Brian O’Neill ’12 ended his month-long scoring drought with a breathtaking offensive outburst.
The captain of the Yale men’s hockey team scored four consecutive goals against the Bentley Falcons (5–9–3, 5–3–2 AHA) to break open a tied game and lead the Bulldogs (7–5–1, 4–2 ECAC) to a 9–3 victory. The win ended a two-game regular season losing streak for the Elis.
“That’s the best we’ve looked offensively [this season],” head coach Keith Allain ’80 said to Yale Athletics. “It’s nice to see [O’Neill] get some results. He’s been playing well and today, he got rewarded for his effort.”
Forward Justin Breton gave Bentley an early lead after intercepting a pass in Yale’s offensive zone. The sophomore right-winger broke away from the Blue and White defense before beating goalie Jeff Malcolm ’13 with a backhand.
But halfway through the opening frame, the Elis responded with two back-to-back goals.
Winger Trent Ruffolo ’15 tied the game with his first career goal, a rebound off a shot by linemate Antoine Laganiere ’13. Ten seconds later, Ruffolo returned the favor with a pass from the back of the net
to Laganiere, who fired off a one-timer from the slot to give the Bulldogs their first lead of the game. Ruffolo and Brad Peltz ’13, who have played sparingly this season, started while Dan Otto ’12 and Josh Balch ’13 sat. Both came away with their first career goals.
With six minutes left in the first period, Kenny Agostino ’14 extended Yale’s lead to 3–1 with a wrist shot over goaltender Branden Komm’s shoulder.
The Falcons, however, did not go down easily. Brent Gensler and Aaron Stonacek both beat Malcolm within a five-minute span to tie the game at 3–3. Malcolm finished the game with 16 saves.
But Yale began to pull away nearly halfway through the game when O’Neill caught on fire. With 6:30 left in the second period, the left-winger blasted a one-timer off a pass from Andrew Miller ’13 for his fifth power play goal of the year.
Less than four minutes later, O’Neill notched another power play goal with a low blast that sailed through traffic and into the back of the net. O’Neill completed his natural hat trick 1:26 into the final period with a putback and extended the Bulldogs’ lead to 7–3 four minutes later with his final goal of the night. Miller earned an assist on all three of those goals.
Peltz and Nicholas Weberg ’15 scored the last two goals for the Elis 10:26 and 17:15 into the third frame, respectively.
After scoring just two goals in each of their first five games, the Bulldogs have averaged 4.67 goals per game over their last nine games.
However, the Yale defense has struggled since posting three straight shutouts in November, allowing 3.5 goals a game over the last eight contests and 4.75 goals in the Elis’ four most recent losses.
The Bulldogs will take on ECAC rival Quinnipiac University Friday night at Ingalls Rink.