NEW HAVEN, Conn. – This classic college hockey game looked like a battle of recent national champions. The 2013 and 2014 Frozen Four winners hit each other like old, bitter rivals while producing end-to-end action for 60 minutes of an important ECAC Hockey game. The more recent champion, Union, took this one, 3-2, over Yale at Ingalls Rink.
"The guys were competitive for 60 minutes, I thought," said Keith Allain, the Malcolm G. Chace Head Coach. "There was a lot to like in that game for us."
Yale (8-9-1, 5-7-1 ECAC), which entered the game with a 5-1-1 mark over its last seven, was outshot 34-31.
Union, which never trailed, got on the board first a little more than 6 minutes into the contest and held that advantage for nearly nine minutes.
Yales's Ryan Hitchcock gave the capacity crowd its first roar of the night by evening the score. He picked Brandon Estes' pocked in the left circle on a fore-check, skated below the goal line extended and then fired a hard wrister at Union goalie Jake Kupsky. The puck bounced off the netminder's back and then caromed off the back of the net in a way that no official could tell it was a goal. However, it was the fastest video review ever to change the original call and award the Eli captain his 4th goal of the season at 15:22 of the first.
The visitors cashed in on their first power play early in the second to grab another lead before Yale used its special teams to even things midway through the stanza. Killing off a penalty, Luke Stevens blocked J.C. Brassard's shot from the point and sprinted down the ice on a breakaway. The sophomore winger showed forehand and then quickly flicked a backhander top shelf for his 3rd of the year.
"We're playing pretty well right now, but it's about winning or losing," said Stevens. "You play as well as you can, but you (have to) win hockey games."
Both teams had plenty of chances to grab the lead heading into the second intermission. Sam Tucker, Yale's junior goalie, and Kupsky both had 10 saves. Tucker (31 saves overall) made three saves in 10 seconds early in the third but could not hold off the Dutchmen, who made it 3-2 with 12:02 left.
The Bulldogs pulled Tucker with 54 seconds left and came close on two before the Dutchmen drew a penalty to end all hopes of an equalizer.
Yale has 4 shorthanded goals this year, doubling its total from last winter… The Elis host RPI Saturday at 7 and tickets are available at the rink ticket window 90 minutes before the game… Yale had three breakaways in the 2nd period: Joe Snively, Stevens (goal) and Ted Hart.