An unlikely pair of forwards lifted the men’s hockey team to a huge victory over Princeton (9–16–7, 6–12–4 ECAC) in the deciding game of the Elis’ opening series of the ECAC playoffs. Antoine Laganiere ’13 and Anthony Day ’15 combined for five goals to lead the Yale offense to a 7–3 win over Princeton and into an ECAC quarterfinal date with archrival Harvard next weekend.

In a tight series, the third and final game was much closer than the final score indicated. The two sides went back and forth all night as Princeton refused to be put away for most of the game.

Still, early on it looked as though the game would be a blowout. The Bulldogs (15–14–3, 10–10–2) scored three times in the first 11 minutes to deflate the Tigers, who came in riding high after a thrilling 5–4 overtime win Saturday night.

Day did his damage during this early assault. He kicked off the scoring about five minutes into the game. Standing at the left circle, Day took a pass from Kenny Agostino ’14, turned and fired a shot past Princeton goaltender Sean Bonar.

After Laganiere put in his first of three goals with a shorthanded tally, Day struck again off of an assist from Agostino. A tumbling Day knocked in Agostino’s centering pass right in front of the goal crease.

Day’s two goals Sunday matched his total for the entire regular season.

The next five tallies saw the Ancient Eight foes go blow-for-blow. Princeton stayed in the game with a late goal in the first period, but Yale came right back and killed the Tigers’ momentum when Laganiere notched his second goal of the game.

Princeton’s Andrew Calof rebounded with his second goal of the game to make the score 4–2. Calof scored twice on the Elis for three of the past four games.

With three minutes remaining in the second frame, Laganiere took a puck in the right circle and moved into the slot. He then moved past a defender and fired quick shot to beat Bonar for a hat trick. Fans at Ingalls Rink threw a shower of hats on the ice accordingly.

It appeared Princeton had taken its final punch ith the score at 5–2 going into the third period. But the Tigers had a little more fight left in them as Michael Sdao scored less than a minute into the final frame.

The score remained at 5–3 for almost 17 minutes until the Bulldogs put pesky Princeton away for good. Captain Brian O’Neill ’12 hit a diving empty netter, and Clint Bourbonais ’14 scored Yale’s second power play goal of the night to send Yale home with the victory.

Princeton continually fought back on the scoreboard, but the Tigers also got physics in refusal to go home without a fight. The Orange and Black committed ten infractions, and the Elis scored two power play goals in seven tries.

The Tigers lost their tempers in the last two minutes, as they were called for four penalties after the 18 minute mark. With 1:58 left, Princeton defenseman Michael Sdao and Yale defenseman Gus Young ’14 were both ejected after Young provoked Sdao into checking him to the ice following the whistle.

On the other side of special teams play, the Yale penalty kill looked as good as it has all season and will be crucial when the team travels to Harvard next weekend. Princeton went just 1–8 on the power play.

Jeff Malcolm ’13 stepped up big in net for the Elis. Although he had not started since Feb. 11, Malcolm got the call tonight and made 27 saves. Although Maricic has played well down the stretch, Malcolm’s performance gives head coach Keith Allain ’80 something to think about for next weekend.

The Bulldogs will travel to Cambridge next weekend to take on Harvard in a three-game series for a chance to advance to the ECAC semifinals in Atlantic City, N.J.