RPI drops Game 1 to Yale

RPI drops Game 1 to Yale

NEW HAVEN, Conn. – Freshman Justin Pearson recorded a goal and an assist to lead the Yale University men's hockey team to a 4-1 victory over Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI), in Game 1 of a best-of-three ECAC Hockey First Round series at Ingalls Rink on Friday. With the win, the Bulldogs improve to 14-13-3, while the Engineers drop to 10-22-3.

Pearson (Nashua, NH/PAL Jr. Islanders) opened the scoring at 2:51 of the second period, when he walked in from the right corner and wristed a shot past RPI freshman goaltender Owen Savory (Cambridge, ON/St. Catharines Falcons) for his sixth goal of the year. Helpers on the power play tally went to senior Joe Snively (Herndon, VA/Sioux City Musketeers) and freshman Graham Lillibridge (Geneva, IL/Chicago Steel).

The Engineers had chances to pull even later in the period, including a blast from the top of the left circle by senior Meirs Moore (Duluth, MN/Victoria Grizzlies) that was stopped and held by Yale junior netminder Corbin Kaczperski (China Township, MI/Lone Star Brahmas).

Freshman Kyle Hallbauer (Howell, NJ/Lone Star Brahmas) snuck in behind the Bulldogs defense with 11 minutes to play in the second, but his shot from the right circle was gloved by Kaczperski.

Yale nearly doubled its lead with just under six minutes to play in the middle stanza, when senior Ted Hart (Cumberland, ME/Phillips Exeter Academy) found Snively streaking up ice on a breakaway, but Savory was able to make a pad stop on the hosts' leading scorer.

RPI junior Todd Burgess (Phoenix, AZ/Fairbanks Ice Dogs) had two chances inside of four minutes to go in the second, but Kaczperski was equal to the task, keeping the Engineers off the board and maintaining a 1-0 lead.

Hart potted his third goal of the year to make it 2-0 Yale early in the third. His initial shot from the slot caromed off the glass behind the RPI net bounced to the right side, where Hart re-gathered and chipped a shot past Savory. Helpers went to Pearson and junior Billy Sweezey (Hamson, MA/Chicago Steel).

Junior Evan Smith (Stouffville, ON/Dubuque Fighting Saints) pushed the Bulldogs advantage to 3-0 at 10:30 of the third, ripping shot past Savory, glove side, for his fifth goal of the season. Skating up the right side on a 2-on-1 rush, Smith shot inside the right post for the tally.

The Engineers lifted Savory for an extra skater with two minutes left and it paid off, as freshman Ottoville Leppanen (Espoo, Finland/Espoo Blues U20) was able to pounce on a rebound and stick home his fourth goal of the year. After an initial shot from the point by junior Will Reilly (Toronto, ON/Nanaimo Clippers) was stopped by Kazcperski, freshman Ture Linden (Great Falls, VA/Lone Star Brahmas) had his follow up chance kicked away. The puck then found Leppanen in the right circle for the one-time finish.

Yale added an empty-netter with 26 seconds to play, capping the scoring.

Kaczperski (8-5-2) finished with 24 saves, including 11 in the second period alone. Savory (5-14-3) had 30 stops, including all 12 shots he faced in the first. The Bulldogs finished 1 for 2 on the power play, while the Engineers went 0 for 2.

Both teams are back on the ice tomorrow night for Game 2 of the series, with puck drop set for 7pm.