NEW HAVEN, Conn. – The Bulldogs registered a three-point ECAC Hockey weekend by skating to a 2-2 OT tie with No. 15 St. Lawrence tonight before a sellout crowd at Ingalls Rink. Yale, which notched a 2-1 victory the night before against Clarkson, got the point despite being outshot 41-29.
A career-high 39 saves by Patrick Spano and goals by Ryan Hitchcock and Frankie DiChiara got the Elis in position to avenge a loss at Canton early this season. A couple of bounces that went for the Saints prevented the home team from taking four points in the set.
The Bulldogs got on the board fir st midway through the opening frame on one of the best passes of the season. The scoring play began with Joe Snively stealing the puck from a Saint at his own blueline and then taking the puck over the visitor's blueline with speed. He dropped for Mike Doherty on the right side and raced ahead to the slot. Hitchcock was already in the race on the left side to get in position, and Doherty threaded the needle with a lead pass that Hitchcock gathered and then fired into a small opening inside the near post.
Hitchcock, who later left the game with an injury, has been voted the team's best passer the last two years. He has some teammates with similar skills and Hitchcock was the beneficiary on this one.
SLU had a 13-7 edge in shots, but the Elis had the only tally of the first thanks to some great Spano saves. Taggart Corriveau had a breakaway midway through and Yale's senior goalie squeezed the pads to stop it. He did that again on a Joe Sullivan shorthanded breakaway with 56 seconds left.
The buzzing Bulldogs rang some pipes early in the second to increase the lead. John Hayden hit the right post. On the same shift, Robbie DeMontis grabbed the puck behind the SLU net and saw DiChiara open in the lower right circle. DiChiara took the pass, skated to a better angle and banged one off the pipe and in 36 seconds out of the locker room.
"The coaches told us to shoot at his shoulders," said DiChiara. "I got the puck from Robbie [DeMontis} and walked out in front. I saw a corner open and fortunately it went in the net."
The Elis had some great chances to put more on the board before the visitors cut the lead to 2-1 in the middle of the second. It was quite a challenge considering Kyle Hayton, the national goalie of the month for December and the guy primarily responsible for the Saints allowing just 14 goals in 11 conference games before tonight, was in the SLU net.
Meanwhile at the other end, Spano stopped 16 of 17 shots to help make sure the Blue had the lead heading into the second break. He dove for a puck that was about to slide over the goal line and later robbed Ryan Lough, who had nobody in front of him from 10 feet out. Spano snatched it out of the air with 2:04 left in the second.
The 37th shot on goal for the visitors found the net, and that power-play tally evened the game at 2-2 with 4:56 left.
The Bulldogs came so close to winning the game in regulation with a late flurry that included a pipe shot by Chris Izmirlian with 10 seconds left.
Ted Hart came close with a shot from the right circle with 1:26 left, but Hayton came up with the save and then jumped on the biscuit.
A few other quality Yale shots came after that stop, completing an extra session dominated (7-1 shots) by the Bulldogs.
"I thought we were the better team in OT," said Keith Allain '80, Yale's Malcolm G. Chace Head Coach. "It was an interesting college hockey game."
DiChiara had similar thoughts about the game that moved the Blue into seventh place in ECAC Hockey.
"The game was really back and forth. [After SLU's second goal] We took it to them, especially in the overtime. We had all those chances. I thought it was a great hockey game overall."
By Steve Conn, Yale Associate AD & Sports Publicity Director – firstname.lastname@example.org