NEW HAVEN, Conn. – The best way to celebrate your first collegiate game with a goal is to make it a hat trick. Freshman forward Dante Palecco became just the fourth rookie in Yale hockey history to score three times in a game as the Bulldogs beat St. Lawrence 6-1 in ECAC play before 3,031 at Ingalls Rink.
Palecco, who scored twice in the second and once in the third period, ignited an offensive explosion that erased an early 1-0 deficit with six straight goals to improve Yale’s record to 3-2 overall and in the ECAC. The Whippany, N.J., native’s first hat trick since midget hockey came in his first contest playing on the line with captain Ryan Hitchcock and junior Joe Snively, a dynamic combo that pitched in two goals and three assists.
“It was a special night,” said Palecco. “I can’t thank my teammates enough for showing me the ropes. It’s an honor to play with those guys [Snively, Hitchcock]. I was just looking to create some offense, and they make it easy. They both have such great vision.”
Snively, who leads the Bulldogs with five goals, hit the net twice tonight and finished with three points. Hitchcock, who handed out a pair of assists, was impressed with what he saw from his new linemate.
“It was awesome,” said Hitchcock of the newcomer. “He’s a shooter. Snives [Snively] and I like to distribute, and he’s definitely going to score some goals for us this year. If he keeps shooting, he’s going to score some goals.”
The last Yale rookie to notch a hat trick was Kenny Agostino in 2011, who has played a few games with the Boston Bruins this year, while the last Bulldog to have a three-goal night was Antoine Laganiere in 2012. That’s pretty good company for Palecco.
“Dante has been working hard in practice,” said Yale assistant coach Josh Siembida. “He gives them [the top line] a shooter. Snively and Hitchcock like to distribute the puck.”
The Bulldogs outshot SLU 38-20 overall but the visitors had a slight edge in that area in the first period. Siembida explained what happened.
“It took a little while to get going,” said the Yale coach. “They [SLU] did a good job of limiting our time and space, but then we adjusted and our confidence started to show.”
Part of that confidence was sophomore Evan Smith, scoring the equalizer in the first period. In addition, second-year defenseman Billy Sweezey had his most productive collegiate night with three assists. The blueliner from Hanson, Mass., had the best pass of the night when he connected with Snively on a long pass off the boards. Snively went into the left circle and fired a rising wrister over the goalie’s shoulder to make it 4-1 in the second period.
Sophomore Sam Tucker stoped 19 of 20 shots to earn the victory in net for Yale.
The Elis, who do not have Keith Allain on the bench this weekend (he’s coaching Team USA in Germany), take on No. 13 Clarkson Saturday night at 7.
Filed by Steve Conn, Yale Associate AD/Sports Publicity Director