After being blitzed by a hungrier Colgate team last night, the No. 19 Yale men’s ice hockey team produced a significantly improved performance against Cornell, but failed to get a positive result, falling 6–3.
The Big Red scored five times in the first two periods, including a hat trick from leading scorer Mitch Vanderlaan, chasing Yale goaltender Patrick Spano ’17 from the game. The Elis put three pucks in the back of the net in the second, but were otherwise unable to translate their possession and shot dominance into goals.
“I was pleased with the way we played,” head coach Keith Allain ’80 said. “I thought we played the type of hockey you need to play to get a win. Obviously we didn’t get the result we wanted, but I thought in many aspects of the game we were the better hockey team, except for keeping it out of our net.”
Cornell took a 1–0 lead just under four minutes into the game. Four seconds after the first Big Red penalty of the period expired, forward Mitch Vanderlaan wristed his team-leading third goal of the season past Spano with a little help from the post at 3:49. Cornell had a golden opportunity when two Yale freshmen headed to the box within thirty seconds of each other, but the Eli penalty kill stood firm to stymie the Cornell power play.
Seven seconds after the second penalty expired, Cornell doubled its lead, with forward Alex Rauter finishing neatly past Spano from point-blank range at 8:18. Cornell took four penalties in the last 11 minutes, but the Yale power play sputtered and failed to put the puck in the net.
Yale spent nearly half of the first period on the power play, but was unable to convert the extra skater into a goal. Instead, sloppy transitions sent the Bulldogs into the locker room down two goals.
Fireworks sparked for both teams in a dynamic second period that saw six goals — three for each side — and 33 shots on goal, although it ended in the same place, with Cornell holding a two-goal lead. The Big Red got on the board early, after killing off back-to-back minors to start the period. The Elis failed to clear a loose puck along the sideboards, and it squirted out to Vanderlaan in the slot, where he placed a precise shot past Spano at 5:37.
“When we got down 3–0, we were positive, the bench was good,” Allain said. “The guys felt we were going to come back. We almost came all the way back, but didn’t quite get there.”
Yale rallied and got a goal back through forward and captain John Hayden ’17 at 7:31 of the second. Hayden grabbed his second of the game to pull the Bulldogs within a goal. He tapped home the rebound of a shot from forward Joe Snively ’19 through the five-hole of Cornell goalie Mitch Gillam, as Yale finally converted on its seventh power play opportunity. Vanderlaan polished off his hat trick at 14:34 of the second, tapping home the rebound after Spano had denied the initial effort from Big Red defender Yanni Kaldis.
The Bulldogs cut the deficit to one again with a well-worked offensive combination. Forward Andrew Gaus ’19 stickhandled into the Cornell zone before wheeling on a dime and firing a precise pass into the path of forward Mike Doherty ’17, who finished coolly into the top corner at 18:18. But the Big Red sent a salvo in reply before the end of the period, as forward Trevor Yates launched a rocket above Spano on his blocker side with 51 seconds left in the period, to restore the Big Red’s two-goal lead at 5–3.
“This is the best I’ve seen Mitch [Gillam] play this year,” Cornell head coach Mike Schafer said. “What makes him special is that when he’s on his game, he doesn’t give up rebounds for second chances. Yale throws a lot of pucks to the net, and [on the] one that got away from him, Hayden is right there [to score]. For the most part he did a great job.”
Goalie Sam Tucker ’19 came out for the third period to replace Spano, making his first career appearance. The Elis started the period on the penalty kill, but soon resumed normal service, putting pressure on the Cornell zone. Forward Frankie DiChiara ’17 nearly brought the Bulldogs back into the game, but his blast from the point bounced back off the post.
The Elis failed to solve Gillam for the rest of the period, despite creating several high-quality chances. Yale appeared to be granted one last opportunity when Cornell was whistled for its tenth penalty of the game with 2:37 to play, but the officials sent DiChiara to the box as well for embellishment. With Tucker pulled for an extra skater, the Big Red added some final gloss to the scoreline, as forward Anthony Angello tapped home into the empty net from a Yates feed from behind the cage with one second remaining.
“We showed a lot of resilience,” Hayden said. “We just have to stick to the process and understand that it’s a long season. I thought we were much better than last night, we stuck to our system, played more of 60-minute game. Sometimes you play the right way and don’t win.”
Yale does not play again at Ingalls Rink until Dec. 9.