The No. 12 Bulldogs cast aside the disappointment of getting just one point last weekend, bouncing back to beat rival No. 3 Cornell 4–2 at home Friday and earning a hard-fought 3–3 tie against Colgate Saturday.
Yale (2–1–1, 1–1–1 ECAC Hockey) opened conference play in the newly renovated Ingalls Rink against a Cornell team (3–1, 2–1) ranked third in last Monday’s USCHO.com Division I Men’s poll. It looked as though Yale’s three victories over Cornell last season might be but a distant memory as the Bulldogs found themselves down 1–0 after just over two minutes in Friday’s game. Big Red captain Colin Greening put the visitors ahead on a power play, silencing the sold-out home crowd.
But the first period turned out to be a strong one for the Bulldogs as they notched 22 shots on goal to Cornell’s five. The shots rained down on Cornell goalie Ben Scrivens early in the game, but the home crowd grew noticeably restless as Yale was unable to find the net.
At 8:42, the barrage of shots paid off when forward Mark Arcobello ’10 got the equalizing goal, faking a shot and then sliding the puck past Scrivens.
Head coach Keith Allain said after the game that he was pleased with the energy his side showed in the opening minutes and that he hopes the Bulldogs make a habit of bursting out off the starting block.
But the Big Red took the lead again at 12:06 in the first period as Nick D’Agostino pounced on a rebound off an initial save by Yale goaltender Nick Maricic ’13. It was a huge stage for Maricic to make his collegiate debut, and the freshman seemed a little shaky in the opening minutes. He appeared to grow in confidence throughout the game, though, making a total of 25 saves in the night.
“It was exciting,” Maricic said. “I’ve been looking forward to being here for a long time. There was a little bit of the first game jitters, but I felt more comfortable as the game went on.”
The Bulldogs came from behind again when forward Broc Little ’11 picked up a high pass from linemate Denny Kearney ’11 and slotted the puck home with less than a minute left in the period, tying the game 2–2.
The teams continued to spar in the second period. The Big Red out-shot the Bulldogs, but there were no further goals in the period.
Yale fans were on the edge of their seats when Little went to the penalty box for hooking, with forward Josh Balch ’13 already penalized for grasping the facemask of a Cornell player. The Bulldogs had to play two men down for 1:14, but managed to overcome the five-on-three situation. Arcobello said he thought the game swung in Yale’s favor after that penalty kill.
Five minutes later, center Brendan Mason ’11 cemented the comeback with a bullet of a wrist-shot to fire Yale into a 3–2 lead. Forward Brian O’Neill ’12 drew a pair of Cornell defenders before leaving a trailing Mason with the puck for an open shot.
“The two defensemen criss-crossed and gave me the chance for a screen shot,” Mason said. “I fired a quick shot that caught Scrivens by surprise.”
O’Neill put the game out of reach with an empty net goal with 20 seconds left on the clock. At the buzzer, Maricic was mobbed by his team as they celebrated their 4–2 win over the Big Red.
The Bulldogs returned to the ice 24 hours later to take on Colgate (5–2–4, 3–0–1). They found themselves down 2-0 in the first period before O’Neill pulled one back at 8:59 in the second. Little and forward Kearney combined set up O’Neill, who faked a shot and slid the puck past the Colgate goalie with a backhand flick.
Yale fell further behind two minutes later as Robbie Bourdon extended the away squad’s lead to 3–1.
But Yale got a goal back moments later from forward Sean Backman ’10.
“I didn’t like our start, but we played pretty well after that,” Allain said in a press release. “We stick with our plan pretty well. There are some guys in that [locker] room who play better with their backs against the wall.”
Yale looked destined for defeat until defenseman Tom Dignard ’10 marked his return from injury with a game-tying slap-shot at 11:53 in the final period. Dignard picked the puck up on the blue line ,and with no one closing him down, unleashed an unstoppable shot just inside the left post. This took the game to overtime, but neither team could break the deadlock.
The Bulldogs host No. 14 UMass on Thursday evening at Ingalls Rink at 7 p.m..