Season Ends in ECAC Quarters
NEW HAVEN, Conn. – Six games in 10 days – including three overtime contests – proved too much for a Yale men's hockey team trying to keep its season alive in a best-of-three ECAC Quarterfinal series at Bright Hockey Center. Harvard scored four times in the second period to break open a close game on the way to a 8-2 win over the Bulldogs.
An early lead was not enough of a good start to keep the defending conference tournament champions in contention for a third title in four years. The Crimson (12-9-11) erased a 1-0 deficit with six straight goals, an outburst that was ignited by a missed icing call. The flood gates seemed to open from there.
The Bulldogs (16-16-3), the No. 3 seed who hosted a three-game series last weekend, were running low on energy after consecutive nights of overtime in Boston. The effort at both ends was there, but there wasn't enough power at one end. Yale put 41 shots on net and had plenty of opportunities to make this another barn burner. However, the Elis gave up too many odd-man rushes and quality scoring chances to survive against the No. 3 seed.
The first period produced much of the same that was seen in the previous seven-plus frames in this series, end-to-end action with great scoring chances throughout. Both teams found the net once as the Crimson outshot the Bulldogs 17-13.
Yale struck first for the third straight night. Chad Ziegler backhanded a low shot inside the near post from the middle of the slot at 4:06. It was Ziegler's second goal of the series and ninth of the year. Clinton Bourbonais and Nicholas Weberg both got assists on the play.
Alex Killorn, Harvard's top scorer, used great determination and a nifty move to tie things nearly three minutes later. He pulled the puck away from Yale defensemen trying to clear it out of the zone, went around another player and tucked a shot five-hole.
The Blue did very well to keep it even the rest of the period. Nick Maricic, who made some amazing saves all three nights, had to stop a Luke Greiner mini-breakaway and two other grade-A shorthanded chances. Maricic played the first 40 minutes and finished with 28 saves. Jeff Malcolm (3 saves) and Connor Wilson (2) finished the work.
The Cantabs took a 2-1 lead on a wrap-around goal by Alex Fallstrom 35 seconds into the second. That goal, a defensive miscue, may have been the sign that this was not to be Yale's night. The Elis skated uphill the rest of the way.
The next goal was going to be huge no matter who scored, and it was extremely unfortunate it had to come this way –a blown icing call. One linesman raised his hand on an obvious call as everyone skated down the ice. No official waived it off. Meanwhile, Tommy O'Regan, who was easily beaten down the ice, grabbed the puck from a stunned defenseman and sent it over to David Valek, who finished from the middle of the slot.
"It was the spark that lit the fire for sure. It's icing all day long… but it's not icing until they blow the whistle," said Keith Allain '80, Yale's Malcolm G. Chace Head Coach.
Killorn increased the lead to 4-1. He skated around a defender on the right side and waited for the goalie to make a move before faking inside and then tucking outside.
The game was out of reach after that goal and a few more Crimson added tallies, but the Bulldogs never gave up. Antoine Laganiere fired a wrister from the inner left circle that went near post at 10:41 to cut the insurmountable margin to 6-2.
"I'm really proud of my guys. This is our sixth hard game in the last 10 days. I have more than a handful of guys who were injured to the point where they wouldn't have played if this were a regular season game. I'm just grateful for the effort they gave us. We just simply ran out of gas tonight."
Filed by Steve Conn, Yale Sports Publicity Director
Chad Ziegler image by Jason Grohoske