Forward Mike Doherty ’17 had the final say in a tumultuous, back-and-forth encounter between the Yale men’s hockey team and Northeastern, rifling home the game-winner to lift the Elis to a 5–4 nonconference victory. The Bulldogs opened 2017 with a hard-fought victory, rallying from a 2–1 deficit after a period to win a game that saw the two teams spend 54 combined minutes in the penalty box, by far the highest total of any Yale game this season.

The Elis (5–6–2, 2–5–1 ECAC Hockey) emerged victorious from an exciting, end-to-end contest by sticking to their game plan — staying hard and quick on the forecheck and controlling the game through their physicality in the neutral zone. The entire team contributed to the victory against a capable Northeastern team (7–8–4, 1–6–2 Hockey East) that lurks just outside the national top 20 and has played six times against teams then-ranked in the top five. The team effort was highlighted by a number of strong performances from freshmen, especially forward Robbie DeMontis ’20, who stepped up to the first line and chipped in two assists, following the ejection of forward Evan Smith ’20 early in the second period.

Having returned to New Haven the day after Christmas, the Elis shellacked the University of Ottawa 7–1 in an exhibition on Dec. 28, powered by a Doherty hat trick and a trio of assists each from forwards Ryan Hitchcock ’18 and Joe Snively ’19. The matchup with the Huskies provided the opportunity to build on that dominant performance and turn the page on a very shaky start to the season, especially considering the high standards set by the Bulldogs.

Forward Chris Izmirlian ’17 gave Yale the lead just under four minutes into the game, but Northeastern struck twice before the intermission to seize a 2–1 advantage heading into the locker room. Despite the deficit and taking the only two penalties of the period, the Bulldogs outshot the Huskies 14–6.

The scoreline held for the first 4:36 of the second, before a boarding call on forward Frank DiChiara ’17 sparked mayhem. When the dust cleared, the officials sent Smith and Husky forward Matt Filipe to the locker room for an early shower with a two and 10 after the two got tangled up in a scrum after the whistle. Yale seized both the initiative and the lead from the conflagration, as goals from forward Andrew Gaus ’19 and DiChiara hit the net in quick succession to vault the Bulldogs ahead.

The Elis earned a power play at 17:11 and a golden opportunity to press their advantage. But they continued their detrimental habit of conceding shorthanded goals, when winger Zach Aston-Reese drew the Huskies level despite being a man light. With the penalty close to expiration, the Bulldog power play unit redeemed themselves when captain and forward John Hayden ’17 found the net to hand his team a 4–3 lead after two.

Northeastern leveled the score at four early in the third, before Doherty’s decisive intervention. Snively broke into the Husky zone on an odd-man rush, and although a Northeastern defender blocked his snap shot, the rebound broke for Doherty who sniped the top corner with his wrister to break the deadlock. The Elis shepherded the lead to the final horn, with Northeastern’s Jeremy Davies earning a game misconduct for his actions after the clock hit triple zeroes.

The Elis travel over to Hartford on Saturday for a 3 p.m. face-off in another nonconference matchup against Connecticut.