M. HOCKEY | Power plays boost Elis

It was a week of comebacks for the men’s hockey team.

After falling to Alabama-Huntsville (2-5-1) 1-0 at home Nov. 21, Yale (7-2, 3-1 ECAC) bounced back the next night in impressive fashion with a 6-2 victory over the Chargers after having fallen to an early 1-0 deficit. The Elis also came back from a 2-1 second period deficit on their way to 4-3 win against Brown (0-5-2, 0-3-2) on Nov. 25 in Providence, R.I.

Right winger Sean Backman ’10 led the Bulldogs in scoring with four combined goals in the three games played. He now leads the team with eight goals on the season.

Goaltender Ryan Rondeau ’11 made 15 saves in net in the 1-0 loss to University of Alabama at Huntsville on Friday, while fellow netminder Alec Richards ’09 had 39 combined stops in the two victories.

Yet the story for the Bulldogs was the way they dominated their opponents in shots. In the three combined games, Yale outshot their opponents 113-60.

Things did not get off to a good start in the first game against UAH, as the Elis discovered that outshooting their opponents would not always guarantee victory.

The Chargers scored the game’s lone goal midway through the third period while Yale was on the power play. After the entire Bulldog team was caught up looking to find the lead, the puck was played out by UAH defenseman Brennan Barker. Joe Federoff received the puck behind the Yale defense, and finished the breakaway opportunity with 9:41 left in the period. The Bulldogs ended up outshooting the visitors 33-16, but were unable to get the puck past UAH netminder Cameron Talbot.

“I thought we played hard,” head coach Keith Allain said in a news release. “And I thought we played well enough to win.”

Yale came back with a vengeance in the second game and made their dominance on offense pay off. The Bulldogs were able to keep the puck in the offensive third for much of the game, and often looked like they were on the power play during even strength situations.

The difference in the number of goals the Elis converted between the two games came down to determination, according to head coach Keith Allain.

“We played a good game in terms of creating offensive opportunities,” he said. “We were a little bit more determined tonight and had a little more focus on offense.”

The Bulldogs conceded a power play goal only 1:03 into the game when Matt Sweazy one-timed a centering cross from Tom Durnie past Richards. Durnie had faked a slapper from inside the blue line on the right side of the ice, only to find Sweazy open near the left side of Yale’s net.

Despite the early deficit, the Bulldogs always looked in control, and it was only a matter of time until they converted their chances into goals.

Right winger Broc Little ’11 tied the contest up with 7:45 left on a beautiful 2-2 during a UAH power play. Little and left winger Denny Kearney ’11 worked a give-and-go to perfection on the left side of the ice, giving Little a one-on-one with UAH’s Blake MacNicol. Little went across the mouth of the goal before sliding the puck inside the right post and past MacNicol’s left glove.

Backman gave the home team the lead with less than five minutes left in the period on a top shelf slapper on the power play.

A four-goal offensive explosion by the Bulldogs in the second period gave them a considerable amount of breathing room. They would never look back. Backman, along with center Mark Arcobello ’10, right winger Patrick Brosnihan ’09 and left defenseman Tom Dignard ’10 all had goals in the period.

The Chargers got a goal back with less than two minutes remaining in the period, but a scoreless third period gave the home team a solid win.

Despite the split, Backman was happy with how the team bounced back from their loss in game one.

“Although we did split, we ended on a good note,” he said. “We’re happy with tonight.”

Three days later, the Bulldogs once again dominated Brown for their third win against the Bears this season. Yale has now won the last seven contests against Brown.

The Elis outshot the home squad 44-22, but it was the second period — in which they were outshot 9-8 — that made the difference. Trailing 2-1, right defenseman Nick Jaskowiak ’12 wristed a rebound into the net midway through the period on the power play. After fellow defenseman Kevin Peel ’12 had his shot from the left point saved by Brown netminder Dan Rosen, Jaskowiak grabbed the rebound near the right circle and quickly wristed a shot into the open right side of the net.

Another power play goal with only 3.8 seconds left in the period gave the away team their first lead of the night. Backman took a feed from Kearney on the power play and blasted a low slapper past Rosen from the left point.

After Brown tied things up with 5:56 left in the third period, right defenseman Jimmy Martin ’11 scored the game winner a little more than a minute later. The Bulldogs once again scored from the left point, with Martin’s shot finding its way past Rosen on the near post.

By converting three of eight power play chances, the Bulldogs were able to revive their power play, which had only netted one goal in 11 man-up situations in their previous two games.

“We got our power play on track tonight,” Kearney said in a news release. “It has not been as productive as it can be.”

The Bulldogs sit in fifth place in ECAC standings, yet have still played fewer conference games than most of the other teams. They will be able to improve on their position this weekend when they welcome Rensselaer and Union to Ingalls Rink on Friday and Saturday, respectively.

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