What was only a scrimmage turned into a heated battle the produced 182 penalty minutes.
Riding a four-game winning streak, the men’s ice hockey team (9-10, 7-5 ECAC) hosted the Under-18 USA National Team (18-15-3) Saturday at Ingalls Rink, coming up short, 5-4.
“Coach has been telling us to play more physical and finish our checks, that is just a regular part of our game plan, it had nothing to with tonight,” Hristovski said.
In his first appearance of this season, Eli goaltender Peter Dobrowolski ’04 gave two quick goals in the first period before finding his bearings.
Down 2-0 just 6:02 into the game, the Bulldogs quickly responded, as Jeff Hristovski ’06 fired in a goal off a rebound from Joe Zappala ’06.
Twenty-five seconds later, USA regained the two-goal margin when forward Mike Brennan put back his own rebound.
At 12:46 in the first, USA’s Nathan Gerbe was whistled for interference — the first of many penalties in the game. Yale took advantage of its extra-man opportunity as Mike Klema ’04 fed Zappala in the right face-off circle. The sophomore winger fired a well-aimed shot into the upper corner of the net.
Peter Cohen ’05 stepped in goal for the Elis in the second period, but again USA was quickly able to find the back of the net, tallying two goals in the opening 5:47 of the frame.
Late in the second period the Bulldogs cut USA’s lead to 5-3 when Klema slipped the puck in during a scrum. Following the goal, a fight broke out around the net which resulted in two USA and two Yale players each receiving 10-minute misconducts.
The penalties continued in the third as the Bulldogs twice found themselves short two men. Matt Modelski ’07 was able to stop all eight shots he faced in the period including many good opportunities during USA’s two-man advantages.
“It’s one positive thing that we can take out of the game, that we were able to kill off those penalties in key situations,” Zappala said.
As Yale fought to get back in the game, tempers began to flare. After rushing in trying to get a rebound, Eli forward Ryan Steeves ’04 got a high stick from USA goalie Jordan Pearce. Another brawl broke out and this time four players from each team received 10-minute misconducts. Yale lost its top line of forwards, as Hristovski, Steeves, and Zappala all headed to the locker room.
Yale cut USA’s lead to one soon after the fight, when Nate Jackson ’06 tallied a power play goal.
Despite many chances late in the game, Yale was unable to tie. In the end 39 penalties had been issued in one of the most physical and heated games of the season.
Yale head coach Tim Taylor was unhappy with the lack of maturity his team showed.
“What is so upsetting to me is that the game had to degenerate for us to play with the fire that is required to be successful in the game of hockey,” Taylor said. “It takes a lot of controlled emotion to be successful, and when we play with that controlled emotion we can be a very good hockey team.”
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