Top-ranked Yale downs Brown 5-2
Rondeau’s 22 saves help Elis hold off Brown
NEW HAVEN, Conn. – The streak lives another day. Five different Bulldogs scored and 10 players had a point as No. 1 Yale beat Brown 5-2 in an ECAC Hockey contest. The win is the Elis’ 10th consecutive and keeps them perfect in conference play.
Yale (15-1, 9-0 ECAC) outshot Brown 40-24 and went 2-for-8 up a man. A sound defensive effort that included 22 saves from senior Ryan Rondeau (12 saves in the third) were key for the Elis in taking the first of the home-and-home series with their travel partner.
The Bears (5-7-4, 3-5-1), scoreless on four power plays, had plenty of highlights. Mike Clemente had many of them with 35 saves, including 17 in the second frame.
Elis' scoring came from Broc Little, Clinton Bourbonais, Andrew Miller, Brian O’Neill and Josh Balch. Kenny Agostino and Chris Cahill both had a pair of assists as the Elis hit the net three times in the third to break open a close game.
“We were finally able to break through in the third. And that was a result of the work we did,” said Yale coach Keith Allain.
The game had a playoff feel both on and off the ice.
The Bears fore-checked well enough in the first period to keep the puck in the Yale end often and even take an early lead despite being outshot 12-5.
Chris Zaires, who grabbed the puck behind the net, wrapped it around the front trying to find a teammate’s stick. Instead it bounced off Mike Juola’s skate and slipped inside the far post 7:00 into the first. It was the freshman’s first goal.
Yale answered almost two minutes later.
Kevin Limbert picked up the puck between the circles in his own end and spotted Little motoring ahead with defenders on both sides. Limbert tossed a spectacularly soft lead feed that spit two Brown defenders before resting on Little’s stick as he moved in two steps ahead of the defense. Clemente stopped the initial shot but Little controlled his balance long enough to get another attempt, which slipped into the net at 9:02.
The Blue took the lead with 1:39 left in the opening frame when a pair of rookies combined on a pretty goal. Agostino grabbed a loose puck inside the Brown blueline and raced into the right circle before leaving it for Bourbonais in the high slot. Bourbonais, playing his fourth game of the year, notched his second goal by wristing a shot past Clemente’s blocker.
The only tally of the second came from the visitors.
Harry Zolnierczyk, on the penalty kill midway through the second, showed why he is Brown’s leading scorer and maybe its fastest skater. He poked the puck free at the Yale point and raced a step ahead of the Eli defense. He flicked a shot past Rondeau a moment after a Yale player was called for slashing him.
The Elis thought the home team had taken the lead with a bit more than two minutes left in the second when Antoine Laganiere re-directed a deflected shot from the point toward the net that hit the left post and zipped along the goal line while drawing the red light and a celebration. The referee behind the net skated in and waved it off. He then went below to confirm his decision on Yale’s video review system.
The Blue did not cash in on a man-advantage until the third period on its sixth try. It gave Yale a 3-2 lead and capped a wild flurry in the visitor’s end that included many close chances before Miller’s blast from the left circle sent the standing-room-only crowd into a celebration.
The home team jumped all over its next opportunity as well. After the Elis killed off a penalty and got through a short 4-on-4, O’Neill banged home a rebound of Cahill’s shot at 6:25 to make it 4-2.
The Bears came close a few times with opportunities that were turned aside by Rondeau and the Bulldog defense. The closest scoring moment came on a penalty kill when captain Jimmy Martin needed to go down on a knee near the crease to prevent the puck from entering an open side of the net with nine minutes left.
Brown pulled Clemente with 2:38 left and Yale slammed the door a dozen seconds later. Balch skated over the red line and fired a shot into the middle of the net.