Blue Comes From Behind To Win
TROY, N.Y. – Mike Doherty missed the last five games with an injury, but put an exclamation point on his return to the lineup tonight. The freshman winger found the net 59 seconds into overtime to give the No. 13 Yale men's hockey team a 3-2 win over Rensselaer at Houston Field House.
An Engineer boarding penalty just after the opening draw of overtime put the Bulldogs (12-6-4, 7-5-3 ECAC) on the advantage. The Elis cashed in for their second power-play tally of the night on a pretty connection from Stu Wilson to Frankie DiChiara before it got to Doherty.
Wilson, who took a pass in the corner from Doherty, avoided a defender and then passed it in front of the cage to DiChiara, who had his back to the goalie. Instead of trying to flip a backhander on goal, the rookie forward passed straight back to Doherty in the high slot. His shot went blocker side midway up for his fifth of the year.
"We were fortunate to get a power play [in overtime]," said Doherty. "They [RPI] play a tough style and get right in your face, but we were able to keep it in [the zone]. Frankie [DiChiara] had the great poise to hold the puck. I called for it because everyone else was either collapsed low or on the point. I had nobody on me."
Doherty, who had three shots on goal overall, knew what to do when he received the pass.
"I was thinking shot. I saw an opening top left and got off the best shot I could," said Doherty, who mentioned it taking a little while for him to get in the flow after missing three games.
It was the second time that DiChiara assisted on a winner in OT (Merrimack game with Chris Izmirlian).
"I had a lot of time to make a play," said DiChiara. "I decided to wait and try to draw a defenseman. I thought about a backhander, but it would have been a no-look. I knew he'd have a better shot of scoring."
The Bulldogs, who erased 1-0 and 2-1 deficits, were outshot 37-35 but converted half of their advantages, including two by blueliner Tommy Fallen, who notched his third double-digit goal night this year.
"It was a gutsy team effort by our guys," said Keith Allain '80,Yale's Malcolm G. Chace Head Coach, who earned his 150th career victory tonight. "RPI was clearly running around out here. We gave it our best shot and found a way to win."
RPI grabbed a 2-1 lead after the first 20 minutes with an even-strength goal and a shorthanded tally while outshooting the Blue 11-8.
Those two goals were sandwiched around a Fallen score at 12:58, his fifth of the season. The junior defenseman, standing at the left point, took a feed from Cody Learned, who got it from Nicholas Weberg. Fallen sent a rising wrister over Scott Diebold's shoulder.
Alex Lyon, who finished with 35 saves, had nine, including the game's first four shots on target, while stopping a few grade-A chances with his glove in the first period. He was busier in the second with 14 saves, half of which came on one power play.
The "chuck-a-puck" competition between periods had more rubber flying around the ice than the combined 37 shots attempted in the scoreless second frame. The Engineers had a 14-9 edge in pucks on target with the majority coming from the the slot and inner circles. Diebold's saves were spread throughout the zone.
The Blue used its third power-play chance to even the score midway through the third. On the drop of the puck following the penalty, Jesse Root won it back to the point for Fallen. The Plymouth, Minn., native took a few steps to the top of the left circle and then sent another rising wrister top shelf at 7:57.
"Our power play really stepped it up tonight. RPI scoring on our first advantage just made our guys more determined. Getting two power-play goals was the difference in the game," said Allain.
Yale may have been outshot in the first two periods, but the Elis nearly made up for it with 16 and the equalizer. The visitors came so close to getting another, ,especially when Frankie DiChiara skated in alone and fired a slap shot off the RPI goalie with two minutes left.
At the other end, the home team had possession for a late flurry that really challenged Yale's freshman netminder. There were four shots from close range over the last minute, but Lyon stood the test to send the game to extra time.
BULLDOG BITES: Tommy Fallen's two-goal night gives him 17 career tallies, which is fifth on the Yale career list for blueliners... The only change from last Saturday's lineup was Mike Doherty in for Dan O'Keefe at forward… Saturday's game at Union can be seen on Time Warner Cable in New York and through the Union website (click link on Yale schedule)… The fans at Houston Field House tonight may have established a new collegiate record for saying the word "suck" in a variety of chants.
Filed by Steve Conn, Yale Sports Publicity Director