NEW HAVEN, Conn. - James Marcou's goal with 61 seconds left in overtime gave No. 11 UMass a 4-3 win over No. 9 Yale before 2,359 at Ingalls Rink.
Marcou fired a shot from the inside of the right circle that likely would have been saved if not for the action in front of Yale goalie Nick Maricic, who finished with 32 saves. Marcou's brother, Michael, was on the doorstep with a defenseman causing a distraction for the freshman netminder.
UMass (8-2), which already had wins over defending national champion Boston University and New Hampshire, outshot Yale 36-31. The Bulldogs, who gave up a 1-0 lead before coming back from a goal deficit to take the lead back, had all they could handle in speedy Minutemen.
Dan Meyers made 28 saves, including 11 in the third period, to earn the win for the Minutemen. He needed to stop six of seven power plays to get the victory.
"They are so quick," said Keith Allain '80, Yale's Malcolm G. Chace Head Coach of Hockey. "They forced us to make decisions quicker than we are accustomed to. We started to figure it out and got used to it."
Kearney, who gave Yale the early lead, was in the right spot at the right time on a faceoff won by Andrew Miller. The puck squirted out of the left circle toward Denny Kearney in the middle of the slot. The junior forward partially fanned on his first swipe but then flung a rising snapshot over Meyers' glove at 6:25 of the first for Kearney's first of the year.
Maricic, who made 10 saves, was tested often with quality chances in the opening frame, including a breakaway by T.J. Syner, who fired a shot off the post.
UMass didn't wait long into the second to even things. Brett Watson came down the left side with a defender on him. After moving into the left circle, Watson sent a pass back and across to Michael Marcou (3rd goal), who waited a second before sending a high wrister inside the near post at 5:40.
The visitors, who came in with a 27.9-percent efficiency with the man-advantage, jumped all over a 57-second two-man advantage in the middle of the second to take a 2-1 lead about three minutes later. Casey Wellman (6th) one-timed a nice crossing feed into the upper left corner at 8:36. UMass finished just 1-for-6 with the advantage.
The rink tipped toward the Yale end in the first half of the middle frame with Maricic (13 saves) having pucks flying all around him. For most of the last 10 minutes, Meyers came up big (10 stops), including three power plays. The Bulldogs had at least six grade-A scoring chances that either missed the net or went off the senior goalie.
Yale had been so close to its second goal many times but kept coming with the pressure. Two goals in 70 seconds got the Elis and the Ingalls Rink crowd rolling. The Bulldogs' power play finally came together on the seventh attempt. Sean Backman (5th) was the recipient of loose puck at the side of the net to tie the score.
Andrew Miller, who had two assists, had the puck between the circle and crease on the left with an angle to shoot at, but Meyers had it covered. Miller sent it across to Broc Little, who one-timed it into an open side of the net as he was falling to the ice at 7:48.
The Minutemen cashed in a 2-on-1 rush with a pretty play to tie it at 3-3 midway through the third. Syner converted David Boehm's pass at 10:02 for his second goal of the year. It was the last tally of regulation.
The Bulldogs killed off a penalty that went two of the last four minutes of regulation and included a near shorthanded goal by Brian O'Neill and a few other Yale chances. Maricic also needed a big kick save on a sniper shot to keep things even. He did the same on a shot by Wellman with nine seconds left that nearly ended the game.
Miller had a quality opportunity to end it halfway through the OT when he deked a defenseman and went in alone on Meyers with the puck on his backhand. The Yale rookie could not get the puck up high enough. That was Yale's last chance.
"Nick [Maricic] dropped his stick and [Kevin] Peel picked it up for him. We got caught up between that," said Allain, describing what led to the game-winner.