April 7, 2012

Bulldogs Make It 3 Straight Wins

Yale Wins 13-11 at Dartmouth

HANOVER, N.H. – The Yale men's lacrosse team features a bevy of offensive weapons. If you try to stop one or two guys, others will step up to put pressure on opposing goalies. Today, eight different Bulldogs hit the net as they erased an early deficit and exploded for a 13-11 win over Dartmouth in a crucial Ivy League contest at Scully-Fahey Field.

The Bulldogs (5-4, 2-2), who have won three straight games, needed the win to remain among the top four teams in the league, looking for one of the spots in next month's Ivy Tournament.  

Senior attackman Matt Gibson led all scorers with four goals off eight shots taken. He spread them out over the last three quarters and also picked up three ground balls.

"I just kept shooting. They have a really good goalie, so I knew he was going to make some saves and he was kind of getting the better of me in the first half," said Gibson, who leads the team with 17 goals and 30 points." I just kept shooting the ball, shooting how the coaches told us to shoot and eventually I put a couple in after he had stopped me like three or four times in the first half."

Most of the other Yale offensive contributions came from Deron Dempster and Conrad Oberbeck, who each had two goals and three points.

"Any Ivy League win is huge. These guys (Dartmouth) were very tough today and they battled," said Yale head coach Andy Shay. "They jumped on us and we definitely responded.  I'm very impressed with how we responded."

Dartmouth (2-7, 0-3) jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the first four minutes and kept the Blue off the scoreboard until there were 53 seconds left in the quarter.  That's when Yale senior Matt Miller began the scoring barrage with the first of three straight visitor tallies.

"It was great (Miller's goal). It did feel like we were facing a serious uphill battle, and that kind of broke the seal for us a little bit and got us moving," said Shay.

Six different Bulldogs beat Big Green goalie Fergus Campbell (9 saves) over the next 14 minutes as Yale went from a 3-0 deficit to a 6-4 lead while outshooting the home team 15-6 in the second frame.

 Yale came out on top in all the statistical comparisons including shots (40-29), ground balls (31-25) and extra-man tallies (3-1), but the most important numbers came from the X. The Elis won 18 of the 28 face-offs led by Dylan Levings, who came into the week ranked No. 3 in the nation and captured 12 of the 17 battles today.

The visitor's superiority in picking up balls today stemmed from the leadership of Yale captain Michael Pratt, who was all over the field making plays and had a game-high seven ground balls. He became the seventh Bulldog to tally a goal early in the third that put his squad up 7-5.

"This win is huge for us," said Pratt.  "It gets us over 500, which is mentally a good place to be, and it gets us to 2-2 in the Ivy League with 2 to go. We want to get to  4-2 and get a chance to get into the Ivy League tournament, so this gets us one step closer to that."

Late in the third the Blue started a four-goal run that ended at 10:53 of the fourth and essentially put the game away at 11-6.

Yale's defensive effort should not be overlooked in the keys to today's victory. Sophomore goalie Jack Meyer stopped five shots to earn his third straight win in net, while defenseman Michael McCormack (in photo) notched a game-best five caused turnovers.

"We changed our game plan a little," said McCormack.  "We started to get out on hands more in the second half.  We caused some turnovers, forced them to do things that they didn't want to do.  And then we were just killing it off the ground.  Mike Pratt did really well off the ground."

Yale has proven its ability to fight off early adversity and get back into games. This was a crucial time to show it again.

"We started out a little slow.  We gave up three quick ones and I think just getting it to 3-2 before the end of the first quarter, and then getting the lead was just big mentally," said Pratt.  "It just showed that we could go down and come back and not be worried about it, so I think just fighting back there at the end of the first quarter was huge for us." 

The Bulldogs have a chance to make it four straight wins when they travel to Brown next Friday night.

 

Filed by Steve Conn, Yale Sports Publicity Director