NEW HAVEN, CT – Momentum is everything in the game of hockey and once the Yale Bulldogs men’s hockey team got a hold of it in Saturday night’s game they never let go.
The Bulldogs played one of its best team games of the young season as seven different players got on the score sheet in a 4-2 victory against the St. Lawrence Saints at Ingalls Rink.
The game opened with the Saints holding control and building a 10-4 edge in shots on goal. Yale goalie Jeff Malcolm (Lethbridge, AB) was the difference as he calmly turned aside everything thrown his way. As the period wore on, it was the Bulldogs gaining the momentum and eventually the lead.
Nicholas Weberg (Oslo, Norway) picked up the puck in the neutral zone and skated it into the Saints end and around the net feeding Rob O’Gara (Nesconset, NY) at the blue line. It was O’Gara who wristed a shot towards the goal that was kicked back in front for Kenny Agostino (Flanders, NJ) to slam home for the 1-0 lead.
“They really jumped on us at the start of the game,” Yale’s Malcolm G. Chace head coach Keith Allain said. “We had to do something to change the momentum. From that point on (Agostino’s goal) we played pretty well.”
Yale (3-2-1, 2-2-0 ECAC) extended its lead at 11:28 of the second period. O’Gara chipped a puck out of his zone to Agostino who in turn sent the puck to Andrew Miller (Bloomfield Hills, MI). He skated into the zone and ripped a shot from just inside the circle that went into the net past Saints goalie Matt Weninger (28 saves).
Less than two minutes later, the Saints cut the lead in half with a shorthanded goal as Kyle Essery was on the receiving end of a perfect centering feed from George Hughes. Essery had plenty of net to shoot at and scored his second of the season.
In the third period, Trent Ruffolo (Coral Springs, FL) scored the biggest goal of the game and the eventual game winner after Clinton Bourbonais (Dexter, MI) stole the puck behind the Saints goal and was denied a wrap around attempt. The rebound kicked back out to the front of the net and Ruffolo wasted no time sending it to the back of the cage and giving the Bulldogs a 3-1 lead.
The Bulldogs had seven chances on the power play to score and none was more important than the fifth chance. With the draw to the right side of Weninger, it was Yale’s Bourbonais winning it back to Tommy Fallen (Plymouth, MN). The young defender then found Miller who launched a rocket from the top of the circle that lit the lamp at 7:35 of the period. Ironically, it was Miller who drew the penalty on the Saints Jeremy Wick for boarding.
St. Lawrence (5-2-1, 0-1-1 ECAC) closed out the scoring with less than 8:00 to go as Tommy Thompson took a Justin Baker feed and beat Malcolm to the glove side.
The Saints had the slight edge in shots on goal as Malcolm finished the game with 32 saves including 13 in that important first period. Malcolm has been stingy this season allowing just six goals on 118 shots for a .949 save percentage.
“It was a great feeling,” Malcolm said after his third win of the season. “We played a complete game. We got off to a slow start, but had the big guns firing.”
For the game, O’Gara and Bourbonais each finished with two assists while Agostino had a goal and assist and Miller had two goals.
The Bulldogs will return to action on November 23 when they play at Denver. The game will start at 7:00 pm.