Jan. 23, 2009
ITHACA, NY - The Yale men's hockey team, an amazing 5-1 against ranked teams this season, registered one of its greatest wins ever by skating past No. 3 Cornell 4-3 before a packed Lynah Rink in ECAC Hockey action. The win snapped the Big Red's 10-game unbeaten streak and gave the Blue its first win at Ithaca since 1999.
Four different Bulldogs scored goals as the visitors outshot the Red 36-20. Brendan Mason had a goal and two assists before leaving the game with an injury in the third period. The other goals came from Jeff Anderson, Tom Dignard and Mark Arcobello on a night when the Elis (12-5-1, 7-3-1) went 1-for-4 with the man advantage.
Sophomore goalie Ryan Rondeau, playing for the first time since Jan. 4, stopped 17 of 20 shots while keeping the home team off the board on seven of eight power plays. Cornell's Ben Scrivens, the nation's leading goalie in goals against and save percentage, made 32 saves on a night when he was very fortunate to have only surrendered four goals.
Cornell (13-2-3, 8-1-2), No. 1 in the PairWise Rankings, fell at home for the first time since March 18, 2008. It was also the Red's first conference loss of the year.
"I thought our mental toughness was the difference tonight," said Keith Allain '80, Yale's Malcolm G. Chace Head Coach of Hockey. "We fought through adversity and found a way to be successful in a tough environment."
The first three power-play chances went to the home team, but the visitors were the ones to cash in. Yale, 5-1-1 over the last seven, did not allow the Big Red special teams to put many shots on Rondeau with those three attempts, while the Elis lit the lamp in their first try.
Mason won the draw in the left circle and got the puck back to Matt Nelson at the top. Nelson fired a low shot at Scrivens and a rare rebound came out along the edge of the crease on the opposite side. Anderson got to it first and jammed it inside the right post on the ice with one tick left on the advantage for his third goal of the year at 16:52.
That was the only goal in a first period that had the Blue outshooting the Red 7-6.
Despite being down a goal, Cornell got what it wanted in the first period, a wrestling match. The four-goal second period was played like a track meet, exactly what the Bulldogs were hoping for. Yale really took advantage of its edge in speed, especially on 4-on-4, to outshoot the Red 18-6 in the frame.
Cornell didn't waste any time in grabbing the momentum in the second. Jared Seminoff's shot from the blueline tipped a Yale stick and flew over Rondeau's right shoulder 90 seconds in to even things at 1-1.
Chris Cahill's effort in the defensive zone on a 4-on-4 helped the Blue grab the lead again at 4:15 of the second. The junior winger stole the puck from a defender and raced down the put a shot on Scrivens. The puck bounced off the goalie's pad and came to Dignard, who was in the middle of the slot. The Eli junior blueliner deked left and went right before backhanding a rising shot over the fallen netminder to make it 2-1.
"Two guys were on Cahill and I had a feeling the puck was going to bounce out. The goalie jumped out at me," said Dignard. "I got lucky because my shot hit the post and then went in."
The Yale lead lasted exactly seven minutes before the home squad notched its first power play score. Riley Nash banged home a rebound at 11:15 to make it 2-2. This man-advantage was the result of a strange goalie charging call on Yale's Brian O'Neill, who put the puck past Scrivens and then watched one of the referees blow the whistle and call the Bulldog rookie for knocking the puck out of the goalie's grasp.
The Elis, who were buzzing around the Big Red and getting all kinds of grade-A chances, picked Cornell's pockets numerous times to test the nation's best goalie. The buzzing paid off when Yale notched its third goal of the night. Mason, on a 4-on-4, stole a puck at his own blueline and went the distance with Brendon Nash on his back. Mason deked out Scrivens and tucked it over the Red netminder at 13:38.
"It was great to get offensive contributions from four different players," said Allain, who won for the first time against Cornell. "It was exciting to get three goals with 4-on-4 hockey. Our penalty-kill also deserves a huge amount of credit."
Yale made it two straight and got a two-goal cushion at 9:11 by taking advantage of yet another 4-on-4 situation. O'Neill and Arcobello raced up the ice with an odd-man rush. O'Neill flicked a shot that was saved but the rebound came out along the crease. Arcobello managed to get his stick on it and tap it past Scrivens.
The majority of the play from then on came in the Yale end. With 2:40 left, Scrivens was pulled for an extra skater. After three or four quality stops by Rondeau, Brendon Nash's long slap shot from the point found its way through traffic to cut the lead to one with 20 seconds left. That was the last shot Cornell could manage.
"The guys did a great job of keeping them to the outside all night, limiting the shots and preventing passes from going through the slot," said Rondeau, who earned his second career road win. "It was obvious they [Cornell] were going to turn it on late. When they got a shot, the defense made sure I could see it and then they cleared all the rebounds."
Report filed by Steve Conn, Yale Associate AD and Sports Publicity Director