Bulldogs Bite Bears 4-3
PROVIDENCE, R.I. – Henry Hart's power-play shot from the point with 5:54 left was the game-winner in a 4-3 ECAC Hockey win for Yale over Brown. That goal from the junior defenseman was the culmination of a comeback from two goals down that enabled the Elis to grab two important conference points.
On a night with 17 penalties, four power-play goals, one short-hander, great saves and end-to-end action, the Blue converted three advantages while getting half of its 32 shots on target with an extra skater.
Meanwhile, senior goalie Patrick Spano made 23 saves, including nine big ones in the final period, to help grab the front end of a home-and-home with Yale's travel partner.
"I feel fortunate because it was not our best game," said Keith Allain '80, Yale's Malcolm G. Chace Head Coach. "Our power play made a difference tonight."
Yale's second elbowing penalty of the first period gave the home team its best chance to put something on the scoreboard, and the Bears used it for a power-play tally with 8:22 left.
The Elis, who buzzed the Brown end with an aggressive and productive fore-check the first five minutes of the game, got even before the first intermission on a pretty Snively pass that resulted in the first career goal for Robbie DeMontis. Snively, with a delayed penalty in place, had the puck at the top of the right circle and sent a crossing feed to the bottom of the left circle that was one-timed by the freshman center while the Blue skated 6-on-5. The goal came almost two minutes after Brown opened the scoring.
"Snives [Snively] made an unbelievable pass to me," said DeMontis. "I was back door and all I needed to do was tap it in. It really doesn't get much easier than that. It felt good to get my first out of the way. "
The Bears found the net early in the second and then added a shorthanded goal with 7:25 left to grab a 3-1 lead. However, the Elis were still able to take advantage of a tired Brown team coming off a penalty kill. The Yale captain smashed Snively's feed from behind the goal line over Gavin Nieto's shoulder. The blast from the high slot sailed into the net and bounced out as quickly as it entered.
Spano, who needed some huge puck stops to keep the Blue in the middle frame, also had to deal with flying opponents shot at him. Late in the frame on a Brown rush, Zack Pryzbek did nothing to slow down with his blueline to goal line charge and put a hit on the defenseless goalie the likes of what you see Sundays on the gridiron. A retaliation message to the Brown forward meant 4-on-3 hockey because the home guys already had a white jersey in the box.
Hayden came up big again as the Yale power play was really working the puck around and taking any opening it could find. Hayden found the largest gap after gathering in a rebound in the left corner. The defense collapsed on the blue shirts looking for a pass while the senior forward whirled around in the circle and came toward the net. Hayden held long enough to get a great look from the inside of the circle before firing low past Nieto with 21 seconds left to send the game to the final intermission at 3-3.
"Our leadership from John Hayden was the reason we won," said Allain. "He has developed a really good shot, and he's been able to get that shot off in tight areas."
JM Piotrowski turned on the burners late in the game to win a race to the puck in the home end and then draw an elbowing penalty that helped set up the winner. Hart, looking for his first goal as a defenseman, got a pass at the point and then put a low shot through tons of traffic. It looked like a motorcycle zipping through cars and trucks sitting in a highway jam. Hart's second career goal came at 5:54.
"We were able to establish some good, quick puck movement and Evan [Mitchell] made a really nice seam pass to me up top giving me a lot time and space. I was looking to shoot into traffic, hoping that one of our guys would be able to get a stick on it for a re-direction," said Hart, who is playing his first season on the blueline. "I got fortunate that Evan, Dots [Mike Doherty] and Ted [Hart] screened the goalie perfectly. I don't think he [Nieto] ever really saw it."
Spano had to turn his effort up a notch the rest of the way as Brown titled the ice with desperation. The Bears used a Yale penalty to pull their goalie and increase the offensive zone opportunities over the last few minutes. However, the Yale penalty kill came through with a number of clears to run out the clock.
Game two of the series is Saturday at 7 pm at the Whale. Tickets can be purchased at 5:30 when the windows at Ingalls Rink open… Four of the last five games and 10 of the last 20 against Brown have been decided by a goal… Yale dressed seven freshmen tonight, Brown had five.
Filed by Steve Conn, Yale Associate AD & Sports Publicity Director – firstname.lastname@example.org