One week after a third-period collapse spoiled an otherwise brilliant game against Harvard, the men’s hockey team showed its mettle — and endurance — Saturday with a four-goal third-period explosion to beat St. Lawrence 5-2 for its first road victory of the season.
Yale (4-18-1, 3-13-0 ECAC) got two goals and an assist from winger Blair Yaworski ’08, as well as three assists from center Nate Jackson ’06, two from center Brad Mills ’07 and 43 saves from goalie Matt Modelski ’07.
With the loss, St. Lawrence (13-12-2, 7-7-1) remains in seventh place in the ECAC.
The weekend, however, was not without disappointment for Yale. The Elis dropped a 2-1 nail-biter at Clarkson (10-16-2, 2-9-1) Friday.
In that game the Bulldogs played a disciplined first period, allowing one goal while being careful not to take any penalties after yielding nine power-play goals the weekend before. But they could not stay out of the box in the second period, and after an interference call on center David Germain ’08 at 5:42 seemed to revert to their old ways. Twenty-five seconds later center Jeff Hristovski ’06 was whistled for tripping, and 40 seconds after that Clarkson had taken a 2-0 lead.
Defenseman Matt Craig ’06 would score his first goal of the season (forwards Joe Zappala ’06 and Zach Mayer ’06 assisted) during a furious third-period comeback attempt by Yale, but the Elis could not find the equalizer.
Still, Jackson felt the third period against the Golden Knights laid the groundwork for the victory over St. Lawrence.
“Since the third period against Clarkson on we played our best hockey of the season by far,” Jackson said. “We put up a valiant effort in the end and just came up short. We had some ‘bus legs’ the first two periods. I thought we totally dominated play in the third.”
Indeed, Yale was not deterred by the final score in Friday’s game, as it carried its momentum into Saturday.
“We came out strong,” Yaworski said of the SLU game. “We wanted to prove to ourselves and the team that it was unacceptable not to win. We came out playing the body, making some good hits and good contact. We set the tone right off the bat.”
In the first period, the Saints peppered Modelski with 21 shots, but the steady sophomore turned away all but one of them.
“He’s been playing phenomenal for us,” Jackson said of Modelski. “He’s making all the saves that we need him to make. His positioning is perfect right now. He’s seeing the puck well. He shut down a pretty high-powered offensive team.”
Yaworski tied the game in the second period before SLU countered in the third with its second power-play goal. Yale would find itself again facing a 2-1 deficit in the third period, but this time the Elis would find a way to score — a lot.
Yaworski got his second goal of the game at 8:03 when he one-timed a perfect faceoff win by Jackson over the glove of Saints goalie Mike McKenna. Winger Robert Burns ’07 scored the eventual game-winner 1:50 later and winger Christian Jensen ’06 (power-play) and defenseman Rob Page ’08 (empty-net) provided insurance.
“It’s nice to bounce back like that,” Jackson said. “It’s really nice to get our first road victory, especially up north in the middle of nowhere, because that can be a pretty long bus ride back. It could give us some confidence, maybe some new life. Hopefully it’ll carry into next weekend.”