It didn’t look a night that was going to mark the end of Yale’s losing streak.
The Bulldogs (9–10–2, 6–7–1 ECAC), who entered the game mired in a four-game losing streak, surrendered four first period goals and entered the first intermission down 4–1. But they bounced back after the break, held Dartmouth (9–9–2, 6–6–1) scoreless for the rest of the game and tallied four goals of their own in the final 40 minutes to stun the Big Green 5–4 in Hanover.
Winger Kenny Agostino ’14 notched the game-winning goal, his second of the night, with 34 seconds left.
“It was a tremendous win,” head coach Keith Allain ’80 said. “Our guys did a great job of overcoming adversity. This was a real testament to their mental toughness.”
Allain made a critical line-up change before the game, starting Nick Maricic ’13 over Jeff Malcolm ’13, who allowed four goals in a loss to Harvard on Friday night. But the move seemed to have backfired as Maricic endured a nightmarish first period.
Dartmouth’s Tyler Sikura drew first blood just 3:49 into the game, flicking the puck over Maricic.
The Elis, who were outshot 20–13 in the opening frame, tied the game at 1–1 when forward Kevin Limbert ’12 knocked in a rebounding shot by center Jesse Root ’14. But the Big Green would dominate the rest of the first period.
Halfway through the period, blueliner Connor Goggin’s shot bounced off the end boards and into the stick of Troy Mattila, who scored his first goal of the year with an easy put back. 25 seconds later, Eric Robinson’s wrist shot from the slot extended Dartmouth’s lead to 3–1.
Paul Lee notched the Big Green’s final goal of the night with four minutes left in the first period, pulling the puck loose from a scrum in front of the crease for his first goal of the season.
While Dartmouth’s offense dominated for the first 20 minutes of the game, it could not unable to find the back of the net again and was outshot by the Bulldogs 25–13 in the last two periods.
“Our senior class showed tremendous leadership after the first period to get their teammates going,” Allain said.
The Elis began their comeback by killing off two penalties at the beginning of the second period, allowing just three shots on goal while a man down. The Bulldogs’ sustained offensive pressure gradually worn down the Dartmouth defense and goalie James Mello.
Midway through the game, Agostino cut the deficit in half off a pass from right winger Antoine Laganiere ’13.
The third period started off in an one-sided fashion as the Bulldogs’ constant fore-checking and shots on goal overwhelmed Dartmouth. Defenseman Tommy Fallen ’15 pulled the Blue and White within a goal after knocking in a low shot inside the near post five minutes into the third period.
With 11:18 left, Root scored the equalizer on Yale’s second power play of the night, shooting from the right point and silencing a sellout crowd at the Thompson Arena.
“I shot it and didn’t see what happened after. It must have hit a Dartmouth player,” Root said.
Dartmouth’s blue line held off the Yale offense for the next ten minutes and the game seemed to be heading toward overtime. But with less than 40 seconds left in regulation, defenseman Colin Dueck ’13 flicked the puck from the Yale end into the other side, catching defender Goggin out of position. Agostino took the pass, moved around the defender and finished the comeback.
“I was able to get a fortunate bounce,” said Agostino. “The defense cheated toward O’Neill and I was able to beat [Goggin] on the short side.”
The Bulldogs will face off against St. Lawrence and Clarkson next weekend at home.