After their 3–2 lost to ECAC bottomfeeders Harvard on Tuesday, the Bulldogs said the team would be going into their upcoming game against Brown with some extra motivation. And eight goals later, they made a statement.
In their first game of the new year at Ingall’s Rink, the Bulldogs (10–4–3, 6–2–2 ECAC) defeated the Bears (5–11–1, 3–6–1) 8–5 in a shootout that was close until the end.
After his team went only one for five on the power play against the Crimson, head coach Keith Allain ’80 says he made personnel changes over the course of the week to improve the Bulldog power play. And it worked. The Elis capitalized on five of eight man-advantages against the Bears, while seven different players scored for the Bulldogs.
“If that doesn’t please you, nothing will,” head coach Keith Allain ’80 said of the scoring spread. “Anytime you can get scoring from all of your lines, that’s great for a hockey team.”
Brown had the first score in what would be the highest-scoring game the Elis have played all season so far.
After Brown took the lead, thanks to a breakaway shorthanded goal from Jordan Pietrus at 6:37 in the first, the Elis, who were still on the same power play, answered only 12 seconds later with a goal from left winger Jeff Anderson ’11. Right defenseman Tom Dignard ’10 then found a cutting right winger Broc Little ’11 on the right circle with a pinpoint pass, as the junior forward gave the home team the lead with another power play goal at 14:21.
The two teams traded goals early in the second period to give Yale the 3–2 lead.
At 13:26 in the second, center Brendan Mason ’11 took advantage of a scramble in front of the Brown net and put the puck past Bear netminder Mike Clemente, who had fallen to the ice amid the confusion, to double Yale’s advantage.
But Brown was not going to let up. Brown center Devin Timberlake rebounded his own shot on the power play and scored the goal to put the Bears back within one goal.
“[Brown] was a tough, hard, physical team that wasn’t going to quit,” Allain said.
Center Mark Arcobello ’10 scored on a long slapshot to extend the Elis’ lead back to two with a little more than a minute remaining in the period, but in the spirit of the shootout, Brown’s Jack Maclellan answered just 35 seconds later. Yale goaltender Jeff Malcolm ’13 initially blocked Maclellan’s shot, but it bounced over his shoulders and fell behind his back into the goal for the sixth goal of the period.
But by the third period, it seemed as though Brown’s offense ran out of gas. Brown’s Aaron Volpatti responded to a goal from Yale center Chad Ziegler ’12 midway through the third period, but that would be the last goal for Brown of the game.
Right winger Sean Backman ’10 took a behind-the-back pass from Arcobello and scored a goal from the left circle with 3:44 remaining in regulation. Little assured victory for the Bulldogs with an empty net goal with 49 seconds left in the game after Brown had pulled its goalie.
“We were getting away from [keeping it simple] too much [against Harvard],” left defenseman and captain Ryan Donald ’10 said about Tuesday’s loss. “That’s something we focused on tonight.”
Although the nation’s highest scoring offense matched its highest output of the season, the five goals conceded by the Eli defense also ties their season high. They had given up five goals on two occasions prior to Saturday’s game, including in a 6–5 overtime win against the Bears on Nov. 21.
“We need to be better defensively than what we played tonight,” Donald said.
The victory was Yale’s 11th-straight against the Bears, and boosted the team up from fourth to third place in the ECAC standings. And despite the loss against the Crimson, the Bulldogs only fell from No. 5 to No. 6 in the USCHO.com D-I Men’s Poll.
“Every team in the league is going to be good,” Malcolm said. “You just gotta come together as a team and win.”
The Bulldogs are on the road again next week to upstate New York to face Clarkson on Friday and St. Lawrence on Saturday.