m. on Saturday. All four games played in the shootout count on the overall record but not in the ECAC or Ivy League standings. The Tigers and Bears tangle at 4 on Saturday.

Yale outshot Brown 40-20 while converting two of six man-advantages. Mike Clemente, who had 14 stops in the third, finished with 33 saves in net for the Bears. The visitors, who scored all of their goals with an advantage, saw Yale sophomore Jeff Malcolm halt 16 shots.

"At times it looked like it was our first game, but our guys showed they were mentally tough by coming back tonight," said Keith Allain '80, Yale's Malcolm G. Chace Head Coach of Hockey.

It was only fitting that the guy who led the nation in shorthanded goals as a sophomore and was the country's top overall goal scorer the following year should notch the season's first goal, down a man, his senior campaign. Little intercepted a clearing pass inside the blueline and then fed Kearney, who was heading to the net. Clemente stopped Kearney's shot but Little followed in and knocked it home at 8:50 of the first.

The Elis did not get to enjoy the prosperity. Brown, which hit the net on three of its four power-play chances in the opening period, scored three straight during the special teams frenzy in the first.

Dennis Robertson got two straight, the first on a low blast from the left point at 9:21 and then on a one-timer from the high slot at 11:08 to make it 2-1. Brown got two straight tallies with a two-man advantage, including Robertson's first score. Bears' captain Harry Zolnierczyk made it 3-1 when he one-timed a shot from the left side of the slot at 11:08.

The Elis finished off the six-goal, 10-penalty first period with a pair of tallies to bring the crowd back to life.  Blueliner Kevin Peel rifled a Mike Matczak pass from the top of the right circle inside the far post at 17:14. Twenty-one seconds later, Kearney jumped all over a Nick Jaskowiak's pass to the low slot to even things heading to intermission.

"I usually have about three goals by Christmas. I might have a bunch of assists, but not many goals. I've never been a big goal scorer, " said Kearney, who two games ago hit the net twice as Yale stunned North Dakota 3-2 last March at the NCAA Regionals. "We can score in bunches and were confident we could come back."

Yale came out with guns blazing in the second. A little over four minutes in, the Blue made it three straight when Little threaded the needle with a long crossing feed on Kearney's stick. The senior winger used the back side of his Bauer to re-direct the pass from the edge of the crease to make it 4-3.

"Broc saw me and threw it toward the back post. It was a great pass. I was able to chip it up over the goalie," said Kearney, who notched his first three-goal collegiate game.

The Bulldogs moved in front by two when Kearney flicked a low shot from outside the left circle along the boards near the goal line at 10:47. Not many in the building, including Kearney, figured that one had a chance to find the net.

"I was just trying to get it on net where I knew we had some guys waiting. I heard it hit the back bar. It was kind of a lucky shot," said the Hanover, N.H., native who now has 94 career points in 103 games.

Brian O'Neill and Andrew Miller perfected the give-and-go to cushion the lead at 6-3. Miller took the pass in the left circle as O'Neill charged the net and found the puck on his stick. All he had to do was poke it up and past the stunned visiting netminder.

The Bears cashed in on a Yale penalty to cut the deficit to a pair 48 seconds into the third. Zolnierczyk hacked away at Malcolm's glove while the Eli goalie covered the puck and Jeff Buvinow easily slipped it into the back of the net as the catching glove followed the puck over the goal line.

The home team killed off a pair of penalties midway through the period before going up 7-4. O'Neill converted Chad Ziegler's pass in the right circle by sending a low wrister past Clemente's blocker at 7:29.

Notes: Chris Cahill, who was not in school last year, was given a game misconduct (contact to the head) at 9:51 of the first period that led to two 5-on-3 goals. A Brown player sat out five minutes on the same mixup, but the Elis got the short end of the stick on the advantage… Forward Jesse Root and defenseman Gus Young were the two freshmen in the lineup for the opener… Young skated off the ice with an injury in the second period.


Filed by Steve Conn, Yale Sports Publicity Director