Union Comeback Spoils Yale’s ECAC Hockey Opener

SCHENECTADY, N.Y. – Adam Larkin had a career-high three-point night, including a pair of goals, but his Yale hockey team could not hold on to a pair of two-goal leads before falling to Union 5-3 in the conference opener for the No. 16 Bulldogs (1-1, 0-1 ECAC Hockey).

Larkin, a junior defenseman from Clarkston, Mich., gave the Elis an early advantage with two power-play tallies just 36 seconds apart in the first period. The first was a one-timer from the point that bounced off a defender. The second was a wrister from the slot that hit the left post.

Senior forward Frankie DiChiara had the primary assist on both goals during a wild first period that included 16 shots on target for both teams.

Patrick Spano, Yale's senior goalie, had his busiest and best period ever with 16 saves in the opening frame. It became more difficult to hold off the No. 20 Dutchmen, who came into the game with a 6-2-1 record that included a sweep of RPI last weekend.

Union also has the nation's top scorer, Mike Vecchione, who scored three times and had the clincher with an empty net.

Vecchione's first tally came early in the second to make it 2-1.

Yale sophomore Ted Hart, taking advantage of his speed and a four-on-four, gave the visitors another two-goal lead at 3-1 when he found the net a little more than six minutes later. Hart zipped into the left circle and unleashed a snap shot from the dot that beat Alex Sakellaropolous at 7:37.

The home team had a 13-10 edge in shots in the third and got the decisive goal at 15:43. However, a Union player was called for kneeing with 1:30 left and the Bulldogs buzzing the net.

Spano, who finished with 34 saves on 38 shots while stopping six of seven advantages, was pulled for an extra skater as the Elis focused on the equalizer. They came so close to sending this one to overtime.

Joe Snively sent the puck low to Ryan Hitchcock, who moved it over to John Hayden for a shot that nearly found the net.