Yale is keeping the red light operator at Ingalls Rink busy this season.
A week after scoring 14 goals in two games, the men’s hockey team (4–0–0, 2–0–0 ECAC) scored 10 more this weekend, racking up a pair of wins against Princeton and Quinnipiac this weekend to extend their win streak to four games. After hanging on to beat the Tigers, 5–3, in Friday night’s contest, Yale exploded in the third period on Saturday night to breeze past its crosstown rival, 5–1.
On Friday night, Yale survived six penalties and more than two minutes of three-on-five hockey in the last six minutes of the third period to secure a 5–3 defeat of Princeton (1–3–0, 1–1–0) at Ingalls Rink.
“Princeton is a team that works hard, plays fast, plays physical, and makes you fight for the puck at both nets,” head coach Keith Allain ’80 said. “As a coach, you can’t help but be proud that we gutted it out.”
The Bulldogs struck first on a Chad Ziegler ’12 power play goal at 2:45 into the frame.
Right winger Chris Cahill ’11 made the Eli advantage 2–0 when he redirected a perfect cross-ice feed from center Andrew Miller ’13 a minute and a half later, but Princeton stormed right back. Center Andrew Calof missed the net after beating Yale goalie Ryan Rondeau ’11 with a toe drag, but followed his shot to the backboards and got a lucky break when his ensuing pass banked off Rondeau’s skates and into the net.
And the goals kept coming. Right winger Broc Little ’11 lit the red light for the fourth time this season on a superb individual effort when his stickhandling across the goal left Tiger goaltender Alan Reynolds sprawled on the ice. But it took Princeton only 1:12 to cut the Yale lead to 3–2 heading into intermission.
“The first period, we really needed to bear down more,” captain Jimmy Martin ’11 said. “We realized that in the locker room and went back out and performed.”
Both sides picked up the pace in the second frame. After looking sluggish during the first period, the Tigers offset long Yale possessions with quick counterattacks, and the puck flew back and forth across the rink.
Despite Princeton’s increased momentum, the Bulldog offense had the clear upper hand. Only the Princeton defense’s constant deflections kept the Bulldogs from putting together a solid possession until some penalties late in the frame.
But when those penalties came, Yale pounced. Cahill notched his second goal of the night during a power play in the 18th minute of the period, getting his stick on a bouncing pass from forward Antoine Laganiere ’13 and pushing it under Reynolds’ pads. Cahill credited the team’s effort for the goal, which made the score 4–2 for Yale.
“We’re working very well together, there’s lots of team chemistry, and everybody is so unselfish,” he said. “We’re all just trying to make plays all the time and just keep working.”
The Elis didn’t stop attacking while shorthanded 12 seconds later, and center Kevin Limbert ’12 sent a shot past Reynolds that was waved off because Yale had a man in the crease.
Princeton rebounded in the third period when forward Matt Arhontas notched a power play goal to make the score 4–3 in the second minute.
But some hard work from Rondeau and Kevin Peel ’12 ensured the Yale lead would stand. Rondeau stopped 12 of 13 shots in the last period — he tallied 27 saves on the game — and Peel padded the lead when he lofted a wrist shot over Reynolds’ blocker from the high slot at 9:50 in the period.
“Any time you have to battle for a win like this, it’s a good learning experience,” Martin said. “We’ll have to use this and other battles to teach us down the road.”
While Friday’s game was close until the final buzzer, it was a different story on Saturday. By the time the third period rolled around, the Quinnipiac Bobcats — like every squad the men’s hockey team has played so far this season — just couldn’t keep up.
The first frame on Saturday was the first period in which Yale has been held scoreless so far this season. But the Bulldogs took advantage of a superb outing from Rondeau and notched five unanswered goals starting in the second frame to best Quinnipiac, 5–1. It was the third time this season that the Elis have overcome an early deficit to emerge victorious.
“I thought they were by far the best team we have played all year,” left winger Brian O’Neill ’12 said of the Bobcats (4–3–1, 0–1–1).
Quinnipiac took an early lead when defenseman Colin Dueck ’13 was called for boarding at 7:37. Quinnipiac’s Zach Davies got the puck at the blue line for the Bobcats and sent it across to teammate Zach Hansen, whose quick shot rebounded off Rondeau. Center Jeremy Langlois picked up the rebound and took a shot from the left circle that Rondeau blocked, but Langlois crashed the net and poked it through to give Quinnipiac a 1–0 lead at 7:49.
“They certainly came out strong and I thought we weren’t moving our legs as fast as we should have,” Allain said.
Goaltender Rondeau, who started his third consecutive game for Yale on Saturday, kept the Bobcats’ lead at one with a series of saves in the period, as Quinnipiac outshot Yale, 14–8.
“Some nights you just see the puck well and it’s hitting you,” Rondeau said, “That’s what happened tonight.”
When the buzzer signaled intermission, Yale trooped off the ice facing a 1–0 deficit.
The Blue came back in the second period sporting a more aggressive forecheck, and reaped the rewards of their physical play when left winger Denny Kearney ’11 found the back of the net five minutes into the frame. Kearney stole a Quinnipiac pass at their blue line, kept the puck, and wristed a low shot under Clarke to knot the score at one.
Quinnipiac left winger Scott Zurevinski skated into the box for hooking at 14:03, and 99 seconds into the power play, Yale — which was unable to create many scoring chances on their first two power plays of the game — finally converted. After some crisp puck movement, Ziegler snuck a cross through two Quinnipiac defenders to Little, who backhanded it past Clarke from the right edge of the slot to give Yale its first lead of the night.
Then the Bulldogs put the score out of reach in the third period.
Yale blitzed Clarke with three goals in 2:58 to knock the struggling goaltender out of the game. Backup Eric Hartzell stopped all seven shots he faced, but the damage was done. Yale shut down the Bobcat attack and Quinnipiac never came close to cutting the deficit.
O’Neill got Yale’s final goal of the game on his second tally of the night. He, Little and Kearney share the team lead in goals, with five apiece.
“Me and Denny aren’t pure goal scorers like Broc, who obviously has a scoring touch,” O’Neill said. “But someone had to step up after our [graduation] losses last year, so Denny and me have been getting some shots.”
Goal-scoring wasn’t the only story of the night for the Bulldogs, as Rondeau turned aside 29 of 30 shots to anchor the team’s performance.
“Rondeau looked comfortable out there, and that’s important for a team to have behind them,” Allain said.
Yale will head west to take on Colorado College and the Air Force Academy in its first away games this season on Saturday and Sunday, respectively.