November 24, 2009

Bulldogs Roll Over Sacred Heart

NEW HAVEN, Conn. - Sophomore forward Brian O'Neill had two goals and one assist and six other teammates hit the net as the No. 11 Yale men's hockey team raced past Sacred Heart 8-2 before 2,219 at Ingalls Rink.

Sean Backman, a senior forward who entered the game with 97 career points, had three assists to put him at triple digits, while the Bulldogs improved to 4-2-2 with a second straight win.

This was Yale's most prolific offensive night since an 8-2 win over Notre Dame on Jan. 27, 2001, at the New Haven Coliseum.

Yale freshman Jeff Malcolm stopped 13 of 15 shots to earn his first collegiate win in net. He got some help from special teams at the other end of the rink; Yale had a season-high three man-advantage goals on seven attempts.

The Pioneers (3-7-2), led by former Yale assistant coach CJ Marottolo, were outshot 42-15 and had just one power-play chance.

The Elis, who had two goals on their first three shots, were four for eight midway through the opening period. O'Neill (3rd goal) got things started just 28 seconds in with a nasty snap shot from the right circle to  make it 1-0.

"It's always nice to get a few early," said Keith Allain '80, Yale's Malcolm G. Chace Head Coach of Hockey. "We played as hard as we could for 60 minutes."

The Bulldogs jumped all over an attempted Sacred Heart dump-in from center ice to make it 2-0. The puck bounced off a Yale player and came out to Arcobello (2nd) near mid ice. He had wings on both sides and one defender in the way. The senior forward skated into the middle of the slot and snapped off a low shot that hit St. Onge and bounced into the back of the net at 3:12.

Marottolo pulled St. Onge (1 save) after Arcobello's tally. His replacement, Steven Legatto (33) did not slow the Elis until the third period.

A pretty crossing feed from Denny Kearney to Broc Little (8th) set up the junior winger for the perfect one-timer, which went low into the open side at 7:30 to make it 3-0.

The score was 4-0 less than two minutes later when Antoine Laganiere (2nd) skated across the high slot and fired a rising wrister past Legatto at 8:56.

"We knew they played a style similar to us. Their forecheck was like ours, something we see a lot in practice," said Yale captain Ryan Donald. "We knew we had to set the tempo and not be complacent. We cruised from there."

SHU got on the board when a puck came sliding out from the boards to Nick Johnson (8) just south of the right circle. The senior center had a relatively easy put back inside the far post at 13:41 with no defender blocking his angle.

Yale's first man-advantage goal came off the stick of O'Neill, who found a rebound off the edge of the crease at 16:32 to regain the four-goal lead and send the home team into intermission with a 17-6 advantage in shots.

Neither team generated many grade-A chances in the middle frame while Yale outshot SHU 8-5 and the teams traded goals.

Evan Mladenoff (3rd) got the visitors' second goal when he went top shelf on Malcolm at 6:29.

The Elis got it back quickly with a second power-play goal at 7:16. Josh Balch (2nd) fired a low wrister from the high slot that bounced off the right post and into the net.

The Bulldogs pelted Legatto with rubber in the third period, but the SHU netminder stopped 15 straight shots before the Elis found the net again. Backman's perfect crossing feed inside the blueline put the puck in perfect position for Tom Dignard (3rd) to snap off a rising shot that went top shelf with under two minutes left.

Yale captain Ryan Donald finished off the scoring with a shot from the point that bounced off a defender and into the open side of the net with 47.9 seconds left.

"I'm proud the way our guys played to the end. Sometimes you lose focus when you have an early lead," said Allain. "The third period (another 17 shots on target) may have been our best of the game. One of the reasons our kids played so hard tonight was their respect for CJ [Marottolo]. Most of them would not be here if not for CJ recruiting them."