December 29, 2010

Frosh Trio Hit Net in 5-3 Win Over Red Stars

Bulldogs Take Exhibition With Russian Stars

NEW HAVEN, Conn. – This week's blizzard slowed the return of many of the Yale men's hockey players to New Haven from the holiday break, but the Russian Red Stars could not slow the pace of the Bulldogs on the ice. Kenny Agostino had two goals while Jesse Root and Antoine Laganiere each had a goal and an assist as the No. 1 ranked Elis beat the Russian touring team 5-3 in an exhibition game before a packed house at Ingalls Rink.

The Bulldogs (11-1), playing without their top four scorers, jumped out to a 2-0 lead and held on to one-goal leads until Agostino, the freshman forward, hit an empty net with 23 seconds left to clinch the victory.

Four different Yale players, including three freshmen, found the net despite being outshot 38-30. Root and Brad Peltz were the other newcomers to score.

Three Bulldog goalies took a period each. Senior Ryan Rondeau stopped 12 of 13 shots in the opening frame. Sophomore Nick Maricic knocked aside all seven shots in the second while classmate Jeff Malcolm was the busiest with 16 saves on 18 shots.

Rafael Khakimov, who was victimized by his teammates' inability to stay out of the penalty box, stopped 25 shots. He gave up two power-play goals on seven chances while his Red Stars went scoreless on two attempts.

"They (Red Stars) are a talented and skilled team that skated very well. We knew we would roll four lines," said Root.

The home team, which had not played since Dec. 8 and had just one practice this week, sent an early message to the professional all-star team that beat Army 11-4 Tuesday night at West Point. Roots' perfect behind-the-net feed to Laganiere was one-timed over Khakimov's shoulder just 1:11 into the opening faceoff. Nearly six minutes later, Root re-directed a Mike Matczak shot from the point with a man-advantage to make it a two-goal lead.

"I saw the shot from the point and was lucky enough to get my stick on it in front of the net," said Root.

Agostino showed off his offensive and skating skills to put the Blue up 3-1 early in the second. He took a pass outside the blueline from Nick Jaskowiak and wheeled around a defender before entering the low slot and flicking a shot past the Russian netminder.

"There was a turnover and Jasko (Nick Jaskowiak) sent a great pass that I was able to catch in stride. I caught the defenseman flat footed and was able to tuck it around the goalie," said Agostino, who entered the game with a goal in seven games.

The Red Stars trailed 3-1 entering the third and applied the pressure to the Yale net, outshooting the Elis 18-8 and scoring twice. A Peltz power-play tally, off a Dan Otto assist, and the empty-netter dashed any hopes for a comeback.

"We came out with a lot of energy but we were also a little sloppy," said Yale Associate Head Coach Kyle Wallack, who is leading the team while Keith Allain '80, the Malcolm G. Chace Head Coach of Yale Hockey, is with the U.S. Junior National Team at the World Championships. "The stamina was not there and we did not have good transition, but we fought through it and got some goals from different guys. We've been concentrating on guys getting the puck to the net."

The Red Stars, mostly between the ages of 19-21, are comprised of elite young players from Russia, Belarus and Latvia who were selected from different teams in the Russian Junior Hockey League, a 29-team developmental league organized in 2009 by Russian professional hockey clubs playing in the Kontinental Hockey League.

BULLDOG BITES: Junior Dan Otto, who has been unable to compete because of an injury the last two-plus years, skated in his first collegiate game against the Red Stars and missed a goal by inches in the first period… Broc Little, Denny Kearney, Andrew Miller and Brian O'Neill were all healthy scratches… Keith Allain's U.S. Junior National Team has won its first two games in Buffalo at the 2011 IIHF World Championships… Yale players were due back in New Haven from the holiday break the day after Christmas, but many of them experienced weather-related travel problems. Only a few arrived by the 26th, most came in on the 27th and a couple were still stranded yesterday… Bring a new toy to Ingalls Rink on Jan. 2 and get a free ticket for the 4 p.m. Holy Cross-Yale game. This is a Yale New Haven Hospital Toy Closet Program benefit. Each toy (not stuffed animals, war or violent items), preferably for ages 3-4, gets you one general admission ticket. 

filed by Steve Conn, Yale Sports Publicity Director

Agostino image by Don Clark