HAMDEN, Conn. – Road games in recent weeks have presented new challenges for Yale, so the Bulldogs could not have been overly confident heading to a place where they had never won. It sure didn’t look that way after 60 minutes as five players hit the net and Ryan Rondeau stopped 30 of 31 shots as No. 3 Yale beat Quinnipiac 6-1 before 3,957 fans at the TD Bank Sports Center.
Denny Kearney had two goals while Chad Ziegler, Kevin Limbert, Jimmy Martin and Brian O’Neill tallied goals as the Elis (21-5, 15-4 ECAC) outshot the Bobcats 42-31. Kenny Agostino had two assists on a night when his team scored two shorthanders. The win helped the Blue remain one point behind Union in the race for conference title with three games left in the regular season.
Neither team was very successful with the man-advantage. Yale went 1 for 6 while the Cats scored once on five attempts. Rondeau, and an excellent defensive effort in the visitor’s end, kept Quinnipiac (13-13-5, 6-9-4) off the board when things got tight.
“We were very good right from the start. It’s a lot easier playing in front,” said Yale coach Keith Allain, whose team is now 7-5 on the road. “We had a great week of practice, and we feel great about ourselves on the road.”
Eric Hartzell got the start in net for Quinnipiac and made 23 saves in two periods before being replaced by Dan Clarke (13 saves).
First periods have been an on-and-off thing lately for the Bulldogs, but Friday it was clearly on. Yale may only have outshot the Cats 12-11, but the Blue buzzed the offensive end and moving the puck up ice with great speed. The visitors, who couldn’t find the net on four advantages, still grabbed a 2-0 lead at the intermission.
First Ken Trentowski rifled a shot from the point that may have bounced off a defender. The puck went over Hartzell’s shoulder at 3:57 for his first tally of the year.
The Bulldogs used their first penalty kill of the night to get the second one. Chris Cahill won the race to a loose puck along the Yale blueline and chipped it out. Limbert took it at center ice with a defender between him and the Quinnipiac net. Limbert created a little space and then let fly a nasty wrister that stunned the home netminder with just 14 seconds left in the first for his sixth of the season.
Very few people in the packed building noticed that Yale had taken a three-goal lead 6:36 into the second. But the scoreboard didn’t change. A minute later after play had stopped, the referees were heading for the scorer’s booth to have a look.
Martin, who took a pass from Antoine Laganiere, shot the puck from the right circle. It whizzed over Hartzell’s shoulder and through the back left side of the net. The puck bounced to the ice, no referee signaled a goal and the lamp did not go on. From the press box, you could see the net flutter and it was no surprise that the officials went to the video to confirm the captain’s fifth goal of the season.
The Yale players on the bench saw it and asked for a review.
Kearney (13 goals), Yale’s active leading scorer against the Bobcats with seven goals, was at it again Friday. The senior forward, skating 4 on 4, took a pass from Colin Dueck, skated into the middle of the slot and then fired a rising shot past Hartzell’s stick at 11:16.
The home team broke through on a power play with 5:47 left in the second to cut the margin to 4-1. A crossing feed in the low slot turned into a Kellen Jones goal at 14:13, but that is all the Cats could get past Rondeau.
The Eli special teams answered the Jones goal almost a minute later when O’Neill one-timed a tip-over from Agostino at 15:23. Kevin Peel took a shot from the point and the freshman forward moved it over to O’Neill (16) before the goalie could cover the opening and prevent Yale from going up 5-1.
Yale’s special teams became even more special when the Bobcats, on a two-man advantage, pulled Clarke for a 6 on 3 late in the period. Quinnipiac got off three shots, two of which were blocked, before Kearney gathered in the puck in the low slot and fired a full-ice shot into the back of the net at 15:57.