Sports | 2:40 pm | March 4, 2012 | By Jimin He and Kevin Kucharski

M. HOCKEY | Bulldogs split first two playoff games

harboe_mhockey-55
Photo by Graham Harboe.

A late comeback by the men’s hockey team was not enough to overcome its slow start.

The Bulldogs (14–14–3, 10–10–2 ECAC) fell in overtime to Princeton (9–15–7, 6–12–4) 5–4 as the Tigers extended the ECAC playoff series to its final game. Despite missing seven players to injuries, Princeton jumped out to a 2–0 lead and held off a relentless Blue and White offense in the final period. The Elis outshot their foes 42–31 but could not contain a revitalized Princeton offense.

Unlike Friday night, the Tigers struck first in game two. Left-winger Rob Kleebaum put Princeton on the scoreboard with a quick wrister over the shoulder of goalie Nick Maricic ’13 after Jack Berger won a faceoff in Bulldog territory.

The Elis could not duplicate the dominating opening period that helped them to a quick 2–0 lead in game 1, barely outshooting the Tigers 10–8 in the first frame.

4:50 into the second period, forward Antoine Laganiere ’13 was sent to the penalty box for interference. The Tigers immediately attacked the Yale net and scored an apparent power play goal. But a video review showed that the Tigers kicked the puck in, and the referees discounted the goal to keep the game at 1–0.

With 3:31 left in the middle frame, defenseman Nick Jaskowiak ’12 fired off a shot that hit the pipe and set off the red light that usually signals a goal. However, the referees upheld the no-goal call after video review.

For the second night in the row, the Elis’ effort on ice was marred by penalties. Two consecutive calls against Kevin Limbert ’12 and Brian O’Neill ’12 with less than three minutes before the second intermission set up a five-on-three power play for the Tigers.

With the two-man advantage, Princeton’s Andrew Calof found open space, fired the puck into the top of the net, and widened Princeton’s lead to 2–0 at the 18:35 mark.

Yale finally broke through the Princeton defense with a power play of its own. Blueliner Kevin Peel ’12 put the Bulldogs on the board 6:33 into the final period by converting a rebound off Jaskowiak’s stick.

The momentum did not stay with Yale for long. Kleebaum notched his second goal of the night just five seconds after Princeton’s sixth power play opportunity of the night expired.

But the Bulldogs clawed their way back into the game, starting with a shorthanded goal by center Jesse Root ’14, who somehow found the back of the net as a Princeton defender hauled him down. Root also scored a shorthanded goal against Quinnipiac last week.

Now skating with a man-advantage, the Elis attacked Princeton goalie Sean Bonar relentlessly. Laganiere managed to tie the game at 3–3 with six minutes remaining in the third period with a shot from behind the net that bounced off the back of Bonar’s leg.

Once again, the Bulldogs could not keep up their offensive pressure. Twenty-seven seconds after Laganiere’s equalizer, Princeton pulled ahead again, 4–3, with a long goal by defenseman Michael Sdao.

The Elis, however, refused to tap out. With 2:24 left in the game and a two-man advantage, center Andrew Miller ’13 tied the score at 4–4 with a slap shot and sent the game into sudden-death overtime.

The Bulldogs’ dream for a comeback was quickly ended after just 33 seconds of overtime play. Following a quick two-on-one rush, Calof fired the puck toward the inside post and scored his second goal of the night.

With the loss, Yale’s overtime record this season dropped to 0–3–3. The two teams will play game 3 of the series at 7 p.m. on Sunday.

Comments