When Quinnipiac took a 2–1 lead one minute into the second period, the Yale men’s hockey team looked doomed to suffer a twelve consecutive winless outing against their cross-town rivals, but a rally powered by a pair of goals from forward Ted Hart ’19 lifted the Elis over the Bobcats 3–2, their first victory in the rivalry since the 2013 National Championship.
A sold-out Ingalls Rink saw the Bulldogs (13–11–1, 8–9–1 ECAC Hockey) topple Quinnipiac (12–14–4, 7–9–2) on Friday night, the first time for any player on the roster. The Bulldogs’ momentum from Friday night carried over to the matchup against Princeton (11–11–3, 8–9–1) on Saturday, allowing the Elis to extend their win streak to four games following an impressive 7–2 beatdown of the Tigers highlighted by a pair of hat tricks from forwards Evan Smith ’20 and Joe Snively ’19.
“We’re getting a little confidence in ourselves,” Smith said. “We’re just playing the game right with a lot of energy and positivity, and everyone is feeding off each other. When we block shots the whole bench gets up and cheers, and it’s just really contagious, so I think that’s been a huge upside for our team.”
In front of a full house, Yale gave its throng of fans a reason to celebrate when defender Billy Sweezey ’20 wristed the game’s opening score past Quinnipiac netminder Keith Petruzzelli at 11:32 in the first period. Sweezey, who entered Friday’s contest without a goal, showed off some superb stickwork by dangling a Bobcat defender and going five-hole to break the deadlock and put Yale ahead.
But Yale’s lack of discipline caused problems. The team took three consecutive penalties spanning the end of the first and beginning of the second periods. The Elis were granted a reprieve on the first occasion, but Quinnipiac made no mistake on its second and third power play chances.
Forward Brandon Fortunato whistled home an equalizer on the player advantage at 19:32 to make it 1–1 and spoil an otherwise spectacular first-period performance by goalie Sam Tucker ’19. The Bobcats replicated that sequence shortly into the second period when forward Odeen Tufto scored a power-play goal to make it 2–1 Quinnipiac just 72 seconds into the period with Sweezey in box.
Trailing by a single goal, the Bulldogs turned to forward Hart for a spark on offense, and the junior forward delivered two consecutive goals at 13:58 and 16:57 in the middle stanza to put the Bulldogs back ahead 3–2 heading into the third period.
“On the first one Snively had it in the corner, and I went around the net, and the puck was pretty much just lying it front of me. It was almost like a gift,” Hart said. “The goalie maybe misplaced his hand over the puck, and it just slid right to me. On the last one I just tried to go hard to the back door, and [forward] Dante [Palecco ’21] was able to find me for the tap-in.”
The combination of several piped shots by Quinnipiac along with some dazzling saves by Tucker allowed the Bulldogs to protect their one-goal lead for most of final frame. The Bulldogs had numerous chances to kill off the game in their best period of the day, but Petruzzelli stood strong in net. But, following a cross-checking infraction taken by forward Kevin O’Neil ’21 after the whistle, the Elis were forced to go on the penalty kill with 2:04 left to play.
With the goalie pulled, Quinnipiac seemed destined to draw level with two minutes of 6-on-4 hockey in Yale’s defensive zone that effectively turned into 6-on-3 for almost a minute when a Yale stick broke, but a remarkable penalty-killing effort by the Bulldogs sealed the deal.
Yale’s offense did not miss a beat as the Elis jumped out to a quick 3–0 lead just six minutes after the puck dropped in Saturday night’s contest. The Bulldogs were already on the scoreboard one minute and 45 seconds into the first period after Princeton goaltender Ryan Ferland failed to stop a shot fired from Smith on the far left of the goal. Before the Tiger defense had time to collect itself, Yale’s leading scorer, Snively, doubled the Bulldogs’ lead, beating his defender and flicking the puck past Ferland.
Yale’s sixth shot of the game resulted in Smith tallying his second goal, causing Princeton to pull Ferland for senior Ben Halford, who had not played a full game in net for the Tigers in the 2017–18 season.
“It was a really good play by [Snively],” Smith said of his first goal. “He kind of posted up, drew the defenseman in and gave a little pass to me. I was just trying to get it off really quickly and snuck it right through. I don’t even know if I saw it go in.”
During the second period Princeton seemed to find its bearings. After defender Adam Larkin ’18 and Princeton’s David Hallisey were both sent to the box for roughing, the Tigers capitalized on the four-on-four play, and forward Eric Robinson scored on netminder Corbin Kaczperski ’20 for Princeton’s first goal of the night.
The Tigers cut the deficit even further just 73 seconds later with a goal from Alex Riche. Princeton’s fortunes seemed to be ascendant as it won the opening faceoff of the final frame down by a solitary goal, but the Bulldogs dominated the remainder of the game.
“We’re really happy with the way we started,” Siembida said. “You can’t expect to keep [Princeton] off the scoreboard or for them not to get chances. They were carrying the play for a little bit in the second, but again we came back and responded the way we needed to and at the right time.”
The Bulldogs put the game away in the final minutes, assisted by some key Tiger turnovers. Smith completed his hat trick during a fast break early in the third period. Snively netted twice more in the third to complete a hat trick of his own before Smith added his fourth goal with under three minutes to play. This marked the first time two Yale players have scored a hat trick in the same game since 2011.
The Bulldogs will look to build off their second weekend sweep as they travel to Colgate and Cornell next weekend for the penultimate weekend of regular season play.
Joey Kamm | firstname.lastname@example.org
Jane Miller | email@example.com