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Balch Gives Yale OT Win at CC

Josh Balch. (photo by Sam Rubin '95, Yale Sports Publicity)
Josh Balch. (photo by Sam Rubin '95, Yale Sports Publicity)

Blue Nets 2 Wins In Rocky Mountains

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo.Josh Balch's first goal of the young 2012-13 season could not have come at a better time. The senior forward found the net from an off angle at 3:21 of overtime to give the Yale men's hockey team a 6-5 win over No. 14 Colorado College before 6,654 at World Arena.

Balch (Wilmette, Ill.), who gave the Bulldogs (5-2-1) their third straight win and second OT victory of the Front Range weekend, skated in from the left side with a defender pushing him to the outside in a 4-on-4 situation. The Yale right wing angled inside and then wristed a hard low shot past the Tigers' goalie, Joe Howe (42 saves).

"Stu (Wilson) got the puck on the boards in our zone. I cut behind the defenseman and got a pass from him that gave me a one-on-one," said Balch. "I pulled the puck to the center and shot between the goalie's legs."

Yale, which outshot CC 48-34, had three one-goal leads before trailing 5-4 at the end of 40 minutes.

"It was a great team win. To come from behind and win it at this altitude is a testament to the preparation our guys have done with their strength and conditioning," said Keith Allain '80, Yale's Malcolm G. Chace Head Coach, whose team also beat No. 2 Denver last night.

The Bulldogs flew to Denver on Thursday afternoon and had to be ready to play less than 24 hours later against two nationally ranked teams in conditions they are not accustomed to.

It took over 42 minutes for Yale to find the net a night ago in its win over Denver, but goals came quicker – five combined in the first period - for both schools tonight against Colorado College.

Antoine Laganiere (Ile Cadieux, Que.) opened the scoring 57 seconds in with a nifty move through the low slot. The big Yale forward deked forehand and then flipped the puck backhanded over Howe when the Tiger goalie dove out to make the stop.

Rylan Schwartz, the brother of former Yale women's hockey player, Mandi Schwartz, evened the score at 4:33 on a freak play. Schwartz took a long feed and then fired off the post from the middle of the slot. As he entered the low slot to the left of the Yale goalie, the puck bounced off Schwartz's chest and ricochet into the net.

Thirteen seconds later, the visitors went up again. Howe made an acrobatic save on Kenny Agostino (Flanders, NJ) but the rebound stayed in front of the net on the right side. Jesse Root (Pittsburgh, Pa.) was there to smack it into the back of the cage at 4:46.

Twenty-six seconds later the game was even again, and it came on another crazy bounce of the puck. Eamonn McDermot's shot off the boards zipped back and caught the back of Yale senior goalie Jeff Malcolm's skate before sliding over the goal line at 5:12.

The 2-2 tie lasted more than six minutes, until Agostino made a great play behind the net to set up defenseman Tommy Fallen (Plymouth, Minn.) for his first goal of the year. After being taken down during his rush to the net with the puck, Agostino bounced up and then found his teammate open in the high slot for one of his two assists. Fallen wound up for the one-timer and sent a slap shot past Howe at 11:57.

Two straight Tiger goals to start the second period gave the home team a 4-3 lead. Archie Skalbeck went top shelf from the left circle 80 seconds into the second, and then CC jumped all over its first power play chance. The Blue had a 30-25 edge in shots on target after two periods, but the Tigers were making their shots count.

A wide shot by a Yale forward whizzed around the boards and started CC on a rush that ended up with a Scott Winkler's blast from the left circle that hit Malcolm (20 saves) and trickled in over the goal line.

The visitors jumped all over a rebound 45 seconds later to tie it up again. Trent Ruffolo (Coral Springs, Fla. ) notched his fourth of the year off an assist from Laganiere at 10:53.

It took an extensive video review for Colorado College's third goal of the frame, but it seemed like a good call after the Yale goalie apparently saved the puck on a rebound off the edge of the crease. Jared Hanson poked the puck out of Malcolm's glove at 13:37 to put the Tigers up again at 5-4, which brought senior Nick Maricic (Alta Loma, Calif.) out to take over the Yale net. He would eventually earn the win with nine saves.

The Tigers (7-6-1) stopped Yale's first four power plays, but the fifth was the one that did them in. Yale's captain stepped up when he was needed most to get the final equalizer of the night at 12:03. Andrew Miller converted an advantage with a shot from the left circle to cap a period in which his squad outshot the home team 15-5.

"Antoine (Laganiere) made a cross-ice pass and I was able to beat the goalie high glove side on a wrist shot," said Miller, who has three goals this year. "We played a great team game tonight. There were points in the game when things didn't go our way, but we showed a lot of poise as a team to fight back and get a win."

The Tigers had to erase a big deficit last night against New Hampshire to force OT in a 4-4 draw. They  had a chance to take one win this weekend.

 "It was a run and gun deal. We were ok with it for the most part, but we should have been able to take care of the lead. It's a tough one to take," said Scott Owen, the head coach of Colorado College.



Yale is now 4-0 against nationally ranked teams this year…  Freshman Mitch Witek took his spot as a seventh defenseman… The Elis are back in action Saturday night against Brown at Ingalls Rink.


Report filed by Steve Conn, Yale Sports Publicity Director