The men’s ice hockey team (1-3-0, 1-0-0 ECAC) earned its first win of the season in an exciting fashion, beating Colgate (3-2-1, 1-1) 3-2 in overtime at Ingalls Rink Saturday night.
The game was highlighted by the play of rookie goalie Matt Modelski ’07 who had 41 saves in his first career start for the Elis.
“It’s a heck of a way to break in a career, in an overtime game,” Modelski said. “Tonight we got it done as a team.”
Modelski’s debut did not begin as planned, as he was called for illegal equipment — his chinstrap hung too low. While Modelski fixed his gear, Peter Cohen ’05 stepped in for the first 33 seconds of the game.
The problem never appeared to effect Modelski’s performance, as he made numerous impressive saves, stopping all seven shots he faced in the opening frame. The scoreless period was Yale’s first since the opening period against North Dakota on Oct. 31. On offense, the Bulldogs put some good pressure on Red Raider goalie, Steve Silverthorn, but were unable to tally a goal.
Jeff Dwyer ’04 opened the scoring at 10:01 in the second, with Yale’s first power-play goal of the season. After Colgate forward Darryl McKinnon was whistled for holding, center Ryan Steeves ’04 won the face-off and drew the puck back to Joe Callahan ’05. Callahan then passed the puck across to Dwyer, who took a one-timer slap shot that banked off the right post and into the net.
Modelski continued his excellent play through the second, making 13 saves and helping his team kill off three penalties.
The Eli penalty kill unit continued to dominate in the third period as it earned a shorthanded goal to put the Bulldogs up 2-0. The goal came after a tough save by Modelski, who was screened on the play. Christian Jensen ’06 then stole the puck from the Colgate defense and raced down on a breakaway. Jensen was unable to get the puck by Silverthorn, but Steeves followed up the shot and put in the rebound at 6:31 in the third.
Midway through the period, Colgate stunned the Yale crowd, when center Kyle Wilson scored two goals in 2:14 minutes. The Raiders got on the board at 10:20 as Wilson snuck a wrist shot past Modelski. Just moments later, during a scrum in front of the Bulldog net, the puck squirted loose to find Wilson on the doorstep, where he banged home the tying goal at 13:34.
“Giving up two goals late is not a good thing to happen to a team, it kind of lowers the team’s moral pretty quick,” Joe Zappala ’06 said. “We showed our true colors and we turned things around pretty quick in overtime, we started to play well and play like ourselves.”
The Bulldogs had to kill off a penalty to push the game into overtime, during which both teams had numerous opportunities, but Modelski managed to shut the door on Colgate. A tie seemed inevitable.
With just under 30 seconds left in overtime, Jeff Hristovski ’06 fought hard in the Red Raiders corner to get the puck to Bob Burns ’07 who put it on net. Silverthorne made the initial save, but Zappala was there for the rebound and snuck the puck under the crossbar with 20.4 seconds left. Celebration ensued — the Yale bench cleared as the Elis captured their first win.
“It popped out front, I started to lick my chops and put it upstairs,” Zappala said. “He kind of came out and covered up a lot of space pretty quick too. I only had one hole left and just put it there.”
Equally impressive was the play of Yale’s rookie goalie.
“Obviously we got out-shot pretty bad this game and [Modelski] made some big saves for us and kept us in the game,” Zappala said. “When a goalie makes big saves like that it boosts the team’s moral.”
The defensive play by the Bulldogs was also much improved.
“I thought the play of our defense was up, we were down to five defensemen the last two periods and they really emptied the tank,” Taylor said. “[Modelski] was sensational in his debut. It was quite a performance by a kid in his first Yale game. He deserved a lot of credit. He just had an air of excitement about him, the way he played.”
While Modelski did well for the Elis on Saturday night, Yale faced an equally impressive performance by Cornell’s freshman goalie, David McKee, in the Bulldogs’ league-opener Friday. The Bulldogs lost the game, 6-2.
“I thought [McKee] played really well. I thought he was very solid for the most part of the night, and it was a great win for him on the road,” Cornell head coach Mike Schafer said.
Despite Yale’s hard physical play against a bigger Cornell team (2-1-1, 2-0-0), the Elis were able to overcome a three-goal second period for the Big Red.
“I thought our team speed was better tonight, I thought we took the body a lot better than we did against North Dakota,” Taylor said after the loss to Cornell. “We had an awfully lot of difficulty clearing our own end. Josh had a lot of work, and certainly there were more shifts for Cornell than for Yale where they were able to keep us pinned in.”
The Bulldogs travel north to face league rivals Brown (2-1-0, 1-1-0) and Harvard (1-1-1, 0-1-1) this weekend.
[ydn-legacy-photo-inline id=”18907″ ]