Following a 3–0 loss to No. 2/3 Quinnipiac, the Yale men’s hockey team returned to Ingalls Rink on Saturday night for a contest against Princeton that both started and ended on a sour note.
Yale faced its first major challenge prior to the start of the game, when star Eli goaltender Alex Lyon ’17 took a shot in warmups that would keep him from playing. Nearly a full 60 minutes of play later, the Bulldogs would allow two goals in the last four minutes to let the Tigers pull ahead and earn a 4–2 victory, extending Yale’s losing streak to three games.
“It was a tough one to lose,” forward Frankie DiChiara ’17 said. “You’ve got to hand it to [Princeton]. They’re a good hockey team.”
The Elis (5–4–2, 3–3–2 ECAC Hockey) came out strong in the first, aiming several shots at Princeton goaltender Colton Phinney within the initial five minutes, including two that bounced off his pads and an opportunity in front of the net for forward Joe Snively ’19. The teams kept pace, both staying off the scoreboard for the first half of the period.
A slashing penalty called on defenseman Rob O’Gara ’16 nearly 13 minutes into the game gave Princeton (4–8–0, 3–5–0) an advantage, but it was not until that power play ended that the scoring began.
Thirty seconds after Yale’s penalty kill, Tiger forward Garrett Skrbich approached the net and sent the puck past Yale goaltender Patrick Spano ’17 for the first goal of the night. The second goal would follow just 10 seconds later as Princeton took a 2–0 lead on a rush from forward Spencer Kryczka.
Defenseman Ryan Obuchowski ’16 one-timed a shot at Phinney with only a minute remaining, but with no success, and the Bulldogs ended the period down by a pair of goals.
“I feel like [Princeton] defended harder than we wanted to offend, and that’s why we were just missing,” head coach Keith Allain ’80 said. “We have to work harder in those puck battles, we have to have stronger sticks, we have to anticipate rebounds. We’re kind of just hoping it’s going to happen and you’ve got to make it happen.”
Both goalies had impressive saves in a scoreless second frame that included two power-play chances for each team.
Spano bounced a puck off his stick in midair and later found himself at the bottom of a pileup in front net, resulting in another save.
Phinney’s skilled goaltending could be seen by a save during an Eli power play, when he dove in front of the net and deflected the puck to the cross bar.
The third period opened with 1:45 remaining on a Tiger power play, and this advantage would only grow when Snively was sent to the penalty box for cross checking. The Elis managed to stave off Princeton for over three straight minutes of power play, including 37 seconds of 5-on-3 action.
After trailing 2–0 for nearly 40 minutes of play, the Elis finally found the net with just 11 minutes remaining. Defenseman Anthony Walsh ’19 put Yale on the board with an unassisted shot that marked the first goal of his collegiate career.
Two minutes later, forward John Hayden ’17 would eliminate the Tiger’s one-goal advantage, sending the puck past Phinney in a power-play goal with assists from O’Gara and Snively.
However, the Bulldogs could not hold back the Princeton offense. With less than four minutes remaining, Tiger forward Ryan Siiro took advantage of a breakaway opportunity to once again put Princeton in the lead. An empty net goal in the last minute would bring the final score to 4–2 in the Elis’ second-consecutive ECAC Hockey defeat.
Yale returns to Ingalls on Friday night to face Boston University.