In perhaps its most complete effort of the season, the No. 11 Yale men’s hockey team defeated No. 20 Dartmouth 5–1 at Ingalls Rink on Friday.
A trio of first-period scores and 21 saves by goaltender Alex Lyon ’17 helped the Bulldogs, who never once trailed, win their second straight contest.
“We’ve played a number of good games this year, but I was really pleased with the way we played tonight,” head coach Keith Allain ’80 said.
After having to come back from an early 2–0 deficit in Hanover in November before winning 4–2, it was the Bulldogs’ turn to open with an explosive offensive start. Two goals on their first three shots — both by forward Stu Wilson ’16 — early in the period set the tone for the full 20 minutes, during which the Elis (13–5–4, 8–4–3 ECAC Hockey) more than doubled Dartmouth (11–9–1, 8–7–0) in shots, edging them 11–5.
In both goals, which were separated by just 47 seconds, Wilson took advantage of a loose puck for two quick shots on goal. The first goal was a rebound off a shot sent from the stick of forward Joe Snively ’19, which was quickly followed by a tap-in of a shot from forward John Hayden ’17 to give the Bulldogs a 2–0 lead in the first six minutes.
“[Hayden, Snively and I] felt [ourselves working well together] in practice and it wasn’t really showing on the scoreboard, but tonight we kind of broke through and hopefully we can continue that,” Wilson said.
Dartmouth broke the Elis’ stride two minutes later when Big Green forward Carl Hesler finished a two-on-one attempt, the only shot to make it past Lyon in the contest.
But the Bulldogs would soon answer. Less than seven minutes before the first intermission, Snively fired a shot from the circle that found the top corner of the net, leaving Dartmouth netminder Charles Grant sprawled on the ice and giving Yale a 3–1 edge heading into the locker room.
A first for the 2015–16 Elis occurred early in the second period as Snively sat in the penalty box due to a tripping minor. Captain and defenseman Mitch Witek ’16 sent a long pass across the ice to forward Carson Cooper ’16, who sent the puck at Big Green goaltender Charles Grant. Grant was not able to catch Cooper’s shot cleanly, and forward Cody Learned ’16, following behind, drove home the rebound to extend the Bulldogs’ advantage to 4–1 with Yale’s first shorthanded goal of the campaign.
“[Cooper] did a good job on the rush,” Learned said. “He got a shot on net [and] the rebound just kind of popped to me.”
After Learned’s score — which extended the senior’s point streak to three games — Dartmouth replaced Grant with netminder James Kruger, who would stop all 13 shots he faced in the frame. The Elis, however, would kill all four second-period Dartmouth power play chances and hold onto a 4–1 lead as the final period began.
And Kruger would not hold his clean sheet for long, as forward John Hayden ’17 rounded out the game’s scoring with a one-timer, off of a Snively pass, through the senior goalie’s legs on Yale’s first shot of the frame. Lyon was never seriously challenged in the third period, and his team outshot the Big Green by a final tally of 36–22.
The Bulldogs’ impressive victory sets the stage for a sold-out Saturday showdown with No. 7 Harvard, which defeated Brown on Friday in Providence. That game will be the last of Yale’s current four-game homestand.
“Anytime we play [Harvard] it’s a huge game,” Learned said. “They have a really good team this year, so we’re definitely excited and focused.”
Puck drop against the Crimson is scheduled for 7 p.m.