NEW HAVEN, CT – Facing elimination, sixth-ranked Yale (20-8-3, 15-5-2) built a 4-0 lead after two periods and withstood Brown’s third-period comeback attempt to earn a 6-3 win over the Brown men’s hockey team (11-19-4, 7-12-4) in game two of the ECAC best-of-three Quarterfinal series. With the series now tied at one game apiece, the two teams will square off in the deciding game tomorrow evening at 7:00.
Things did not start well for the Bears, who conceded a goal to the Bulldogs just 26 seconds after the opening faceoff. After freshman Chris Zaires (Aberdeen, NJ) blocked a shot by Yale’s Tom Dignard, Dignard won control of the puck at the left faceoff circle and sent it over to Broc Little at the bottom of the right circle. With sophomore Mike Clemente (Great Falls, VA) stuck on the far post, Little had plenty of net to shoot at, at lifted the puck over Clemente’s outstretched arm and into the back of the net for the early lead.
Skating on their first power play of the night, the Bulldogs extended their lead to 2-0 when Jimmy Martin corralled a lose puck just inside the blueline, skated into the slot and beat Clemente glove-side high at 6:11, prompting head coach Brendan Whittet to utilize his timeout.
On the first shift following the timeout, Brown came out aggressively, putting two clean hits on Yale players. However, the Bulldogs maintained the edge in the period, finishing the opening frame with a 14-5 advantage in shots on goal.
After two early chances for Brown were turned aside by Billy Blase, Clemente made a great stop on a breakaway bid by Little 1:10 into the period. Clemente stoned the Bulldogs’ leading scorer, but lost sight of the puck. However, the Bears’ defense cleared the puck out of danger to end the threat.
The Bears raced back the other way and after Yale regained control, Brown couldn’t get a full line change, which resulted in a third goal for the Bulldogs when Kevin Limbert beat Clemente glove-side from the top of the right circle.
After three straight Yale power play chances and shots 23-8 in
favor of the hosts, Brown finally got a man-advantage chance of its
own at the 8:10 mark of the second period. The Bears failed to take
a single shot and just 18 seconds after the Bulldogs killed the
penalty, Brian O’Neill increased the lead to 4-0 with a
perfectly executed give-and-go.
Following the goal, senior Dan Rosen (Syosset, NY) replaced Clemente between the pipes and he was immediately tested, stopping four shots in his first 3:30 of action. Ryan Donald appeared to give Yale a 5-0 lead at the 14:16 mark of the second, but the goal was immediately disallowed due to a goaltender interference call on Limbert.
Yale was on the offensive again early in the third, taking six shots in the first 2:30 of the period, including one particularly dangerous sequence that saw Rosen stop three shots in a row, all from point-blank range.
With Brown killing its fourth Yale power play of the night, sophomore Jack Maclellan (Calgary, ALB) finally solved Blase, who had stopped 11 shots up until the goal. After blocking a Yale shot, junior Harry Zolnierczyk (Toronto, ONT) skated the puck into the zone with Maclellan on his left. From the top of the right circle, he passed over to Maclellan, who one-timed the puck past Blase, stick-side.
However, no sooner had the Bears gotten on the board that Yale capitalized on the power play chance. Just 1:10 after Maclellan’s marker, O’Neill potted his second of the night, redirecting an Andrew Miller feed past Rosen at the left post.
The Bears appeared poised for a comeback attempt towards the middle third of the period. With 34 seconds remaining on Brown’s third power play of the game, a series of several Yale penalties in a row, gave the Bears consecutive five-on-three chances. The Bears’ best chance of the first five-on-three came soon after the faceoff when senior Aaron Volpatti’s (Revelstoke, BC) shot from the right faceoff circle had Blase beat, but it rang the far post, holding the score at 5-1.
Yale penalties at 11:41, 11:56, and 13:11 would lead to an extended five-on-three situation for the Bears. After several good looks, Volpatti finally got connected for Brown, beating Blase with a high shot from the slot off a pass from sophomore Jeff Buvinow (Turnersville, NJ) at 13:52. Maclellan also assisted the goal with the initial pass to Buvinow at the bottom of the left faceoff circle.
Both teams added one final tally before the final whistle for the 6-3 final. Miller gave Yale a 6-2 lead when he stole the puck at the blueline, skated in on a semi-breakaway, deked Rosen, and pushed the puck around Rosen’s stick at 18:19 and with both teams skating four players.
Less than a minute later, senior Scott Van der Linden (Antigonish, NS) fired a slap shot from the right point, beating Blase for his first career goal. Freshman Jeff Ryan (Media, PA) earned his first career point, making a great play at the blueline to steal the puck away on a Yale breakout attempt, before passing it over to Van der Linden on his right.
Clemente and Rosen Combined for 37 saves, while Blase made 22 for the Bulldogs. Brown and Yale will face off in the deciding game of the series tomorrow evening at 7:00 p.m. The winner of that game will advance to next weekend’s ECAC Hockey Championship Tournament at the Times Union Center in Albany, New York.
YALE 2 2 2 x - 6
First Period – Y, Little (Dignard,
Kearney), 0:26; Y, Martin (Kearney), PP, 6:11. Penalties –B,
1-2; Y, 0-0.
Second Period – Y, Limbert (Kearney), 1:31; Y, O’Neill (Miller, Little), 10:28. Penalties – B, 2-4; Y, 2-4.
Third Period – B, Maclellan (Zolnierczyk), SH, 2:58; Y, O’Neill (Miller, Dignard), PP, 4:08; B, Volpatti (Buvinow, Maclellan), 5x3, 13:52; Y, Miller, 4x4, 18:19; B, Van der Linden (Ryan), 4x4, 19:11. Penalties – B, 4-16; Y, 7-22.
B, Mike Clemente (30:28) – 12-8-x-x – 20; B, Dan Rosen (29:19) – x-8-9-x – 17; Y, Billy Blase (60:00) – 5-6-11-x – 22.
Pictured: The Bears celebrate a goal in game two against Yale. Photo by Bob Karambelas.