Battle of Ranked Teams Goes OT
BURLINGTON, Vt. – Wins against ranked Hockey East teams on the road are tough to come by. Ties are likely viewed as a positive unless you had three leads and ended up with a draw. Kenny Agostino had two goals and five others had assists as No. 10 Yale skated to a 3-3 OT tie at No. 20 Vermont before a packed Gutterson Fieldhouse.
Alex Lyon stopped 32 shots but saw a 6-on-5, odd-man rush shot fly into the net with 53 seconds left to send the game to OT. Agostino had the first and third goals while freshman John Hayden had the othehr. The Elis had 1-0, 2-1 and 3-2 leads before the extra session.
"It was a hard-fought point against a quality opponent on the road," said Keith Allain '80, Yale's Malcolm G. Chace Head Coach. "We did some things really well. Our fore-check was good and we created a lot of scoring transitions in transition."
A ferocious Bulldog fore-check and a blanketing defense enabled the visitors to dominate puck possession for the first half of the opening frame. Included in that one-sided play was Root's team-best, seventh goal of the season. The senior captain crashed the net after defenseman Ryan Obuchowski hit Mike Santaguida's pads with a shot from the point. Root won the race to the rebound and backhanded it toward the net. Agostino got his stick on it between Root and the net and it zipped over the goalie's shoulder at 4:56.
The Blue had nine of the first 10 shots on target in the game and ended up with a 12-8 advantage after the period. The Catamounts evened the score midway through the period and started getting more shots on Lyon.
The visitors grabbed the lead back at the end of the first when Hayden notched his first collegiate goal. Trent Ruffolo started the play by grabbing a loose puck in his own end and sending it ahead to Carson Cooper, who was moving through the neutral zone on the left side. Cooper crossed the blueline with a 2-on-1 and took the defender with him. The Yale sophomore released the puck to Hayden on the right wing and the freshman sprinted in on the UVM cage before unleashing a wrister stick side with 1:34 left.
"It was a picture perfect breakout. Coop [Cooper] made a perfect pass on the 2-on-1," said Hayden. "I've been trying to shoot more. I saw an open low corner and it worked out. All the credit goes to the breakout."
A wild, scoreless middle frame took twice as long as the average period because of a broken sheet of glass early on. The teams skated around for a while before play - and the end-to-end action – resumed. The Bulldogs had a 14-11 edge in shots, but there seemed to be much more snow accumulating in the UVM end. Yale did have the only three man-advantages of the period, and got 10 of its 14 shots on target, but the puck was in that end most of the time at even strength.
The Elis nearly added to the lead in the first minute after a great defensive play by Nicholas Weberg and a long pass to Agostino that ended in a breakaway and a save at the other end. Agostino would get another chance on a similar play and put it away.
With Yale still holding onto the slim lead, Lyon made a spectacular save with 9:42 left on a point-blank shot by HT Lenz. The Yale rookie swiped the shot out of the air like Superman catching a bullet. He also made a huge stop on a shot from the low slot with 1:32 left in the OT, and another from the middle slot with 29 ticks remaining.
The Cats found the net to even things at 2-2 on a wild scramble outside the Yale crease, which set up another go-ahead tally for the Elis.
UVM dumped the puck on a line change and didn't realize Gus Young was there to grab it so quickly. The senior blueliner quickly sent a long pass to Agostino, who went to the net a step ahead of the defender. This time he slipped it past the goalie for his sixth of the season with 5:49 left. It wasn't enough.
The home team pulled its goalie with 1:13 left and then got a 2-on-1 that ended up as a Chris McCarthy goal from the left side just inside the last minute of regulation.
The Blue got two shots on target before the end of regulation but was outshot 2-1 in extra time.
"There were also some things that needed to be cleaned up for us to take a step forward as a team," said Allain, whose squad moved to 7-3-4 overall with one remaining non-league game left next weekend.
BULLDOG BITES: Yale's first goal was changed from Jesse Root to Kenny Agostino when it was learned that Agostino deflected his linemate's shot in front of the cage... UVM forward Connor Brickley was called for charging when he blindsided Ryan Obuchowski along the boards behind the Yale net 3:24 into the second period. The ugly hit sent the Eli into one glass panel. However, the glass panel next to that one shattered into a countless number of pieces, falling on the ice and on top of the fans in the first few rows. The 22-minute delay included the Zamboni scooping up pieces of glass… Yale's next contest is a week from tonight in the Rivalry on Ice at Madison Square Garden against Harvard. Tickets are still available for the 8 p.m. face-off… The Yale lineup was the same as last Sunday vs. Holy Cross except Frankie DiChiara was in and Mike Doherty was out.
Report filed by Steve Conn, Yale Sports Publicity Director