It wasn’t seven goals, but it was enough.
Yale (3-0-0, 1-0-0 ECAC) survived six penalties and more than two minutes of three on five hockey in the last six minutes of the third period and hung on to defeat Princeton (0-0-3, 0-0-1) at Ingalls Rink, 5–3 on Friday night.
“Princeton is a team that works hard, plays fast, plays physical, and makes you fight for the puck at both nets,” head coach Keith Allain ’80 said. “As a coach, you can’t help but be proud that we gutted it out.”
The first period was full of fireworks. The Bulldogs struck first on a Chad Ziegler ’12 power play goal at 2:45 into the frame.
Right winger Chris Cahill ’11 widened the Eli advantage thanks to a perfect cross-ice feed from center Andrew Miller ’13 a minute and a half later, but Princeton stormed right back. Center Andrew Calof — who had both of Princeton’s goals in its first two games — missed the net after beating Yale goalie Ryan Rondeau ’11 with a toe drag, but followed his shots to the back boards and got a lucky break when his ensuing pass banked off Rondeau’s skates and into the net.
The goals kept coming. Right winger Broc Little ’11 lit the red light for the fourth time this season on a superb individual effort when his stickhandling across the goal left Reynolds sprawled on the ice. But it took Princeton only 1:12 to respond and cut the Yale lead to 3–2 heading into intermission.
“The first period, we really needed to bear down more,” Martin said. “We realized that in the locker room and went back out and performed.”
Indeed, both sides picked up the pace in the second frame. After looking sluggish during the first period, the Tigers offset some long Yale offensive possessions with quick counterattacks, and the puck flew back and forth across the rink.
Despite Princeton’s increased momentum, the Bulldog offense had the clear upper hand. The Elis fired 20 shots on net, compared to Princeton’s nine that period. That advantage could have been even higher had an agile Princeton defense not focused on blocking Yale passes. Their constant deflections kept the Bulldogs from putting together a solid possession until some penalties late in the frame.
But when those penalties came, Yale pounced. Cahill notched his second goal of the night with some hard work in the 18th minute of the period. After Princeton’s Matt Farris was sent off for tripping, Cahill got his stick on a bouncing pass from forward Antoine Laganiere ’13 and pushed it under Reynolds’ pads.
Cahill’s first career two-goal game made his night memorable for better reasons than last Friday, when he racked up 17 penalty minutes, including a game misconduct. The goal ended a 23-minute long scoring drought for the Bulldogs, their longest so far this season, and made the score 4–2 for Yale.
Cahill refused to take credit for his offensive production.
“We’re working very well together, there’s lots of team chemistry, and everybody is so unselfish,” he said. “We’re all just trying to make plays all the time, and just keep working.”
The Blue kept the momentum going even after left winger Jeff Anderson ’11 was sent off for elbowing 12 seconds later. The Elis refused to stop attacking while shorthanded, and center Kevin Limbert ’12 sent a shot past Reynolds that was waved off because Yale had a man in the crease.
Princeton rebounded quickly in the third period. Ken Trentowski was sent off for interference just 1:31 into the frame, and Princeton forward Matt Arhontas made him pay with a power play goal to make the score 4–3.
But some hard work from Rondeau and Kevin Peel ’12 insured that the Yale lead would stand. Rondeau stopped 12 of 13 shots in the last period — tallying 27 saves on the game — and Peel padded the lead when he lofted a wrist shot over Reynolds’ blocker from the high slot at 9:50 in the period.
Despite Peel’s goal, Princeton kept threatening until the final whistle blew. The referees assigned 30 penalty minutes — 16 to Yale, including a 10-minute misconduct for Anderson — in response to a pileup in front of the Princeton net. Yale came away from the chaos shorthanded, due to a slashing call on Charles Brockett ’12.
The Blue dug themselves deeper when Little crashed into Reynolds on a breakaway and was called for goaltender interference. The Bulldogs killed all but four seconds of the five-on-three, but then Miller was called for hitting from behind, extending Princeton’s two man advantage. But Yale repulsed a desperate Princeton attack, and a hooking penalty against Calof with 2:36 to go sealed the Yale victory.
“Any time you have to battle for a win like this, it’s a good learning experience,” Martin said. “We’ll have to use this and other battles to teach us down the road.”
The Bulldogs look to continue their three-game winning streak when they take on crosstown rival Quinnipiac from Ingalls Rink at 7 p.m. Saturday night.