Big Green? No big deal for the men’s hockey team.
Yale (10-7-4, 6-4-4 ECAC) breezed past Dartmouth (8-11-2, 3-10-1) in front of a packed crowd at the Whale on Friday night, picking up two much-needed points in the conference. Six different Elis pitched in goals to the 6-3 win, which extends the Bulldogs’ unbeaten streak to three games during a crucial point in their season where only ECAC games remain.
“Everybody played really well,” forward David Germain ’08 said. “Everyone’s been skating well and the team is coming into its own recently.”
The Elis charged to a 3-0 lead in the first period with a goal apiece from forwards Matthew Thomey ’08, Sean Backman ’10 and Matt Nelson ’09. Thomey opened things up for the home team with a power-play goal at 6:29, receiving a feed from captain Will Engasser ’08 and finding an opening in the Big Green’s defense. Less than two minutes later, Backman converted a perfect cross from defender Tom Dignard ’10, one-timing the puck past Dartmouth netminder Mike Devine’s glove at 8:17. Nelson added another goal with just 1:06 left in the period to give the Bulldogs a three-point edge heading into the first break.
In the second frame, however, the Big Green fought back, outscoring the Elis, 3-2, though still trailing at the end of the period. Just 18 seconds after the opening face-off, Dartmouth’s Kyle Reeds skated to the blueline and launched a wrister that netminder Billy Blase ’10 could not stop, cutting the Elis’ lead down to two.
“We had a great first period and Dartmouth made some changes in the second period that gave them some life,” head coach Keith Allain ’80 said.
The Bulldogs responded to the Big Green a few minutes later, when forward Denny Kearney ’11 was credited with Yale’s first short-handed goal of the year at 3:48 off a pass from forward Mark Arcobello ’10.
The visitors notched two more goals in the next 10 minutes, but 4-3 was as close as the Elis would allow the score to get. Forward Chris Cahill ’10 picked up a rebound from a Mike Matczak ’11 shot with 4:45 left in the second, and buried it in the back of the net to make it 5-3 on Yale’s third power-play tally of the night. Rookie Brendan Mason ’11 added a final goal late in the third stanza to cement the victory.
Allain said he was pleased that so many different players got into the scoring action, as six different players lit the lamp and 12 picked up points in the effort. The Eli power-play unit also came alive, converting three of four chances while holding the Big Green to just one-man advantage tally out of five.
The Bulldogs hit the road again next weekend, traveling on the well trodden path to Hamden, Conn., to face Quinnipiac on Friday night before heading south to New Jersey to challenge Princeton on Saturday. The Elis got swept by the two feline squads earlier in the season, although Backman said they played well against the Tigers — arguably one of the best teams in the conference.
“We don’t want to get too ahead of ourselves,” Germain said. “We are just going to try to keep the practices real high-energy and keep each other focused on this weekend.”