Yale Moves Into Tie For 6th Place
NEW HAVEN, Conn. – The last time the Yale men's hockey team had two players record hat tricks in the same game, a current Olympian, Broc Little '11, and a guy who has played in the NHL, Kenny Agostino '14, shared the spotlight in a 2011 win over Holy Cross. It happened again tonight as the Bulldogs beat Princeton 7-2, increased their win streak to four games and earned a 4-point weekend sweep.
Evan Smith had four goals and Joe Snively hit the net three times and had four points to help the Elis end the Tigers' winning streak at five games while pulling even with both Princeton and Dartmouth in sixth place.
The Elis played one of their most complete periods of the season to take a 3-0 lead into the first intermission. The shots (11-7) didn't tell the story; Yale won all the small battles and races and notched some pretty goals.
The first came from a Snively pass to Smith in the left circle. Smith, who became the first Bulldog to notch four goals since Brian O'Neill '12 (another current Olympian) in 2012, took a few strides and then fired an off-angle wrister inside the far post on the high side at 1:45.
Nearly two minutes later, Snively sprinted into the Princeton end with a defender at his side. The junior winger got enough space to unleash a snapshot stick side for a 2-0 lead.
The lead became three with some Bulldog hustle. Ted Hart's backcheck caused a turnover in the Princeton end, and the junior forward came up with the loose puck. He circled from right to left and then flicked a shot on net that bounced off the goalie. Smith won the battle in the crowd by getting his stick to the puck first and whacked it past Ryan Ferland for his second goal.
Ferland, who was then pulled in favor of Ben Halford, would return midway through the third when the score got to 5-2.
The Blue came close to widening the gap a few times, but a pair of 4-on-4 tallies by the visitors almost a minute apart in the middle frame allowed the Tigers to claw back to a 3-2 deficit by the second break.
"We were really happy with the way we started and the way we came back," said assistant coach Josh Siembida, who along with Ryan Donald are heading up the squad while Keith Allain is away with the U.S. Olympic Team. "We responded in the way we needed to."
Yale sophomore goalie Corbin Kaczperski, who earned the win in net with 34 saves, needed 14 in the second because the Tigers tilted the ice and had a 16-5 advantage in accurate shots. He made some top-notch stops along the way to equaling his career-high for saves. The China Township, Mich., native made a great glove save late in the first period on Jeremy Germain. Early in the second, Princeton's top scorer Max Veronneau, had a good look at open net before Kaczperski went up to get his shoulder on the shot. He added a great stop on a backhander from the edge of the crease midway through the second.
"He was solid and made the saves we needed him to make," said Siembida about his goalie. "He has a lot of confidence."
Smith notched his hat trick 1:26 into the third when he raced across the blueline between two black jerseys and snapped a low shot past the Princeton goalie's glove.
"It was a fun night and the team played very well," said Smith, who took just five shots tonight and couldn't recall ever scoring four goals in a game at any level of hockey. "I kept on putting shots on net and fortunately, a few went through for me."
The finishing touch on the victory was provided by Snively and Smith. Snively, who has a team-high 15 goals, scored on an odd-man rush and then connected on a one-timer, while Smith (10 goals) sent a shot from his own blueline into the empty net to help the Elis register a season-high for goals.
The Blue is on the road next weekend to take on Cornell and Colgate before finishing the regular season at home with Dartmouth and Harvard.
By Steve Conn, Yale Associate AD/Sports Publicity Director