Bulldogs Beat Bears 4-1
NEW HAVEN, Conn. – The Bulldogs are 6-1-2 in the new year and now have a six-game unbeaten streak thanks to a 4-1 win and a weekend sweep of ECAC Hockey travel partner Brown. Evan Smith scored twice and Sam Tucker stopped 24 of 25 shots in goal to help Yale erase a 1-0 deficit with four straight goals in front of a sellout crowd at Ingalls Rink.
The Elis (10-7-4, 6-5-3 ECAC) exploded for three goals and a 12-5 advantage in shots during the third to open up a very tight contest.
Brown, which had an early lead last night at Providence before Yale came back for a 4-3 win, looked like it might make it even tougher for tonight's home team.
Tucker, the sophomore goalie from Connecticut, made 10 saves in the first, and a few of them were very challenging, especially the stop on Max Willman with 7:20 left. The Bears eventually jumped on a mistake for a short-hander, but the Elis didn't let the rest of the penalty (drawn by Will D'Orsi) time run out without retribution.
Just before the end of the advantage Mike Doherty sent a crossing pass from the top of the right circle to Frankie DiChiara. The senior forward rifled a shot off the boards that went around to Ted Hart along the boards. Hart, looking for his seventh of the year, skated from the Hedgeye dasher into the circle before letting go a rising wrister that split a Bulldog and a Bear before hitting the water bottle with 1:35 left.
The visitors had four more shots on target in the first and two more in the scoreless second, a period that included two Brown power plays.
"It's great to get a four-point weekend," said Keith Allain '80, Yale's Malcolm G. Chace Head Coach, who qualified the weekend sweep. "Brown is big and fast and they finish all of their checks. It was tough to get ice out there."
The Bulldogs came out of the second intermission on a mission to grab a lead, and it did just that with an aggressive fore-check. Billy Sweezey fired a shot on target that hit the goalie and then nearly hit the Yale flag hanging above Brown goalie Gavin Nieto. The rookie Yale defenseman grabbed his own rebound, circled out from the lower left circle and then spotted Evan Smith open at the top of the right circle. Smith one-timed the pass low 100 seconds into the third for his second of the year.
"I had just jumped on the ice after a change. Sweezey sent a great pass to me and I just whacked at it," said Smith.
It's always great for the Bulldogs when the senior on the game program cover has a goal that night. That came to fruition at 15:09 of the third when DiChiara converted a great pass from Joe Snively to make it 3-1. DiChiara's seventh goal of the year came from the right circle where he took a behind-the-goal line feed and went top shelf with a shot zipped past the goalie's shoulder.
The Blue used the momentum from a great kill to get into position for that separating tally, but it wasn't all clear sailing the rest of the way. Tucker had to come up with a couple of big saves, including one on the penalty-kill, a re-direction from the slot with 6:48 left.
"That was really scary," said Tucker. "I thought it was going five-hole and had to change direction."
The Bears pulled Nieto with 3:18 left, brought him back for a face-off and then played the rest of the way with an extra skater until Smith flicked a 185-foot backhander into an empty net to put the game away with 1:20 left.
"We are building confidence as a team. If we keep that going, we are going to be in good shape," said defenseman Anthony Walsh.
The Elis jumped over Clarkson into sixth place in the ECAC standings with 15 points, one behind Cornell and two in back of Quinnipac… Sophomore defenseman Anthony Walsh returned from an injury to skate in his first game since November… Yale is home next weekend to face Princeton and Quinnipiac; There are still some tickets left for both.
Filed by Steve Conn, Yale Associate AD & Sports Publicity Director – firstname.lastname@example.org