NEW HAVEN, CT – A pair of third-period Yale power play goals opened up a 2-2 game and helped lift the #1 Bulldogs (15-1-0, 9-0-0) to a 5-2 win over the Brown men's hockey team (5-7-4, 3-5-1) on Saturday afternoon in the first half of a home-and-home series at Yale's Ingalls' Rink.
The two teams came flying out of the gates and Yale quickly held a 5-1 advantage in shots during the first 4:43, before going up on the game's first power play.
The Bears were perfect on the kill, not allowing a single shot on goal to the Bulldogs and giving up just four total – two that were wide and two that were blocked by freshman Dennis Robertson (Fort St. John, BC).
Just 17 seconds after the penalty expired, the Bears grabbed a 1-0 lead on sophomore Chris Zaires' (Aberdeen, NJ) fifth goal of the year. Senior Jesse Fratkin (Burnaby, BC) collected the puck from freshman Mike Juola (Lake Forest, CA) and played it behind the net for Zaires. Zaires went for a wrap-around attempt and the puck deflected off Ryan Rondeau's skate and behind the senior goalie for the 1-0 lead exactly seven minutes in.
However, just 2:02 later, the Bulldgos tied the score at 1-1 when Broc Little put away the rebound of his own first attempt on a breakaway. Junior Mike Clemente (Great Falls, VA) made the first save, but Little scooped up the puck and beat the junior goalie stick-side for his 13th of the season.
The Bulldogs grabbed a 2-1 lead at 18:21 of the first period when Clinton Boubonais and Kenny Agostino combined on a two-on-one rush. Clemente made the initial save on Agostino's shot from the left side, but the puck bounced down to Clemente's left and Bourbonais was there to tap it into the open net before Clemente could recover.
The two teams traded power play chances to start the second period and with Yale on its second of the period and third of the game, senior Harry Zolnierczyk (Toronto ONT) connected on a short-handed breakaway to tie the game at 2-2. After intercepting a Yale pass at the blueline, Zolnierczyk raced in behind a pair of Bulldogs' defensemen and beat Rondeau stick-side high for his 10th goal of the season.
After Brown contained Yale on three straight power play opportunities, one of which was broken up by 1:41 of four-on-four action, the Bulldogs thought they had taken a 3-2 lead with just over two minutes left in the second when Antoine Laganiere back-handed the puck off the far post from the right side. The light game on, but the referee Bryan Hicks was right there and immediately waved the goal off. After a brief video review, it was ruled that the puck never crossed the line, and the teams headed into the locker rooms tied at two.
After killing the first five Yale power play chances, the Bears were unable to kill the sixth, as Andrew Miller beat Clemente on a blast from the left point with eight second left on Yale's sixth man-advantage of the night to give the Bulldogs a 3-2 lead just 2:21 into the third period.
The Bulldogs took advantage of their eighth power play to double their lead, when Brian O'Neill lifted the puck into a partially open net after Clemente made the save on Chris Cahill's initial shot from close-range.
Brown nearly got one back at the tail end of its fourth power play of the night, but with Rondeau out of position, the Yale defense was able to clog the crease, keeping the puck of the net and the score, 4-2, in favor of the Bulldogs.
With an offensive zone faceoff coming up for the Bears, Brown pulled Clemente in favor of the extra attacker with 2:38 remaining. Just 12 seconds later, Josh Balch rifled the puck into the open net for the 5-2 final.
Clemente recorded 35 saves, including all 17 in the second period, while Rondeau made 22 for the Bulldogs. Brown and Yale return to action tomorrow afternoon when they conclude the regular season games against each other in a 4:00 p.m. contest at Meehan Auditorium.
BROWN 1 1 0 x - 2
#1 YALE 2 0 3 x - 5
First Period – B, Zaires (Fratkin, Juola), 7:00; Y, Little (Limbert), 9:02; Y, Bourbonais (Agostino), 18:21. Penalties –B, 1-2; Y, 1-2.
Second Period – B, Zolnierczyk (Robertson), SH, 9:10. Penalties – B, 4-8; Y, 1-2.
Third Period – Y, Miller (Cahill, O'Neill), PP, 3:08; Y, O'Neill (Cahill, Miller), PP, 6:25; Y, Balch (Ziegler, Mason), EN, 17:34. Penalties – B, 3-6; Y, 2-4.
B, Mike Clemente (59:48) – 10-17-8-x – 35; Y, Ryan Rondeau (60:00) – 4-6-12-x – 22.
Pictured: Chris Zaires '13. Photo by DSPics.net.