Maricic, Agostino Lead Blue To Win

No. 7/8 Yale Beats Tigers 4-2

NEW HAVEN, Conn.Nick Maricic has been waiting for his opportunity since classmate Jeff Malcolm took over the starting goaltending job 11 games ago. Maricic, coming in for the injured starter early in the game, jumped all over his chance by stopping 20 of 21 shots in Yale's 4-2, extremely physical ECAC Hockey win over Princeton before a sold out Ingalls Rink. That win improved the No. 7/8 Bulldogs' record to 6-1-1 over the last eight and moved them within five points of first place.

Maricic, playing his first game since Dec. 1, stopped six in the first, eight in the second and six in the third as his squad outshot the Tigers 42-22 and set up a special scene for Saturday night.

Yale (13-5-3, 9-4-1 ECAC) hosts Quinnipiac, the top team in the power rankings and the No. 2 ranked squad in both polls, tomorrow at 7 in a game that can be seen live on CPTV Sports and Yale All Access. The Bobcats increased their unbeaten string to 18 games with a 1-1 OT tie at Brown tonight.

Four different Bulldogs found the net while Kenny Agostino, Andrew Miller and Tommy Fallen each had two points. The line of Miller, Agostino and Nicholas Weberg combined for two goals and five points on 12 shots while making Princeton defensemen chase them all night.

Tyler Maugeri put the visitors up 20 seconds in with a wrister from the right circle on the game's first shot. Almost two minutes later, his teammate Andrew Ammon ran over Malcolm, was called for charging the goalie and sent the senior netminder out of the game with an injury.

Yale responded with a power play goal nearly 30 seconds later.  Jesse Root, fighting for position off the top of the crease, tipped in Fallen's shot from the left circle at 2:59 for his seventh of the season.

"They scored on their first two shots and our goalie got hurt. I liked that our guys didn't get rattled," said Keith Allain '80. "We just stuck with the plan and were able to break through at the end."

After a Michael Sdao power-play tally at 3:16, Yale evened it again on a great play by Agostino, who won a battle to get the puck in the high slot and then fed Fallen at the point. Fallen's slapshot went off Condon's pads and bounced to the slot.  Agostino picked it up on his forehand, went the backhand and then went top shelf for his 12th of the year.

"I thought Kenny [Agostino] had one of his best games here. He was really hard to handle and was really determined to get to the net. When he plays like that, he's one of the best players in the country," said Allain.

The Blue finished the frame with a season-21 shots on target while converting one of three advantages. Maricic stopped six of the seven Tiger shots.

"As a backup, at any point it can happen. This late in the year, you don't want to go in," said Maricic, about Malcolm's injury. "You know you are in because something bad has happened. Unfortunately I had to go in tonight. You try to focus on one shot at a time and don't let things snowball."

Yale came out flying again in the second and got the period's only score at 3:19. Clinton Bourbonais took a pass along the boards from Agostino, skated through the right circle and then swooped in around the crease. As a defender came up to stop him, Bourbonais wrapped the shot around the goalie and inside the far post to make it 3-2.

The Elis increased the lead to two by taking advantage of a 2-on-1 and crashing the net. Weberg came in from the middle and fired a low shot off Condon's pads that bounced out to Miller (10th), coming in from the right. The Yale captain beat the Tiger blueliner to the puck and flipped it over the Princeton goalie at 16:42.

"We've been clicking a lot the past few weeks. You try not to get frustrated because we haven't produced as much as we would like, but you can't argue with the chances. We were getting chances almost every shift tonight," said Agostino about his line.

The Tigers (7-9-4, 5-5-3) never got close to cutting into that lead. Maricic and the Yale defense limited the visitors to just six shots in the final period and blanked them on two advantages to take another close one from the Old Nassau team.

"It's really hard," said Allain referring to Maricic coming into the game. "I was a goalie. I give him a ton of credit. He hasn't played in a while. He has worked extremely hard. Our message to him was that you will get an opportunity, so make sure you are ready."

 

BULLDOG BITES

Yale hit three pipes tonight… The Yale lineup was the same as last Friday at Cornell, except all three goalies dressed…  Mike Condon stopped 38 of 42 shots for the Tigers… Saturday night's game is sold out… Nick Maricic is now 2-1-1 on the season.

 

Filed by Steve Conn, Yale Sports Publicity Director

 

Image of Clinton Bourbonais scoring his goal (by Nicholas Carlino)

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