NEW HAVEN, Conn. – Andrew Gaus scored with 6:27 left in overtime to give the Yale hockey team a 3-2 win over Dartmouth and a sweep of the ECAC Hockey first-round playoff series at Ingalls Rink.
The Bulldogs got the winner after Charlie Curti intercepted a dump-in at his own blueline and then hit Chris Izmirlian with a pass between the red and blue lines. Izmirlian kicked the puck ahead along the left boards for Mike Doherty as a Dartmouth defenseman got caught up at the blueline. Doherty, with an odd-man opportunity, sent a crossing pass to Gaus just after a defender committed to his side. Gaus held for a moment and then fired a wrist shot that hit a defenseman before sliding over the goal line.
“I knew I had a 2-on-1, but I didn’t have a great angle,” said Doherty, who had a three-goal, four-point weekend and had his hand on every Bulldog tally tonight. “I tried to be deceptive and get it to Gaus.”
The sophomore’s eighth career goal was his most significant one.
“It was just a great pass by Dots [Doherty]. I tried to get if off my stick right away and somehow it snuck in,” said Gaus, whose last OT goal beat Union last season at Ingalls. “This was a total team effort.”
The Elis, who overcame 1-0 and 2-1 deficits to take game two and advance to next weekend’s quarterfinals against either Harvard or Union, have to wait for Sunday’s game three between Colgate and Princeton to confirm the details.
Sam Tucker had another outstanding performance in the Yale net with a career-high 44 saves as Dartmouth had a 46-38 edge in shots. He withstood numerous quality scoring chances to enable the Elis to come back each time.
The guys from Hanover found the net on their second shot of the night, the only goal of the opening frame. Otherwise, it was a goalie show for almost the entire period.
Tucker stopped 15 shots, but two of them really stood out. Midway through the first, Grant Opperman raced in alone and tried to deke the Eli sophomore. Tucker stuck out his leg at the last moment to thwart that attempt. With two minutes left in the first Troy Crema, Dartmouth’s leading scorer, had a wide open look from close range before being denied.
“We knew they [Dartmouth] would be a hungry team tonight,” said Tucker. “We did a good job of picking up sticks and limiting the second chances.”
At the other end, Joe Snively had a few open looks for the Blue, including a two solo rushes that required top-notch saves by Devin Buffalo.
Both squads poured on the shots again in the second and scored one goal. Tucker needed 13 saves and a few pipe shots to keep the Blue within a goal, while his teammates were close to getting a number of tallies.
The home team evened it at 1-1 a few minutes into the second on the night’s first power play. John Hayden rang a shot off the pipe early in the advantage and then Doherty scored his second goal of the weekend. Ted Hart began the scoring possession by separating a defenseman from the puck behind the net with a perfect check. Evan Smith grabbed the biscuit and wheeled to send a short pass to Doherty, who was cutting in from the right circle toward the net. The senior held as he came across the top of the crease and then deposited the puck stick side.
Yale, down 2-1, kept battling for another equalizer. However, it wasn’t exactly easy to keep it a one-goal deficit. The Elis had a 10-8 edge in shots in the third, but there were some scary moments for the white shirts. Take for instance the bad bounce at center ice that hopped over a Yale stick and was taken away by Cam Strong. The Dartmouth winger went in alone and tried to go five-hole. Tucker squeezed the pads together like an octopus spotting a meal swimming around its body.
The Blue thought it had its best chance to tie it with a power play in the third. The Green pulled the plug on the power, but the Elis still had a charge in Doherty, looking for his second of the night. Eli blueliner Billy Sweezey made a play to prevent an odd-man rush and then fed Doherty, who was heading into the offensive zone. He got a few strides inside the blueline and then let go a low wrister that whizzed below Buffalo’s glove with 6:32 left in the third.
The visitors weren’t going to leave the Whale tonight without at least one advantage, and they got that at 14:33. Three saves and three clears later, the Bulldogs were knocking on the door again at the other end trying to avoid OT.
An inch or two prevented this one from ending in regulation, and it was a pipe shot with three seconds left from who else but Doherty shooting from the point. Buffalo fell on the puck and the Elis got another chance off the draw. This time Hayden’s one-timer from the top of the left circle almost eluded the Green goalie, but he gathered it in and held on for the extra session.
Tucker made three amazing saves midway through the extra session, the type of stops that can ignite a team at the other end. The last two were a shot and rebound combo that had everyone at the Whale on their feet.
The ice was tilted a bit in the overtime (8-2 shots for Dartmouth), but you can still score when you shoot uphill. It’s all about getting the goal.
“We grew into the game and really grinded it out in the third,” said Keith Allain ’80, Yale’s Malcolm G. Chace Head Coach. “We could sense a goal was coming in the third [to tie it up]. We were getting stronger as the game went on.”
The Blue is 16-8 in home playoff games under Keith Allain… Tonight’s game is the first one this season missed by Frankie DiChiara, who had points in three of his last four games… Alex Lyon ’17 was in Connecticut today making 32 saves in a 3-1 Lehigh Valley win over Hartford. Yale’s king of the jungle has played 35 AHL games this season with a 2.67 goals against, a .911 save percentage, a 22-10-3 record and three shutouts… Rich Kaplan, Yale’s hockey trainer since the 1992-93 season, worked his last Bulldog game at Ingalls Rink tonight. He is retiring after this season.