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Smith's OT Goal Gives Yale 4-3 Win over ASU

Evan Smith ends the game in OT on this shot (Steve Musco image)
Evan Smith ends the game in OT on this shot (Steve Musco image)

Elis Get 2nd Straight OT Win


NEW HAVEN, Conn. – Outshooting a team 56-27 doesn't always lead to an easy win. Sometimes the "W" even goes to the team with fewer shots, unless you are the Yale men's hockey team in a weekend series against Arizona State. For the second straight night, the Bulldogs found the net in overtime after dominating offensive chances. Evan Smith went top shelf at the 2:55 mark of the extra session to give his team a 4-3 win over the Sun Devils at Ingalls Rink.


Smith's sixth goal of the year and second game-winner came after he skated the puck almost the length of the ice and then fired a rising wrister near side that moved Yale's record to 11-11-1 on the year heading into the conference stretch run.


"Dante [Palecco] made a great play off the boards to chip it to me," said Smith, who started sprinting up the ice when he saw Billy Sweezey move the puck over to Palecco. "I just drove hard to the net and chipped it in… nothing special. It was kind of lucky, just trying to get it on net."


The four goals tonight didn't come easily. ASU goalie Joey Daccord made 22 straight saves – including a half dozen grade-A stops - before the Blue broke through with 5:38 left in the first. Sophomore Will D'Orsi, who did a nice spin move in the left circle, fired a shot off the goalie's pads before junior Charlie Curti swooped in from the blueline and flicked the rebound over the second-year netminder for the game's first score.


The Sun Devils, who had seven shots in the first, evened things before the intermission on a slapshot from the point that bounced off a Yale stick and through traffic to find the cage.


The Bulldogs had a 14-6 edge in shots during a scoreless second that included plenty of action. Eli sophomore Corbin Kaczperski (24 saves) made a top-notch save on Tyler Bush's breakaway midway through the frame, while Daccord was very busy, knocking aside shots from all angles.


Keith Allain '80, Yale's Malcolm G. Chace Head Coach, was asked about the disparity in shots – without a ton of scoring - and its effect on his team.


"It's a testament to their toughness," said the Eli mentor. "They did not stop playing or doing the right things. It was a great weekend even though we didn't have the offensive success we wanted to have. They fought through it."


The home team scored on a power play to take a 2-1 lead early in the third when Luke Stevens fired a rising wrister top shelf,  but the Elis gave up a short-hander almost two minutes later.


Yale rookie blueliner Brian Matthews made his first collegiate tally a memorable one when his slap shot from the top of the left circle with 9:10 left made it 3-2. That lead lasted a little longer, but the Devils were not going away easily.  The visitors tallied the final equalizer with 4:12 left in regulation and then got a power play attempt that could have sent them home with a split.


Stevens' penalty with 1:37 left carried into the extra session, but the Bulldogs never really allowed ASU to feel like it had an advantage. No shots reached Kaczperski until early in the OT.


The Bulldogs beat the Sun Devils 3-2 in OT on Joe Snively's goal Friday night while having a 46-25 advantage in shots. Yale is hoping the non-conference set will pay dividends for the remainder of the season.


"Playing the same team back-to-back is good. It's like a playoff weekend," said Allain.



Yale attempted 100 shots tonight and had 56 on target… The Elis had an amazing four unassisted goals this weekend… All three Yale goals on Friday were unassisted, a very unlikely occurrence… This weekend in ECAC Hockey features a concussion awareness focus through the Headway Foundation… Tonight was the last game for head coach Keith Allain before he heads to the Winter Olympic Games. The U.S. Olympic Hockey Team, with 4 Elis on the roster, open play in South Korea on Feb. 14 vs. Slovenia at 7:10 AM ET on NBCSN... ASU forward Brett Gruber, who had two assists tonight, is the son of former Yale skater Chris Gruber '91... Speaking of former Elis, Randy Wood '86 may be the only one who has had a son play in the NHL (Miles Wood, New Jersey Devils).



By Steve Conn, Yale Associate AD/Sports Publicity Director –