Game 2 Tonight at 7, Tickets Available
NEW HAVEN, Conn. – Shutouts are hard to come by in post-season play, even tougher for freshman making their playoff debut. Alex Lyon stopped all 24 shots and his No. 15 Yale hockey team got scoring from four different players in a 4-0 win over Harvard on opening night of the first round of the ECAC Playoffs.
Lyon, who shut out RPI on the last day of the regular season, made it two straight by making nine saves in the first, four in the second and 11 in the final frame. He and his special teams stopped all four Harvard advantages to give the Blue a 1-0 lead in the best-of-three series. It was Yale's second straight ECAC home playoff shutout (3-0 over St. Lawrence in 2013 quarterfinals) and the third of Lyon's career.
The three seniors helped Yale jump out to a 2-0 lead in the first period. Kenny Agostino made a great lead, crossing pass to Jesse Root to set up the first tally. Root, with Harvard forward Danny Fick draped all over him (and being called for a penalty) as he got through the low slot, backhanded a shot from the edge of the crease over Steve Michalek's shoulder as he crashed into the cage at 7:47.
"It was a really nice pass from Ken [Agostino]. I saw a little opening, so I got through and he put it right on my stick and I was able to get around a defenseman. I saw the goalie move one way and I just tried to put it back the other and luckily it went in," said Root, who has a team-high 14 goals.
Gus Young got the second one almost two minutes later. The Eli defenseman found himself behind the Harvard net with the puck looking for an opening. He tried the right side and hit the goalie in the pads. Young grabbed it back, went behind the net and came out the same side before sending off Michalek's skate into the back of the net.
"Hockey, to me, is the ultimate team game, and I thought we played a good team game tonight," said Keith Allain '80,Yale's Malcolm G. Chace Head Coach. "You're gonna have to if you want to advance."
The MVP of the Rivalry on Ice at Madison Square Garden notched his third goal of the year against the Crimson on the penalty kill. Cody Learned won a blueline-to-blueline race to a loose puck and then used one of the best Yale offensive moves of the season to make it 3-0 at 5:44 of the second.
The sophomore winger, who banged the puck along the boards to himself, went in alone on the net and deked left, as Michalek went with him, before tucking it in the open right side. Harvard replaced their junior goalie with senior Raphael Girard after that tally.
"I think it was a really good defensive game, and that's what led to offense for us tonight," said Learned, who had a two-point night. "But we have to be ready for tomorrow."
Harvard tried to mount a comeback in the third, including pulling its goalie on two advantages but couldn't get one past Lyon, who was stopping all kinds of shots through traffic,
Shortly after the visitor's second power play of the third, the Elis put the game out of reach with a Carson Cooper wrister from the high slot. Cooper took a crossing pass from Trent Ruffolo (2 assists) and then let go a rising shot that went past Girard's glove with 3:29 left.
"I think against a team like Harvard it's real important that you defend first. I thought we played a strong game defensively. At the same time, I thought we showed real good intensity around their net offensively," said Allain.
Game two of the series is Saturday at 7 p.m. and tickets are still available… The Elis suited up the same lineup as last Saturday night… The Bulldogs will be in Washington, D.C., on Monday to take part in the White House's celebration of national championship teams.
Filed by Steve Conn, Yale Sports Publicity Director
Jesse Root image (scoring goal) by Jack Warhola