The Yale men’s hockey team was two minutes away from securing its biggest victory of the season yet.
Despite a two-goal lead for nearly forty minutes, the Bulldogs (5–3–1, 3–1 ECAC) surrendered three unanswered goals to No. 5 Boston College (10–4, 7–2 Hockey East) en route to a 3–2 loss. Eagles forward Chris Kreider scored the game winner with just 39 seconds left on the clock.
“It was a tough way to lose,” head coach Keith Allain ’80 said. “We are a developing hockey team and our kids took some strides today.”
The Elis skated without starting center Andrew Miller ’13, who was injured in Tuesday’s loss against Sacred Heart. But Miller’s absence did not slow down the Blue and White offense.
Four minutes into the opening frame, Antoine Laganiere ’13 swooped into the slot and fired a shot at Eagles goaltender Brian Billett. The goalie blocked the initial shot but could not control the rebound as Jesse Root ’14, Miller’s replacement, crashed the net from the left side and knocked the puck home to give the Bulldogs a 1–0 lead.
“Any time you don’t play with Andrew, it’s not what you want,” captain Brian O’Neill ’12 said. “But I think [Root] stepped up really nicely for him and hopefully we’ll get Andrew back soon.”
The Eagles started the second period with back-to-back power play opportunities but could not get the puck past Jeff Malcolm ’13, who started in front of the net for the Elis after giving up five goals to Sacred Heart. Halfway through the middle frame, the Elis struck again.
Off a feed from right-winger Charles Brockett ’12, Root skated down the left side of the rink before snapping a low shot at Billett. The puck bounced off Billett’s blocker to the other side, giving a speeding Kenny Agostino ’14 a chance to put in the rebound.
The Bulldogs had a chance to pull even further away when Pat Mullane and Patch Alber were sent into the penalty box after a scramble in front of the BC net.
However, the Eagles packed its remaining three players around Billett and forced the Elis to settle for shots from the perimeter. Yale finished the two-man advantage with just five shots on goal.
“Special teams are really important in games like this,” O’Neill said. “Not capitalizing on a two-minute 5-on-3, it definitely gave them the momentum.”
The Eagles cut the Bulldogs’ lead in half with 22 seconds left before the second intermission. Forward Paul Carey redirected a pass from Mullane under Malcolm’s right arm and watched as the puck trickled slowly into the net.
With 2:19 left in the game, the Bulldogs allowed a shorthanded three-on-two rush by BC and Barry Almeida sent a rising wrist shot over Malcolm’s shoulder to equalize the score. Malcolm finished the game with 25 saves.
Less than two minutes later, the Eagles took advantage of an icing call against the Elis. Sophomore Bill Arnold won the face-off and sent the puck to Steven Whitney. The winger skated around the right circle before feeding the puck to Kreider, who fired a one-timer off the top of crease to cap the Eagles’ comeback.
“The shorthanded goal was just a great individual effort by their kid,” Allain said. “The other one was a function of the rules in our game. If we don’t execute a transition pass, now we have to have a faceoff in our zone with tired players.”
The Bulldogs, who have now lost two games in a row after a four-game winning streak, will take on Brown Thursday at Ingalls Rink.