Union had more shots on goal than Yale, and more power-play chances.
The only thing the Dutchmen didn’t have more of was goals.
Despite a 36-15 shot advantage and eight power-play chances to the Bulldogs’ three, the Dutchmen found themselves on the wrong end of a 4-2 ECAC Hockey decision to league-leading and 10th-ranked Yale on Friday at Messa Rink.
The loss drops the Dutchmen (7-9-1 ECACH, 14-13-2 overall) into an eighth-place tie with Clarkson, which dropped a 5-3 decision to Princeton. The two teams are just two points ahead of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute as they battle for the final ECACH tournament home-ice berth.
The Dutchmen’s hopes of a second straight first-round bye are fading. With five games left in the regular season, including this afternoon’s game against Brown at 4, the Dutchmen are seven points behind fourth-place Dartmouth for the final bye spot.
“[The losses] are all going to be tough this time of the year,” Union coach Nate Leaman said. “You’ve got to be sure to bring it the next day. There’s five games left. We’re battling for the last home-ice spot. We’ve got to win tomorrow.”
Yale coach Keith Allain felt fortunate to escape with a victory.
“That doesn’t happen every day,” Allain said. “Obviously, we’re very pleased to get the win. I’m not thrilled with the way we played. Sometimes, through the course of a hockey season, you’re going to have games like that.”
Allain believed Union outplayed his team. At one point, the Dutchmen had seven straight power plays. They converted only one, and gave up a devastating short-handed goal.
“They outfinished us, and that’s the game,” Leaman said. “The game’s about putting it in the net. Tonight, they did, and we didn’t.”
Patrick Brosnihan opened the scoring for the Bulldogs (13-3-1, 18-5-1) when his wrist shot from the right circle beat goalie Corey Milan with four minutes left in the first period. Mike Matczak made it 2-0 just over nine minutes into the second period when he chipped a Broc Little pass over Milan’s right shoulder.
John Simpson got that one back for Union on the power play at 12:52 of the second. Picking up the puck after Milan made a save, Simpson skated up the ice, cut past Yale defenseman Kevin Peel and beat goalie Alec Richards past his left pad.
The Dutchmen continued to get power plays, but couldn’t convert. It came back to haunt them just over six minutes into the third period when, with Yale’s Jeff Anderson serving a slashing penalty, Milan turned the puck over behind the net. Denny Kearney converted the turnover into a short-handed goal.
Jason Walters pulled Union within one when he beat Richards from the left wing with 7:19 left. But Brian O’Neill’s goal, set up by another turnover, with 1:34 to go sealed the win for Yale, ending an 0-4-1 skid against Union.
“I don’t think we played well enough to our game plan,” Leaman said. “I don’t think we executed defensively, either. We didn’t adhere to our game plan, and we were soft defensively at key moments. We had a lot of turnovers.”
Richards made 34 saves. He was in goal for Yale’s last win over Union, the memorable 3-2, five-overtime game that clinched the ECACH tournament first-round series March, 4, 2006.
“It’s a great win for us, especially the way we did it,” said Richards, who had 57 saves in that playoff game. “I don’t think we were at our best.”
Yale 1 1 2 — 4
Union 0 1 1 — 2
First Period — 1, Yale, Brosnihan 4 (Matczak, Martin), 16:00. Penalties — Wakita, Uni (elbowing), 2:18; Ziegler, Yale (hooking), 8:34; Simpson, Uni (hooking), 12:02; Anderson, Yale (hitting from behind), 16:50.
Second Period — 2, Yale, Matczak 3 (Little, Limbert), 9:16. 3, Union, Simpson 5 (Milan), 12:52 (pp). Penalties — Brockett, Yale (hooking), 10:59; Peel, Yale (slashing), 12:52; Brockett, Yale (high-sticking), 15:55; Donald, Yale (hooking), 17:47; Buote, Uni (holding stick), 17:47.
Third Period — 4, Yale, Kearney 6 (Little), 6:09 (sh). 5, Union, Walters 9, 12:41. 6, Yale, O’Neill 9 (Arcobello), 18:26. Penalties — Arcobello, Yale (high-sticking), 1:39; Anderson, Yale (slashing), 5:14; Anderson, Yale (elbowing), 7:45; Harr, Uni (contact to head-elbowing), 10:24.
Shots on Goal — Yale 5-5-5 — 15. Union 10-15-11 — 36.
Power-play opportunities — Yale 0 of 3; Union 1 of 8.
Goalies — Yale, Richards 13-2-0 (36 shots-34 saves). Union, Milan 14-13-2 (15-11).
A — 2,074. T — 2:06.
Referees — Mike Baker, Bob Ritchie. Linesmen — Dan Taggart, Justin Prusak.
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Categories: College Sports