It did not look like a night that was going to mark the end of Yale’s losing streak. After falling to Harvard 4–3 on Friday night, the Elis had lost four games in a row and were 0–4–1 in their last five. But the Bulldogs (9–10–2, 6–7–1 ECAC) overcame a 4–1 deficit on Saturday in a 5–4 win over Dartmouth (9–9–2, 6–6–1) to end their slide and surpass Brown and Princeton in the ECAC standings.
“It was a tremendous win,” head coach Keith Allain ’80 said in a Yale Athletics press release. “Our guys did a great job of overcoming adversity. This was a real testament to their mental toughness.”
Heading into the game, Allain decided to alter the lineup by putting Nick Maricic ’13 in net after Jeff Malcolm ’13 allowed four goals to Harvard on Friday night. But after a disastrous first period, Allain’s change appeared to have backfired. Maricic allowed four goals in the first frame, and the Elis looked to be in deep trouble.
Luckily for the Elis, however, Maricic managed to keep the Big Green out of the net the rest of the way as Yale initiated a comeback.
“[Maricic] was huge,” forward Kenny Agostino ’14 said. “In the second and third period he really shut it down, and that was huge for our team’s comeback.”
After Yale scored three straight goals to tie things up at four in the third period, the game appeared to be destined for overtime. That was when Agostino took the game into his own hands.
With just 34 seconds left in regulation, defenseman Colin Dueck ’13 took the puck in the Yale end and flipped a clearance down the ice. As Dartmouth was changing lines, Agostino scooped up the puck, moved past a defenseman and fired the game-winner.
“I was able to get a fortunate bounce,” Agostino said in the press release. “The defense cheated toward O’Neill, and I was able to beat [Goggin] on the short side.”
The Elis were outshot 20–13 in the opening frame and went down just four minutes into the game when the Big Green’s Tyler Sikura put the puck past Maricic.
But the Elis struck back quickly as forward Kevin Limbert ’12 put away a rebound from Jesse Root ’14 just one minute later. Although the Bulldogs had tied the score at one, the Big Green then took the reins and went on a goal-scoring frenzy.
Dartmouth regained the lead when, halfway through the opening period, Dartmouth blueliner Connor Goggin’s shot bounced off the end boards and onto the stick of teammate Troy Mattila, who scored his first goal of the year with an easy put-back. Only 25 seconds later, Eric Robinson’s wrist shot from the slot extended Dartmouth’s lead to 3–1.
Although Dartmouth’s offense dominated for the first 20 minutes of the game, it failed to find the back of the net again as the Bulldogs proceeded to outshoot the Big Green 25–13 over the last two periods. Allain attributed the turn-around to the team’s seniors.
“Our senior class showed tremendous leadership after the first period to get their teammates going,” Allain said in the press release.
The Elis began their comeback by killing off two penalties at the beginning of the second period, allowing just three shots on goal while playing a man down. The Bulldogs’ sustained offensive pressure gradually wore down the Dartmouth defense until Agostino scored his first goal of the night halfway through the frame.
With Yale down 4–2 after Agostino’s goal, the third period started off in a one-sided fashion as the Bulldogs’ relentless fore-checking and barrage of shots 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 and the Bulldogs pushing to tie things up, Root scored the equalizer on Yale’s second power play of the night. The center took a shot from the right circle that seemed to vanish and then reappear in the net, silencing a sellout crowd at Darthmouth’s Thompson Arena in Hanover, N.H.
“I shot it and didn’t see what happened after,” Root said in the press release. “It must have hit a Dartmouth player.”
Friday night’s game, however, was a much different story for the Bulldogs. The Elis outshot the Cantabs by a 39–35 margin but fell short, losing 3–4 in Harvard’s Bright Hockey Center.
The Crimson played disciplined hockey, allowing the Elis only one power play on the night. That was in the first period, but Yale was unable to capitalize. Harvard, however, saw four power plays over the course of the night and converted on one of them.
After defenseman Nick Jaskowiak ’12 went to the box for tripping, Harvard had an offensive advantage, and Marshall Everson scored his eighth goal of the year to put the Cantabs up 3–2 with about 10 minutes to play.
Although they went down 1–0 only four minutes into the game, the Bulldogs scored two goals just 13 seconds apart to take back the lead in the blink of an eye.
After Jaskowiak put in a shot from the blueline, forward Andrew Miller ’13 chased down a puck in the Harvard end after the face-off. After picking up the puck, he passed to captain Brian O’Neill ’12 in the high slot. Moving past a defender, O’Neill beat Harvard goalie Steve Michalek stick-side for his 13th tally of the season.
The Crimson came back and took a 3–2 lead, however, the Elis managed to play catch-up one more time. With only four minutes remaining, defenseman Gus Young ’14 corralled a failed Harvard clearance and fired a quick snap shot to tie things up at three.
But Harvard won the battle down the stretch. With about one minute left to play, Harvard’s Alex Killorn scored his second goal of the night after an odd-man rush gave him an open shot from the right side of the ice. After Yale goalie Jeff Malcolm ’13 saved Killorn’s first attempt, the Harvard center tried again and managed to put a backhand between Malcolm’s legs for a 4–3 victory for the Crimson.
With a 1–1 record on the weekend, the Elis have 13 points in the ECAC standings and remain only three points out of a tie for fourth place. The Bulldogs are currently in seventh place in the ECAC.
The Elis will be back in action against St. Lawrence and Clarkson next weekend at Ingalls Rink.