Root Scores Twice in 4-0 Win
NEW HAVEN, Conn. – An unbeaten streak increased to four as a hot Bulldog squad won a rivalry game before a packed house at Ingalls Rink. Trent Ruffolo had two goals and an assist, Antoine Laganiere had a goal and three points, while Jesse Root chipped in a pair of helpers as the No. 12 Yale men's hockey team skated past Harvard 4-0 in ECAC play.
The Bulldogs (10-4-1, 6-3-1) scored even strength every time with Ruffolo notching a career-high. Yale outshot the Crimson 39-21 and saved its biggest period for the last with an 18-5 advantage.
Jeff Malcolm registered 21 saves to earn the win in net, his fourth career shutout, and a sweep of the season series against the Cantabs. He blanked Harvard (5-9-1, 3-7-0) on five power plays.
Yale, which hosts No. 11 Dartmouth on Saturday, got started early and used a two-goal opening frame to put the game away.
"We did a great job from the start. We established a physical play from the beginning and wore their defense down," said Ruffolo. " It forced them to create turnovers, and that's what led to our scoring chances."
All the Yale tallies were hard-working efforts, including the first. Nicholas Weberg chipped the puck out of the Yale corner and up the ice to Andrew Miller, who got it over to Agostino heading over the blueline. Agostino's shot from the middle slot bounced off Girard's pads and kicked out to the left of the crease. Miller, crashing the net, had an open left side of the cage to smack the rebound home at 7:23 for his eighth of the year.
Yale made it 2-0 with a flurry of close-range shots. Root fired the puck off the goalie pads and Ruffolo followed with a shot that was also saved by Girard. However, the third attempt was just too much for the Harvard defense to withstand. Laganiere (11th goal) snuck it inside far post with 5:30 left in a first period that Yale outshot Harvard 13-9.
"I was really pleased with the way we played. Our defensive game was outstanding," said Keith Allain '80, Yale's Malcolm G. Chace Head Coach. "Our rush defense created a lot of chances for us, and our fore-check was real good. We had a couple of fore-check goals."
Yale upped the lead to three early in the second with a third straight rebound tally. Defenseman Ryan Obuchowski took a shot from just inside the blueline that bounded off the goalie pads to the low slot where Ruffolo was already stationed. The sophomore banged it home for his fifth of the season.
The Crimson had a golden chance to cut into the lead before the second intermission with a two-man advantage for 85 seconds, but the Blue penalty-kill cleared the puck three times and protected Malcolm from shots. The senior netminder needed just one save during that span.
"They could have gotten two there, and then it's a different game," said Allain, talking about the kill.
The momentum from the great Yale penalty-kill spilled over to the third period and the Elis put another one in, while chasing Girard from the net. Root skated around the net and wrapped around a pass to the low slot. Ruffolo was heading for the crease and one-timed a shot over the goalie's shoulder 50 seconds in to make it 4-0. That was the highlight of a three-minute span with the home team putting 11 shots on target.
"Every time we step on the ice with them it's a war," said Miller, who notched his 32nd goal and 133rd career point. "Our fore-check was great. We were all over them for three periods."
The Elis moved from No. 9 to fifth in the Pairwise Rankings after the win... Yale notched its first shutout of Harvard since Feb. 4, 2011, a 1-0 win at home… The one change in the lineup from last weekend was freshman Matthew Beattie in for classmate Cody Learned at forward… The game aired live on NBC Sports Network… The Yale men's hockey alumni game is 2:30 p.m. on Saturday.
Filed by Steve Conn, Yale Sports Publicity Director
Andrew Miller (scoring in first period) image by Don Clark