NEW HAVEN, Conn. – Friday the 13th brought good fortune for the Yale men's hockey team and one of its star forwards in an opening night exhibition game against Western Ontario. Joe Snively, who had two goals and four assists, had his hand on every Bulldog goal in a 6-4 win at Ingalls Rink.
The junior, who saved his highlight for the end of the game, put the finishing touches on the win with a power-play, one-timer rocket from the right circle with a few minutes left in the third. Snively made sure his squad never trailed tonight.
Freshman Kevin O'Neil, playing on a line with Snively and senior Ryan Hitchcock, made a nice collegiate debut with two goals and three points, while the Blue gave each (Sam Tucker, Corbin Kaczperski, Nicholas MacNab) of its netminders a period of work.
"We all think the same way," said Snively about his linemates. "Attack, create and know when to slow it down. We need to have more scoring spread out this year, a lot of guys have to step up."
Yale's first goal of the 2017-18 season came on a pretty connection between Hitchcock and Snively at 7:24 of the first. Hitchcock, who was playing his first game since suffering a season-ending injury in 2016-17, passed from behind the goal line to the slot for Snively, who quickly re-directed to an opening for a 1-0 lead.
"It felt great," said Hitchcock, the Yale captain, about being back on the ice at the Whale. "I was counting the days since the injury. It was great to win, but there is a lot of room for improvement."
The Blue went up 2-0 when sophomore defenseman Matt Foley unleashed a rising wrister that sailed past Western goalie Dan Davies late in the opening frame. O'Neil and Snively had the helpers.
The visitors found the net late in the first to cut the lead in half heading into the first intermission. However, Yale got the two-goal lead back on a second-period put-back by newcomer Brett Jewell at 8:53. Snively and Henry Hart picked up assists on the tally.
O'Neil used his excellent hand-eye coordination to re-direct an Adam Larkin pass from the point that caught the back of the net and give the home team a 4-1 advantage. The Latham, N.Y., native was back at it in the third with a nasty wrister that found the upper corner of the net to make it 5-2.
"It's too early for a deep analysis of the team," said Keith Allain '80, Yale's Malcolm G. Chace Head Coach. "It was good to play an older and more savvy team that forced our guys to get out of their comfort zone."
The Elis, who dressed 26 of the 27 on the roster, have scrimmages with Brown and Princeton next Saturday at the Whale before opening the regular season at home the following weekend.