January 12, 2013

Yale Gets North Country Sweep

Blue Caps Weekend with 3-1 Win Over Clarkson

POTSDAM, N.Y. –  The winter heat wave that hit the North Country was appropriate for the hot hockey team that came away from its longest – and often most difficult - road trip with four points. Jeff Malcolm stopped 32 of 33 shots and three different teammates scored as the No. 14 Yale men's hockey team registered a 3-1 ECAC win over Clarkson before 2,297 at Cheel Arena.

Malcolm, who had double-digit saves in two periods, combined with a great Yale defensive effort to keep the Knights off the scoreboard for the first 57 minutes of the contest. The Elis (9-4-3, 5-3-1), unbeaten in their last three, blanked Clarkson on all five advantages and moved into a third-place tie with Union at 11 points.

"Our guys are pretty excited about it [sweep]. It's always a hard place to come and take two games. We needed them and got them," said Keith Allain '80, Yale's Malcolm G. Chace Head Coach, who couldn't remember ever being part of a Yale sweep on this trip (last Yale sweep up there was 2003-04). "I thought we played well at both ends, and our special teams were very good. That's what you need to play on the road."

There were 30 shots on goal in the first frame but nobody found the net, even with four power plays. There were, however, some grade-A chances that were turned aside by Clarkson's freshman goalie and Yale's senior.  Malcolm stopped a Pat Megannety one-timer alone in the low slot before Greg Lewis (32 saves) made solid saves on Bulldog forward Anthony Day (power-play backhander from low slot) and defenseman Gus Young (shorthanded 3-on-1).  Yale blueliner Ryan Obuchowski hit the pipe on Yale's second advantage of the frame.

The Elis used an excellent penalty kill coming out of intermission to gain some speed and the lead. An aggressive fore-check created opportunities in the form of both power plays and scoring chances.

Jesse Root, with help from Andrew Miller and Kenny Agostino, got Yale on the board at 6:24. Miller sent a board-to-board pass along the blueline to Agostino, who skated in put a shot off the goalie's pads before Root banged it home for his fifth of the year.

"Andrew [Miller] made a great play to gain the zone. Coach [Allain] was telling us to make sure we got pucks low to the net and my shot got there. Jesse did a great job getting to the net," said Agostino, who led the Blue with two points.

Agostino got his second point of the night by tipping home a Rob O'Gara shot from the point. Agostino was in the middle of the slot when his defenseman blasted a rising shot toward traffic. The junior found the puck a few feet off the ice and re-directed to the back of the net at 11:47 to make it 2-0. O'Gara got the puck at the point from Nicholas Weberg, who also picked up an assist.

"Nico [Weberg] did a good job getting it up. Rob [O'Gara] made a great shot, and I was able to get my stick on it," said Agostino, who now has nine goals and a team-high 21 points.

The Knights had plenty of close calls in cutting into the lead but Malcolm came up big each time. Jeff DiNallo came in alone. He ended up in the net but the puck was knocked aside. The best save came on Todd Christian. He had an open side and put the puck in the right spot but the Yale netminder snatched it out of the air. Another near tally came from Paul Geiger, who hit the post on the Clarkson power play.

Both teams had plenty of chances through the first 15 minutes of the third, but nothing lit the lamp until the home team, with Lewis pulled from the cage for an extra skater, took advantage of a delayed penalty to make it 2-1 with 2:37 left. Joe Zarbo's goal from the top of the right circle went through plenty of traffic to find the net, and the Bulldogs still had to kill of the penalty.

Lewis came back in for the advantage, but was out again after a Clarkson penalty. When the Yale player came out of the box and the advantage went to the visitors, Lewis returned to the bench only to see the Elis score an empty-netter for the second straight night. Defenseman Gus Young blocked a shot low in the circle and Josh Balch grabbed the puck deep in the Yale end and flicked it up and over everyone, heading for the side of the Clarkson net. Clinton Bourbonais won the race, picked it back to the front and tossed it in for the clincher with 30 seconds left.  

Malcolm held off the late rally by a hungry group of Knights with help from his teammates. "Their style is to keep it to the outside and crash the net," said Malcolm. "Everything seemed to be sticking to me as I tried to eliminate second chances. The guys really bore down in front of me. They were poised and able to take away second options."

 

BULLDOG BITES

Yale is home next weekend to face Harvard (7:30) and Dartmouth (7). Friday's contest with the Crimson airs live on NBC Sports Network… Saturday's Dartmouth game can be seen live on Yale's All Access broadcast… There are limited tickets available for both games… The Yale Alumni Game is Saturday at 2:30.

 

Filed by Steve Conn, Yale Sports Publicity Director

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