Despite only putting two shots on goal in the third period after nearly 60 minutes of do-what-it-takes defense and brick-wall goal-tending, the men’s hockey team was only inches from tying the game with a strong slap shot from Bill LeClerc ’07.
Unfortunately for Eli fans, LeClerc’s shot ricocheted off the cross bar, and No. 2 Boston College (12-3-3) held on for the 1-0 win. The Bulldogs (2-14-1) also had a chance to convert on a power play, but the Eagles were too quick, getting a body on every Eli and a stick on every puck. The Bulldog offense was limited to just 11 shots on goal. And no matter how well a goaltender plays, at least one out of 50 shots will usually find its way into the goal. But despite the loss, the Elis did some things that they can be proud of, like holding a team with nine NHL draft picks to a single power-play goal.
After both Joe Rooney and Patrick Eaves were denied by Eli netminder Matt Modelski ’07 midway through the second period, the puck bounced out to Ned Havern who slipped it in for the only goal BC needed. Modelski had a career-high 49 saves, and the Eli penalty kill unit went 1-for-7.
“I’m real proud of our effort,” Yale head coach Tim Taylor said. “Modelski has been real strong, and the kids are feeding off of that. I thought the kids emptied their fuel tanks and spilled their heart and guts out there.”
Boston College head coach Jerry York said both goalies played great games.
“From my perspective, the Yale goaltender had an unbelievable game, but ours made four or five real quality saves,” York said. “We got lucky with that cross bar.”
York also said he expected the Bulldogs to play the way they did.
“Yale competed very hard,” York said. “They pushed us right to the limit. Our ability to kill that last penalty was the key to our success in the game.”
At 17:13 into the third period, Brian Boyle was taken out for two minutes for a hooking penalty, giving the Eli power play a chance to score a much-needed goal. After a Yale timeout, the Bulldogs went to work. The Elis had a few chances but kept coming up empty. It looked for a second like Nate Jackson ’06 found a way to push the puck into the goal despite a large amount of traffic in the crease, and the Bulldogs and fans went wild. But it turned out not to be what the Elis wanted. In a last-ditch attempt, Taylor pulled Modelski with less than a minute left, but even with the one-man advantage, the Bulldogs could not find a way to get it done either.
Defenseman Shawn Mole ’07 said the Bulldogs played as hard as they could.
“We came out kind of flat in the first, but I think we battled back,” Mole said. “We gave them a run for their money.”
The first period saw the Eagles place 12 shots on goal compared to one for the Elis. The Eagles were also winning many battles for loose pucks, using their speed efficiently and effectively.
“In the first period, we over-respected them and under-respected ourselves,” Taylor said. “[The Eagles] average 1.7 goals a game; no one is scoring on them. This is largely because they defend so well and skate so well as a team.”
The Bulldogs came out in the second period more determined to create some offensive opportunities. But early on they had to deal with a 4-on-3 situation brought on by penalties. At one point during this BC power play, a pass from behind the net found Modelski on the wrong side of the goal, but Jeff Hristovski ’06 made the needed block with his stick. Throughout the period the Bulldogs skated aggressively and matched up closely with the Eagles. The Bulldogs’ eight shots in the second period was an improvement on their first-period performance, but eight was not enough to get one past the Eagles’ Cory Schneider, who finished with 11 saves.
Although there are some positives to take from this game, Modelski said a loss is a loss.
“I think the first half of the year is a learning experience for everyone,” Modelski said. “I think that we finally hit our stride, and it seems like it has turned around right now, but we still have to keep getting wins. We can’t settle for close games.”
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