The men’s hockey team capitalized on four power plays Saturday night to best Ivy rival Brown 4–3 in the Elis’ first home conference game of the season.
The Bulldogs (6–2–1, 3–2–0 ECAC) fell behind 2–1 in the first period but made a comeback on a five-on-three advantage late in the second period to edge out the Bears (3–5–2, 0–3–2 ECAC). After two overtime victories against nationally ranked teams on Nov. 23 and Nov. 24, Yale has extended its winning streak to four straight games.
Saturday night’s game started off quick, and despite outshooting Brown 14–9 in the first period, the Bulldogs fell behind when the Bears scored at 10:22 and 14:00. Head coach Keith Allain pulled goalie Nick Maricic ’13 after the second Brown goal and replaced him with Jeff Malcolm ’13, who remained in goal for the rest of the game.
On a power play towards the end of the first period, Yale’s top scorer, forward Antoine Laganiere ’13, got the team’s first goal of the night off an assist from defenseman Gus Young ’14 and brought the Bulldogs into the second period down just 2–1.
“I thought we had a good start, even though we fell behind,” Allain said. “We stuck with it and played a little better in the second period.”
Team captain and forward Andrew Miller ’13 added that the team wanted to change the game’s momentum after a frustrating first period and began to see results as the second period progressed.
“Early in the second period we weren’t scoring, but we had a lot of opportunities and sustained pressure, which is important,” Miller said.
While the Bears scored at 4:47 in the second on a power play, the floodgates soon opened for the Bulldogs. Yale outshot Brown 17–7 in the period, and the scoreboard reflected it. Forward Kenny Agostino ’14 directed a one-timer off an assist from Miller into the top right corner of Brown’s net at 7:53, marking the Bulldogs’ second power play goal of the game.
Both Miller and Laganiere noted that the team’s power play lines were very successful in Saturday’s game.
“We haven’t had an outburst like that in a while,” Miller said.
That outburst continued late in the third. Brown took two penalties, for holding and cross-checking, within such short succession that the Bulldogs earned 1:22 of a five-on-three man advantage. Twenty seconds into the two-man advantage, Miller tipped in the equalizing goal past Brown net-minder Marco DeFilippo off an assist from Laganiere and defenseman Tommy Fallen ’15.
On the same shift at 18:05, Laganiere took advantage of the team’s remaining power play to give Yale the 4–3 lead. He slapped a wrist shot into the Bears’ net off a reciprocal assist from Miller and Agostino for his eighth goal of the season.
“[Our power play] just worked today,” Laganiere said. Miller added that the team does not run special plays during its extra-man situations and just works to find the open player.
“The best play is the available play,” Miller said.
Miller had one goal and two assists on Saturday, and Laganiere had two goals and one assist. Laganiere has made five assists this year for 13 total points and is tied with Agostino for 10th place in points in the ECAC. The third period saw no additional scoring from either team, and the Bulldogs maintained their lead with strong backchecking and goaltending despite the Bears’ effort.
“Brown pushed hard at the end and took some chances offensively, which is what teams that are behind do,” Allain said. “We did a good job on the backcheck, and Malcolm did a heck of a job in the third period.”
The Bulldogs found success on Nov. 23 and Nov. 24 in Colorado in two non-conference games against then-No. 2 Denver and No. 14 Colorado College, winning both games in overtime 2–1 and 6–5, respectively. As a result, Yale was ranked No. 15 in the USCHO Division I poll earlier this week.
But Allain said the Bulldogs’ recent national attention is not the key to team confidence going into games.
“I think the fact that we worked our tails off in practice this week did more for our confidence than those wins,” Allain said.
Yale hopes to continue its winning streak next weekend as it takes on two more conference opponents, Rensselaer and Union, at Ingalls Rink.