Jan. 31, 2009
NEW HAVEN, Conn. - The Yale men's hockey team has not seen first place in February in 11 years. A convincing 3-0 ECAC win over Quinnipiac, thanks to 31 saves and a shutout from Alec Richards before an Ingalls Rink sellout, put the Bulldogs in that position tonight.
Yale (15-5-1, 10-3-1 ECAC), outshot for just the second time this year, 31-28, increased its win streak to four and its unbeaten string to five by scoring twice in the second and adding the capper in the final frame. The Elis also snapped a five-game skid against the Bobcats (14-10-2, 7-5-2) by blanking the visitors on eight power plays and limiting them to just seven shots on goal during that time.
The penalty-filled (74 minutes) affair included Yale going 0-for-9 with the man-advantage, but Bulldogs Patrick Brosnihan, Mark Arcobello and Broc Little tallied to put them in a first-place tie (21 points) with Cornell, the first time Yale has been on top in the conference in February since 1998.
Richards, who stopped 32 of 33 shots last night in a 3-1 win over No. 9 Princeton, increased his save total each period against the Cats to record his second shutout of the year.
"Our goaltending was outstanding and we did a great job overall defensively," said Keith Allain '80, Yale's Malcolm G. Chace Head Coach of Hockey. "This [Yale] team has some speed and some skill and we absolutely compete our fannies off."
Dan Clarke, who did a great job stopping Yale's power play, finished with 25 saves.
Both teams put nine shots on target in a scoreless first period that included few grade-A chances. Richards needed a good save on an early 2-on-1 rush, but had to come up with a top-level stop on a short breakaway by Zach Hansen late in the frame.
"The hard work is starting to pay off," said Richards, who stopped 63 of 64 shots this weekend and should be a lock for conference goalie of the week honors. "Coach really stressed goaltending and defense this week."
"Al was like a wall out there this weekend," said Brosnihan.
The Blue had one solid chance in the first. Denny Kearney sent a lead pass that Broc Little and a Bobcat defenseman raced to get. Little won the sprint and got a shot off as he was pulled down, drawing Yale`s first man-advantage, which a Bulldog penalty canceled just 26 seconds in.
Yale could not find success on a pair of power-play opportunities early in the second but still managed to grab the lead. Brosnihan one-timed a crossing feed from the boards that snuck past Clarke at 3:43. Charles Brockett took a feed from Chad Ziegler in the corner and wheeled to find his linemate open in eight feet inside the blueline. Brosnihan (3rd goal) snapped off a riser that went over Clarke's right shoulder to give Yale a 1-0 lead.
Brosnihan was particularly happy to get two points against the local rival and felt like home ice helped. "It's nice to finally get a win over them," said Brosnihan. "It's been tough for my class against them. This is the best atmosphere at Ingalls in my four years."
The Elis scored three of their four goals on 4-on-4 at Cornell last weekend. Their second goal, a little more than nine minutes after the first, came the same way to make it 2-0. Sean Backman's shot was blocked, but the Eli junior recovered the puck and sent a crossing feed to Arcobello, who had space in the high slot. Arcobello, who crossed over a few steps toward the center, blasted a low slapshot that went stickside and just inside the left post on Clarke.
The hitting, especially on the visitor's side after the second tally, over the last seven minutes of the second period got a little out of hand, before and after the whistle. Eight penalties were called including a pair of matching 10-minute misconducts, but nothing came of them.
A great individual effort by by Little made the score 3-0 at 11:18 of the third. The sophomore forward skated in over the blueline and angled to the left circle with a winger off the crease. Little (12th) kept it and cruised toward the center of the low slot before feathering a low backhander through Clarke's legs.
The Bulldogs, who played in front of their second straight sellout at Ingalls tonight, are back at home next weekend to face Harvard and Dartmouth.
Recap filed by Steve Conn, Yale Associate AD & Sports Publicity Director
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