M. HOCKEY | Men’s hockey wins

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Photo by Zoe Gorman.

Last season’s highest scoring team in the nation lived up to its billing on Friday night.

Forward Denny Kearney ’11 notched a hat trick as the men’s hockey team recorded a season-opening 7-4 win against Brown. After a six-goal first period that left the Bulldogs (1–0) and Bears (0–1) tied at three, the Blue settled in and rallied in the first round of the Ivy Shootout at Ingalls Rink.

“I was pleased with lots of things,” head coach Keith Allain ’80 said. “I thought we showed some real toughness.”

Yale controlled the pace of the first nine minutes of the game — preventing the Bears from taking any shots on goal, and peppering Brown goaltender Mike Clemente with shots on two early power plays. But the Bulldogs could not find the back of the net until forward Jesse Root ’14 was sent off for hooking.

Broc Little ’11, who led the country last year in goals per game, intercepted a Brown pass with the Elis still on penalty kill, and sent the puck to Denny Kearney ’11 as the left winger bore down on the net. Clemente turned aside Kearney’s shot, but Little jumped on the rebound to score a shorthanded goal at 8:50 of the first period.

But the Bears didn’t take long to respond. Just 31 seconds later, with Root still in the penalty box, Brown’s Dennis Robertson rifled the Bears’ first shot of the game just past the outstretched leg of Jeff Malcolm ’13 to tie the game at one.

The goals and penalties kept coming. Forward Chris Cahill ’11 was assigned three penalties after bulldozing Clemente at 9:51 in the period. Defenseman Colin Dueck ’13 was sent off for tripping only 18 seconds later. Brown made the most of its five-on-three advantages, scoring two one-timers from the left slot and making the score 3–1 before Yale returned to even strength.

But the Elis capped the six-goal, 10-penalty period with two scores of their own. Defenseman Kevin Peel ’12 one-timed a pass from Mike Matczak ’11 inside the far post and past Clemente on the power play with 17:14 left in the period. Twenty-one seconds later, Kearney earned the first point of his big night when he intercepted a Brown pass and wrested it over Clemente’s shoulder.

Yale took the lead in the fifth minute of the second frame when Kearney notched his second goal off a feed from Little. The Bears nearly evened things up at 8:09, when Yale goaltender Jeff Malcolm ’13 let the puck slip from his glove. Brown rushed in, but failed to capitalize in the scramble.

Clemente deflected a shot by center Andrew Miller ’13 in the 11th minute, but seconds later Kearney completed his trio of goals when he poked in a low shot from outside the left circle at 10:47. All three of Kearney’s goals came at even strength.

Left winger Brian O’Neill ’12 extended Yale’s lead to 6–3 with a power-play goal at 16:27. The forward took a cross Miller sent from the left circle and dived to tap in the puck from inches outside the net.

The Bears temporarily regained momentum at the start of the third period, with defenseman Jeff Buvinow capitalizing on a power play less than a minute after intermission. A series of penalties called on Yale continued to keep the Elis on penalty kill for much of the frame. But unlike in the first period, the Blue effectively shut down Brown’s attackers — repeatedly clearing the puck from the Yale zone — to keep the visitors from rallying.

“Our penalty kill we definitely need to work on a little,” Allain said, noting that all four Brown goals on Friday came when Yale was down players. “It’s a hard thing to work on in practice. You’ve got to get out and experience it. I think we got better as the game went along.”

In between penalties, O’Neill capitalized once more to give his team some cushioning and the 7–4 score that would be the final tally. O’Neill scored from the slot at 7:29, settling a pass from forward Chad Ziegler ’12 and flicking a low wrister into the net.

Yale outshot Brown 15–5 in the final frame, and 40–20 during the game. Malcolm finished with 16 saves to Clemente’s 33.

The Elis will take on Dartmouth, who beat Princeton 2–1 on Friday, at 7 p.m. tonight from Ingalls Rink. Ivy Shootout games count toward overall records and national rankings, but do not affect ECAC or Ivy League standings.

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