It was too little too late for the Bulldogs on Friday night.
Despite a goal from left winger Denny Kearney ’11 with 37.7 seconds left in the game, the No. 6 men’s hockey team lost 3–2 to Brown in the first game of the ECAC Tournament quarterfinals.
Yale must now win on Saturday to avoid elimination and force a third game on Sunday. A loss in the quarterfinal could put Yale’s NCAA Tournament at-large bid in serious jeopardy. Yale is currently ninth in the USCHO PairWise rankings.
“It came down to them outworking us the whole game,” defenseman Tom Dignard ’10 said. “They got the bounces, and that’s what happens a team outworks you in playoffs.”
After a scoreless first period, the Bears leapt out to a 1-0 on a goal that few saw coming.
Seven seconds into the second period, Jeff Buvinow’s shot from near center-ice went five-hole past Yale goaltender Billy Blase ’10.
“It’s hard to defend a shot from the red-line,” Yale head coach Keith Allain ’80 said.
Blase said that he saw the puck the whole way, but it took a bad bounce.
The Bears quickly made it 2-0, one minute later, after putting in a shot that rebounded off of the boards behind the Yale net.
Neither team scored for the rest of the second period, although Yale certainly had its chances. With seven minutes left in the second frame, right winger Broc Little ’11 made a diving shot in front of the goal. The puck got past Brown sophomore goaltender Michael Clemente, but hit the inside of the left pipe and bounced out.
Yale got its first goal five minutes into the game on a power play that saw left winger Brian O’Neill ’12 make a nice pass to a crashing Dignard.
One minute later, though, the Bears scored their third of the night off of an odd-man-rush, making it 3–1.
The Elis had a big opportunity to stage a comeback midway through the third period when they were awarded a five minute power play after Little was hit from behind and sent crashing head first into the boards.
Center Mark Arcobello ’10, however, was called for holding 50 seconds into the power play, wiping off two minutes from their advantage.
“They took us off the major [misconduct penalty],” Allain said. “I obviously didn’t like that call. It pushed us back.”
Allain pulled Blase with 1:12 remaining, and Kearney tipped in a shot from Dignard to make it 3–2.
With the crowd on its feet, the Bulldogs were never able to get the equalizer. After a few frantic shots in front of Clemente, the Bears were able to clear the puck with 10 seconds left and end the game.
Clemente finished with 37 saves for Brown.
“[Clemente] was unbelievable last weekend [against RPI], he was great tonight, he is in a zone,” Brown head coach Brendan Whittet said. “He’s our best player.”
Probably because it is spring break, this was the first time in eight games that Ingalls Rink was not sold out. Attendance was listed as 2,851, short of the 3,500 capacity the Whale normally holds.
“[Brown] played the way they had to play to win,” Allain said. “I expect us to be better tomorrow night.”
Saturday’s game begins at 7 p.m. at Ingalls Rink.