With Ingalls Rink packed to the brim, the Yale men’s hockey team defeated Brown (8–10–3, 5–6–3 ECAC Hockey) 4–3 on Saturday night to come within a point of first place in the conference.
The Bulldogs (11–7–4, 9–4–1) are tied for second with No. 5 Quinnipiac at 19 points, just one below leader No. 13 Cornell. During last weekend’s road trip to New York, Yale split the pair of games, losing 4-3 in overtime to Union before emerging with a 3–2 victory against RPI. Forward Robbie DeMontis ’20 notched three goals that weekend, while forward and Hobey Baker Award candidate Joe Snively ’19 recorded three points.
“We tried to play our game, which is a speed game,” head coach Keith Allain ’80 said. “The second goal of the game was a nice transition goal, and that’s a critical part of what we are. We also want to be aggressive on the forecheck, and I think we did that well. It was not so much exploiting Brown but to play to our identity.”
The last time Yale faced its travel partner Brown was in late October, when Snively’s two-goal performance secured a 3–2 win for the Bulldogs. His first shot came just 14 seconds into that contest, the fastest goal ever scored in an ECAC season opener. On Saturday night, Snively rose to the occasion again with another pair of goals and an assist
Brown entered the weekend on a hot streak, having won five out of its last seven games. The Elis, however, were eager to stop the Bears’ momentum and fired 19 shots on Brown goalie Luke Kania in the first period. The first tally came from forward Mitchell Smith ’20, who found the puck after a faceoff win and whipped it over Kania’s shoulder into the net. Less than five minutes later, DeMontis sent a hard feed down the left side to Snively, who made a solo breakaway and finished it with a tally.
The Elis scored a third goal, which was later disallowed for offside. Forward Ted Hart ’19 hit a rocket of a shot that was overturned after video review. The Ingalls Rink crowd was up in arms. After all, a considerable amount of time had passed between the infraction and the goal. Still, the Bulldogs were able to grab two more tallies in the contest. Snively scored his second of the night by redirecting a cross from forward Tyler Welsh ’21 in the low slot, before defenseman Jack St. Ivany ’22 scored in the early moments of the third period.
Yale looked like it was running away with the game early on in the third, with the Bulldogs up 4–1. However, Brown grabbed a couple of late scores to finish off the game. The Bears, who had been struggling throughout the game, suddenly became clinical in front of goal with some ice cold passing and deft finishing leading to two quick goals.
“Our goal will be to dictate every aspect of the game,” defender Graham Lillibridge ’22 emphasized before the match. “To stop their momentum, we’ll just have to play our game and execute the game plan.”
In general, the Elis controlled most aspects of the contest. The Bulldogs outshot the Bears 41–36 and dominated faceoff wins 36–29. Goalkeeper Corbin Kaczperski ’20 made several spectacular saves in the final frame and ended the game with a season-best 33 stops. On the other side of the rink, Snively’s outstanding performance brought him up to tied 12th place on Yale’s career goal list with 56 goals.
For the fourth game in a row, captain and defender Anthony Walsh ’19 was absent due to injury. With “A’s” emblazoned on their jerseys for the first time, classmates Snively, Charlie Curti ’19, and Hart have stepped up in Walsh’s place as assistant captains.
“We had a lot of guys blocking shots for me,” Kaczperski said. “The defense did a great job of forcing guys to the outside and clearing out any rebounds I gave up. I really have to give credit to the guys in front of me.”
Next week, the men’s hockey team goes on the road to face No. 5 Quinnipiac and Princeton. The puck drops at 7 p.m.
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