Jan. 9, 2009
HANOVER, N.H. - Alec Richards won the battle of hot netminders with 29 stops as the Yale men's hockey team knocked off No. 15 Dartmouth 2-1 before 3,709 at Thompson Arena in ECAC Hockey action.
Despite going 0-for-5 on the power play, Yale won for a third straight time over a ranked team and moved to 10-4 overall and 5-2 in ECAC Hockey.
Richards, the senior, saw most of the action in the other end with the Elis putting a season-high 55 shots on net compared to 30 by the Big Green (9-6, 6-4). But Richards, who held the home team scoreless on five man-advantages, had to come up big with Dartmouth on the power play for the last 3:17.
"I was just trying to see through the traffic, come up with saves and cover everything," said Richards reflecting on the last three minutes of penalty killing. "Luckily they didn't get many shots through at the end. We did a good job blocking shots. We played 60 strong minutes tonight."
Jody O'Neill, the Dartmouth freshman goalie sensation, had a career-high 53 saves a game after blanking Princeton in New Jersey. Broc Little and Brian O'Neill were the only visitors to solve the hot rookie netminder.
"That was a great college hockey game with two teams putting everything on the line," said Keith Allain '80, Yale's Malcolm G. Chace Head Coach of Hockey. "Dartmouth is a good team with a great goalie."
The Bulldogs dominated the first 20 minutes by outshooting the Green by an amazing 26-11 but could have easily been down going to the first intermission.
Little took a loose puck at mid ice and raced over the blueline with a 2-on-1 and an open winger on the left. Little held the puck and the Dartmouth goalie did not move over to consider Denny Kearney barreling in on the opposite side. Little (9th goal) still decided to try and tuck the puck between O'Neill's legs. The puck trickled through and sat near the goal line before Little pushed it over at 18:20 for the period's only tally.
"Our quickness up front had a lot to do with that production in the first period," said Allain. "The penalties in the second took us out of that flow and gave Dartmouth the momentum."
It was a huge goal for the Blue after buzzing the home team's net all period. The Elis needed something to show for it, especially against a team that had won six of seven when notching the game's first goal.
Yale increased the lead to 2-0 with the classic shoot-and-crash plan. Sean Backman whizzed around a defenseman in the Dartmouth end and fired a low shot that bounced off O'Neill's pads and out to the opposite side. O'Neill knew there was a good chance for a rebound and high-tailed it toward the far post. The rookie forward snapped back the rebound under the goalie's blocker at 12:13 for his fourth career goal.
Dartmouth finally got a break less than two minutes later and cashed in to cut the margin in half. With the teams skating 4-on-4, Doug Jones backhanded a fluttering shot toward the net that Richards was unable to glove. Andrew Owsiak (6th) was there on the doorstep to slap it into the back of the net at 13:47.
Richards and the defense took over from there.
The Bulldogs are back in action Saturday night at the Bright Center with a 7:00 faceoff against Harvard.
Report filed by Steve Conn, Yale Associate AD and Sports Publicity Director