NEW HAVEN, Conn. – The Bulldogs figured they needed a big offensive night to beat a hot Hockey East team that was ranked fourth nationally in goals and had one of Division I’s most prolific top lines. Yale, which got tallies from five different skaters, used a three-goal third period to produce a 5-4 win over Northeastern at Ingalls Rink.
Freshman forward Robbie DeMontis and junior defenseman Henry Hart each had two assists, while senior Patrick Spano (24 saves) stopped 11 of 12 shots in the third period to help the Elis improve to 5-6-2.
Yale outshot (34-28) a Northeastern team that had won two straight with impressive offensive numbers.
The Blue got on the board first and then continued a ferocious fore-check that produced 11 of the game’s first 15 shots on target.
The goal came off a Chris Izmirlian face-off in the NU end. The puck came back to the point for Hart, who moved it over to Luke Stevens for a shot off the pads of goalie Ryan Ruck. The shot bounced out to the right where Izmirlian was crashing the net, bounced off the senior’s skate and slid inside the right post.
The 14-6 advantage in shots over the first frame were not enough to get the Elis a lead at the break. The Huskies, coming off an 8-2 win over Clarkson, answered Izmirlian’s goal with a pair of tallies almost four minutes apart late in the period to make it 2-1.
“I thought we played well (overall). I thought we came out in the first period and played really well, then they (NU) scored and we didn’t respond the way we should have,” said Keith Allain ’80, Yale’s Malcolm G. Chace Head Coach. “We regrouped and battled through. They are a good team that can really throw it around.”
A big second period got the Bulldogs going again, and sophomore Andrew Gaus got things started with a pretty goal.
Mitchell Smith got the puck from a drop pass in the offensive corner and then moved it around the boards for DeMontis, who was on his knees to grab it. The freshman wheeled and sent a lead pass for Gaus, who was cutting toward the net. Gaus got his stick on the pass and re-directed it for the equalizer.
“The fourth line (Smith, DeMontis, Gaus) had a big goal, actually a huge goal,” said Allain, whose team takes on UConn Saturday at 3 p.m. at the XL Center. “It was probably a game changer for us.”
The home team made it two straight on a nifty shot from Frankie DiChiara, who was a few steps inside the blueline. Hart grabbed the puck in his own end and sent a pass to DeMontis at the red line. The freshman then quickly got it up to DiChiara before he reached the blueline. The senior forward took a few strides into the NU zone, with two Huskies on him, and unleashed a rising wrister that eluded Ruck’s glove at 10:41.
The visitors got one back shorthanded on a crazy deflection off a Yale player with 1:35 left in the second, but John Hayden used the final second of the advantage to get that one back and take a 4-3 lead into the second intermission. Rookie defenseman Matt Foley took possession of the puck in his own end and then sent a pass to the red line for Hayden, who quickly touched it to Ryan Hitchcock headed over the blueline with speed. Hitchcock dropped it for Hayden and the ensuing shot bounced off the defenseman and back to the captain, who was already between the right circle and the goal line extended. Hayden, with no angle and barely an opening to aim for, flicked a wrister top shelf for his team-best 11th of the year.
NU, which had 14 goals over the last two games, got another early in the third to even things again.
While Spano held off a wild push by the visitors, the Elis continued to put pucks on net and broke through for the winner at 9:28 of the third. Mike Doherty took the pass from Joe Snively at the top of the right circle and immediately let go a snap shot that bounced off the defender’s body and came back to him. Doherty gloved it to his stick and flicked a wrister over Ruck’s left shoulder.
“I just tried to get a shot on net,” said Doherty, who had three goals in the Dec. 28 exhibition game. “The first one got blocked, I was able to catch it and put it down to shoot as quick as possible and it went in.”
From then on it was Yale’s senior goalie on display, and he came up big. Spano, who made an amazing stop earlier in the frame on a power play, made two saves on a flurry with just under four minutes left. The puck got lost in his pads when the whistle came, and it took a few minutes to find the biscuit with a pair of zebras helping him search for it. Spano also blocked a Dylan Sikura slapshot from the slot with 3:09 left before making one last monster stop with NU skating six. That one came off Sikura’s stick on Spano’s pad with two seconds left.
“It was good to score five goals, and it was a good way to start out the year,” said Spano. “The defense has been a lot better. I have been happy with their performance, and they are only getting better.”
filed by Steve Conn, Yale Associate AD & Sports Publicity Director – firstname.lastname@example.org