Balch OT Goal Lifts Blue Over Colgate

Miller Has 2 Goals in Comeback Win

NEW HAVEN, Conn.Josh Balch, the top penalty-killer and defensive forward on his team, has two goals this season and both were overtime game-winners. His tally with 2.5 seconds left in the extra frame gave the No. 14/15 Yale men's hockey team a 4-3 victory over Colgate in a crucial ECAC contest before a sellout crowd at Ingalls Rink.

Balch got the puck on the left edge of the crease after it bounced off the back boards and then off the side of the net before burying the winner in game one of senior weekend at the Whale. That was Yale's second straight goal after falling behind 3-2 in the third period.

"It all happened really fast. We went down on a rush," said Balch, who set up Yale's second goal. "Stu cycled it behind the net and it took a fortunate bounce to me, and I got it over the goalie's shoulder. I think it bounced off a defenseman's stick and then it hit the side of the net. I went straight to the net and was fighting for position, and the puck came straight to me. It went over the goalie's right shoulder."

The Bulldogs, winners of two straight, can clinch a tournament bye with a win against a hot Cornell team Saturday night.

The Elis overcame a three-goal swing to split the season series with the Raiders. Yale blanked the visitors for two periods and scored a pair of pretty goals that eventually helped Jeff Malcolm get the win in goal with 26 saves.

The game's first goal was a beauty. The Raiders barely cleared the zone while a penalty-killer was recovering from a broken stick. It went over the blueline by a few feet and then it was grabbed by Kenny Agostino and brought back quickly with an odd-man opportunity. The junior forward spun around at the top of the right circle and sent it across for Andrew Miller above the opposite dot. The Yale captain, who led the Elis with two goals, connected on a one-timer and sent the puck inside the near post at 4:46 for his 13th of the season.

That was the only tally of the opening frame despite the Elis having a 17-7 advantage in shots. Colgate's best chance came on the power play with three very near misses, and Malcolm stopped six shots overall.

The Blue made it two after killing off another advantage in the second. Balch, who missed a goal on the PK in the first period when his laser slap shot hit the inside of the pipe, flew coast-to-coast on the right and then sent a perfect crossing pass to his center coming down the slot. Clinton Bourbonais got his stick on the lead feed and re-directed it to the open left side of the cage at 7:08. Colgate had a 10-7 edge in shots but that was the only goal of the second.

The 2-0 lead lasted until the second minute of the third period when the visitors tallied 11 seconds apart and evened the score. Robbie Bourbon one-timed a pass from the slot, and then a Yale defender deflected a shot over the Yale goalie's glove at 1:16.

Baun, who leads his team with 13 goals, made it three in a row with a tip-in midway through the third on a power play. Malcolm had little chance on either of his shots, both changed direction very quickly.

"Our guys regained their focus and got back in the game," said Keith Allain '80, Yale's Malcolm G. Chace Head Coach.

The home team worked hard for the next 14 minutes to get the equalizer, and it came after a long scrum for the puck along the boards on the left side in the Colgate end. Agostino poked it out of the pile and Root pulled away with it before scooting toward the net on the left side. He waited for the goalie to commit and then sent it across for Miller. The senior forward held for a moment as Eric Mihalik (37 saves) went low and then flicked a shot top shelf with 5:35 left.

Both teams had quality chances the rest of regulation and both Malcolm and Mihalik were thoroughly tested with some great saves.

"It's a great feeling. It says a lot about the character of the team," said Balch. "It's not easy having a two-goal lead and then losing it in the first few minutes of the third. We did the same thing last week against Princeton. This is the type of character it takes to go far in the playoffs. It was a great team win."

Allain was happy to extol his senior forward's virtues after the victory.

"He's [Balch] on the ice for a reason… and it was one of his better nights," said Allain. "He is playing with the determination and confidence that you like to see from senior athletes at this time of year. Balch and Andrew had outstanding nights."

 

BULLDOG BITES

Miller's goal gave him a team-high and a career-best 14 for the season… Yale, which moved into third place, can finish as high as third and as low as sixth with one game left in the regular season… Saturday's game with Cornell is completely sold out.

 

Filed by Steve Conn, Yale Sports Publicity Director

 

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