Root, Agostino Lead Blue Over Tigers
NEW HAVEN, Conn. – It's possible that a Yale hockey team has never had three shorthanded goals in a game… until tonight. Princeton had five power-play chances and the No. 13 Bulldogs scored on three of them in a 7-5 ECAC Hockey win before another sellout at Ingalls Rink.
The Elis (13-8-4, 8-7-3), who moved to within a point of fourth place, got a season-high offensive output including two goals and four points from captain Jesse Root and a pair of goals (3 points) by Kenny Agostino.
Yale outshot (39-35) a Princeton team that beat Quinnipiac earlier this season and was coming off a win at Brown last night. The Blue went scoreless on four advantages, but its other special-teams unit provided plenty of offense.
A ferocious fore-check created the game's first goal. Cody Learned picked a Tiger player in the Princeton end and looped around the right circle. Frankie DiChiara sprinted for the net and caught a perfect pass from Learned before depositing the puck in an open left side.
"The first period we were all over them, and I was fortunate enough to score that goal," said DiChiara, who notched his third of the season. "It was a great play by Iz [Chris Izmirlian] and Cody [Learned]. Iz pressured the guy and Cody picked it up… I was screaming for the puck and Cody found me. It was a good play all around."
The Blue made 2-0 in the first with a give-and-go play between Tommy Fallen and Root. Fallen sprinted with the puck out of his own end and fed Root heading over the blueline. Root dropped it back for the defenseman, who blasted a slap shot from the top of the left circle for his seventh of the season.
Yale made it 3-0 during a penalty-kill near the midpoint of the second. Root, who has a pair of shorthanders this year, took a feed up the right boards from Agostino and had a 2-on-1 with Gus Young. Root held on until the edge of the right circle and then fired low past Sean Bonar at 11:26.
"Once we got the first shorthanded goal, I thought we started cheating a little bit," said Root. "The moral of that story is we need to play solid defensively, you can't cheat the offense especially on a penalty-kill. You have to kill the penalty first and make sure the puck gets out of the zone, but when we did get opportunities it was good that we capitalized on them."
The Tigers scored three times in the second, two of which came with the advantage. The first power-play tally cut the lead to 3-1 and was the first of two straight goals for Andrew Ammon.
The next Princeton advantage turned into another Bulldog goal, this time by Ryan Obuchowski. The sophomore defenseman took a pretty crossing pass from Nicholas Weberg and one-timed it to make the score 4-2.
The visitor's second power-play tally of the period cut the margin to 4-3.
"It seemed like we'd get a comfortable lead and then we relaxed and they charged back," said Keith Allain '80, Yale's Malcolm G. Chace Head Coach.
Yale goalie Alex Lyon (30 saves overall), who had 11 saves in the middle frame, had to make a number of difficult stops. He was challenged to open the third with two, bang-bang saves on a grade-A chance just after the drop of the puck. That turned into momentum for the Blue.
Just 28 seconds into the third Agostino skated over the blueline and through the right circle before angling toward the slot and wristing a low shot five-hole for his team-high 12th goal.
Root got his second of the night after John Hayden (2 assists) picked off a pass at center ice and flipped it up the left side for his linemate. The captain skated through the slot with a defender sticking him and slipped a backhander under Bonar's glove.
"Jesse [Root] was our best player. When things got messy I thought Jesse really took charge out there," said Allain.
The Tigers roared back again with two straight tallies to cut the lead to 6-5 with just under five left. Lyon needed some big saves to hold them off, and the Eli penalty-kill had to come up with another big play to clinch the win. Charles Orzetti was called for a "contact to the head" major with 1:38 left, so Princeton pulled Bonar for the extra skater. The Elis had other ideas.
Root won the face-off with force out of the zone and the puck slid toward the Princeton blueline. Agostino won the race by a step and managed to flip the puck into the net just six seconds after it looked like the visitors had a great chance to get the equalizer.
"It was tight to the end, a little tighter than we wanted, but that's hockey," said Agostino, who now has 25 points. "Sometimes you have to win an ugly one."
The Yale record books do not indicate a team record for SHG in a game, but the NCAA mark is six by Wisconsin in a 1967 game... Alex Lyon had an assist on Yale's second goal; it was the first by a Bulldog netminder since Ryan Rondeau vs. Princeton on 2/20/11… The Blue suited up the same lineup as Friday… The Yale Alumni game was played this afternoon and the Blue team earned the close victory. Daryl Jones '98 earned alumni game MVP honors.
Filed by Steve Conn, Yale Sports Publicity Director