Three was the magic number for No. 12 Boston University against the men’s ice hockey team Sunday night at Walter Brown Arena.
After a loss to No. 14 Harvard (4-3-1, 3-3-1 ECAC) and a tie with No. 11 Dartmouth (4-1-4, 3-0-3) last week, the Terriers (4-4-4) found that the third time was the charm, as they upended Yale 7-2 for their first win against an Ivy League opponent. Three was also the lucky number for BU defensemen Kevin Schaeffer and Ryan Whitney, who both notched hat tricks. The Elis (3-8-0, 3-5-0), who have not won consecutive games this season, failed to build momentum on a Saturday night 5-3 win against Princeton (3-7-0, 3-5-0) at Ingalls Rink.
Despite strong play during the early minutes of the BU game, Eli goalie Matt Modelski ’07 gave up three goals on four shots.
“We were dominated and man-handled in the first,” Eli head coach Tim Taylor said. “We knew that they had been struggling offensively and we’ve been suspect on defense. Not getting a goal when it was only 3-0 was a killer.”
Though the Bulldogs matched the Terriers in the second period, they entered the third down 6-0.
“As well as we played, we still lost the [second] period 3-0,” captain Vin Hellemeyer ’04 said. “You kind of sit there and say what else can we do.”
During the intermission, Taylor pulled Modelski in favor of Peter Cohen ’04.
At the other end of the rink, Terrier goalie Sean Fields kept the Elis off of the board through two periods, until Steeves broke through on the power play.
Jeff Hristovski ’06 won the draw, passing the puck back to Mike Grobe ’06 at the point. Grobe slid it across to Jeff Dwyer ’04 and Steeves deflected Dwyer’s slapshot past Fields. Minutes later, Steeves skated the length of the ice to score on a backhander for his fourth goal of the season.
“I am proud of the way the team played in the second and third periods,” Taylor said.
However, the lapses in the second period and poor play in the first put the Elis in a hole they could not dig themselves out of.
“It’s so frustrating because we had two amazing periods, and the [first] period really set us back,” Steeves said. “Normally two good periods should be enough to make it close.”
The Terriers’ scoring success came from traffic in front of the net and the Bulldogs’ inability to give their goaltender a solid look at the puck, Hellemeyer said.
Offensively, Yale could not match its season-high five goal performance — which the team achieved Saturday against the Tigers, when the Bulldogs avenged a Nov. 25 3-0 loss in Princeton to earn their second conference victory in three games. The dormant Eli offense awoke and Hristovski led the charge, scoring two goals and adding two assists.
“The past couple games, guys have been picking it up,” Hellemeyer said. “Some of the lines have started to gel. They’re leading by example.”
Dwyer helped Yale take the lead early, collecting a pass from Joe Zappala ’06 just inside the blue line and rifling a shot past Princeton netminder Eric Leroux at 9:47 of the first period. Christian Jensen’s ’06 second goal of the season less than five minutes later gave Yale a 2-0 lead.
But the Tigers refused to fade, scoring on the man advantage with under two minutes to play in the first.
Princeton forward Patrick Neundorfer tied the game with the second period’s only goal, capitalizing on a two-on-one and one-timing a Mike Patton feed past Gartner, who helped keep the score knotted throughout the middle frame, turning away eight Princeton shots. Yale’s offense generated only four shots.
In the game’s final 20 minutes, the Bulldog offense returned to form, with Hristovski beating Leroux for the game winner at 9:02. The Eli centerman struck again at 15:44, snapping a shot to the stick side to best Leroux.
Though the Tigers scored one minute later, the Elis fought off the late period charge and Jensen added an empty netter as time expired. Gartner made 26 stops in the win.
At Baker Rink four nights earlier, it was the Tigers who took home the win. Leroux stopped all 23 Eli shots to earn his first career shutout. Goals from Mike Patton and Seamus Young gave the Tigers, who were out-shot 10-4, a 2-0 lead heading into the intermission.
Princeton absolutely dominated in the second period, nearly quintupling the Bulldogs’ shot output, 19-4, but Modelski’s stellar play between the pipes held Princeton at bay.
The Tigers struck again on the power play after a Dwyer penalty in the third. Leroux took care of business from that point on.
Modelski made 30 saves in the losing effort. Taylor has yet to settle on a starting goaltender, with all three Eli regulars seeing time in the crease during the three game stretch.
“No matter who [Taylor] puts in net, the team’s going to go out there just as confident,” Hellemeyer said.
After a brutal five games in 10 days, the Elis are off until an important upstate New York road trip against ECAC rivals Rhode Island Polytechnic Institute (7-4-2, 2-1-1) and Union College (7-3-3, 2-1-1) this weekend.