Dartmouth could only keep up for so long.
The Big Green held Yale to a single goal in the first period, and only two in the second. But they ran out of steam in the final frame, and Yale netted four unanswered goals — including three within two and a half minutes of each other — to put the game out of reach.
After that scoring barrage, Yale held on to defeat Dartmouth, 7–3 and captured the season-opening Ivy Shootout with their second consecutive seven-goal effort. The victory was the Bulldogs’ second of the weekend, and also the second in which they overcame a rocky first period to take control of the game.
Friday night’s first period was full of penalties and special teams goals on both sides. Saturday night’s was the opposite. Neither team was able to generate long possessions in the opposing end on offense or create many chances in the opening frame, despite three power plays each.
It was Dartmouth that drew first blood, when a loose puck bounced away from left wing Nick Walsh to wide-open center Jason Bourgea on the other side of the net. Yale goalkeeper Ryan Rondeau ’11 couldn’t move across the goal in time, and Dartmouth had a 1-0 lead.
It took the Bulldogs eight minutes to even the score. Hanover native Denny Kearney ’11 — a game removed from a natural hat trick — slid a cross-ice pass to right wing Broc Little ’11, who lifted a shot past the glove of Dartmouth goalie Jody O’Neill.
Dartmouth headed into the locker room after the first period with a 12–11 advantage in shots, but the Bulldogs made sure that did not happen again. Although the visitors took the lead again four minutes into the second period when Scott Fleming tapped in a rebound, the game was all Yale’s after that. The next six goals would all belong to the Bulldogs.
The comeback started with Little. Kevin Limbert ’12 found the streaking right wing in stride as he cut in alone on goal. Little tried to make a move, but Dartmouth defenseman Mike Keenan pulled him down from behind. The referees immediately signaled for a penalty shot.
Little made the most of his free chance to tie the game at two. He skated slowly in on Jody O’Neill, deked left, and lifted a backhand just over the prone goalie’s outstretched leg.
Yale seized its first lead of the game exactly eight and a half minutes later, when Brian O’Neill and Kearney skated in on offense. Kearney drew the Dartmouth defenders before whipping a pass at O’Neill, who put his third goal of the season top shelf on a one-timer with 1:16 left in the second period.
The Bulldogs kept building their lead in the third period, when O’Neill skated alone at the Dartmouth defense across the blue line, deked his defender, and cut toward the net. A toe drag and a big windup later, the left winger had his second goal of the game and Yale had a 4–2 lead.
Five and a half minutes later, the line of Limbert, Kearney, and Little demonstrated the chemistry that comes out of 11 combined years of Yale hockey when they raced up ice and split the Dartmouth defense with tic-tac-toe passes. Limbert finished the attack with a one-timer at 11:17 in the period.
Then it was a rookie’s chance to shine. Clinton Bourbonais ’14 netted the first goal by a Yale freshman this season when he knocked the rebound from a Chad Ziegler shot less than a minute later.
Limbert’s second goal of the game a minute later made the score 7–2 for Yale with six and a half minutes left to play. Dartmouth managed a power play in the final minutes, but the Bulldogs held on for the 7–3 win.
Despite the excitement of another offensive outburst and a strong, 23-save effort from goalie Ryan Rondeau, the Yale squad acknowledged that they have room to improve. O’Neill cited the team’s two poor opening periods this week. Allain mentioned that the power play — which converted more than half its chances on Friday night, but none of four against Dartmouth — had room to improve.
Yale went into this weekend’s games ranked fifth in the national USCHO poll although — due to Ivy League restrictions — they had played no games and every other top-ten team had played at least four. This week’s wins will likely not create much movement in the standings, which tend to stay constant until later in the season.
Yale will seek to keep winning and improve its ranking next weekend at home against Princeton and cross-town rival Quinnipiac.