Win Streak Ends at 10
Brown Scores Last 2 For 3-2 Win
PROVIDENCE, R.I. – The nation's longest active win streak came to an end at 10 games on the back end of a home-and-home, ECAC Hockey travel partner series at Meehan Auditorium. Harry Zolnierczyk's goal with 46.2 seconds left gave the Brown men's hockey team a 3-2 win over No. 1 Yale before a matinee crowd of 1,483.
The Bears, who earned their first win ever over a No. 1 ranked team, erased a pair of one-goal deficits before scoring the last two to snap Yale's win streak and hand the Blue (15-2, 9-1 ECAC) its first ECAC defeat.
Mike Clemente made 27 saves at the other end; the two goals he gave up came with the man-advantage. The Elis were 2-for-6 on the power play while blanking the Bears on two attempts.
"I don't feel like we deserved to win tonight, but I do feel like we had the better grade-A scoring chances," said Keith Allain '80, Yale's Malcolm G. Chace Head Coach of Hockey.
The home team had the edge (9-7) in first-period shots, but the Bulldogs notched the only tally. On its third advantage of the day, Kearney one-timed a low shot off Little's feed in the left circle for his ninth goal of the year at 17:16.
Brown (6-7-4, 4-5-1), which had to kill off a pair of early penalties, had some great chances midway through the opening frame. The Bears produced numerous odd-man rushes but Rondeau came up with the stops.
The best opportunity was a Jack MacLellan penalty shot at 8:03 that went wide of the net after a deke and tuck attempt. The assistant captain was given the opportunity after Yale captain Jimmy Martin was whistled for covering the puck in his own crease.
The Blue, at even strength all period, outshot Brown 11-6 in the second but could not get one past Clemente.
Meanwhile, the Bears evened the score 27 seconds into the second when their No. 27, MacLellan (12th), banged in a low shot from two steps off the crease just after the Bulldogs had killed off a penalty.
In the third, Chad Ziegler's hustle drew an interference call and set up his squad's go-ahead goal. Little got the puck to Kevin Peel who fired a shot that was blocked on the right side. The puck came over to O'Neill in the left circle and he immediately put it through a small opening at 6:46.
"It went right on my tape, and the goalie was caught out of postion," said O'Neill, who is second on the team with 10 goals.
Zolnierczyk, who was called for a 10-minute misconduct penalty in the second period, returned in the third just in time to help the Bears knot the score at 2-2 and then win it.
With the Bears down a goal, Rondeau stopped Zolnierczyk's shot from 10 feet away, but Garnet Hathaway (3rd) was in the right spot to put it back with 6:54 left.
"It's never easy to play anyone in the conference, especially on the road. Every game is huge, every game has playoff implications," said Rondeau.
Then, just after killing off a Yale power play that ran inside the one-minute mark, Brown's captain beat the Bulldogs to a loose puck near the Yale blueline before outracing the defense up the middle of the ice. He tucked a backhander inside the right post with 46.2 seconds left.
"It was a bang-bang play. It was a nice play by him [Zolnierczyk], but I think I could have played it better. Maybe I came out too far," said Rondeau.
Prior to Brown's equalizer, Cahill and Mason both had grade-A chances that could have put this game away. Clemente, who had 10 stops in the third, made key saves on both tries.
O'Neill liked the way his team came out after the second intermission. "The first 10 minutes [of the third] was the best for us all game. We just didn't capitalize," said O'Neill.
The Blue pulled Rondeau, who suffered his first loss this season, with 41.7 left but could not get sustained possession in the Brown end.
Nobody was accepting the loss, but both Allain and the players who were interviewed after the game alluded to the potential benefits of the first league defeat.
Allain said, "We have to take advantage of it [the loss]. You are not going to go through a season and not get a loss in the league. If it wakes us up a little, it may be good."
"It could be a good thing for our team, it could be a wakeup call. I think it will help down the line," said O'Neill.
The Elis, in first place in the ECAC, have a three-point lead over Union and Princeton… Yale's 29 shots on goal were the second lowest (24 vs. RPI) total of the season… The Elis skated the same lineup as Saturday… Yale is home next weekend to face North Country conference foes Clarkson and St. Lawrence on Friday and Saturday nights… Monday's voting for the national rankings should be interesting with each of the top 3 teams having long win streaks end. No. 2 North Dakota had eight straight wins before splitting a WCHA series at home with Minnesota this weekend. No. 3 Boston College carried a seven-game victory march into Maine tonight before falling at Orono. Meanwhile, No. 4 New Hampshire lost to Dartmouth and fifth-ranked Minnesota-Duluth split with Wisconsin.
Filed by Steve Conn, Yale Sports Publicity Director