TROY, N.Y. — Jeff Hamilton broke through with a hat trick, the Yale Bulldogs scored three unanswered goals in the second period to take a 5-2 lead and wound up sprinting away from the Rensselaer Engineers, 6-3, on Saturday and into a tie for seventh place in the ECAC standings.
After Conrad Barnes tied the game at 2 in the second period, it took Luke Earl only 40 seconds to regain the lead for Yale. Hamilton came down the wing after a huge flurry of shots by the Engineers, found Earl in front and he put it past Nathan Marsters for the lead.
Just 2:12 later, Hamilton made it 4-2 with his second goal of the game. He took a shot from the blue line that floated past Marsters, hit the post and then went back off of Marsters and into the net.
With 2:19 left in the second period, Spencer Rodgers found himself alone and streaking to the net with the puck. He deked and put it past Marsters to make it 5-2.
“When we got up two goals, we have a tendency to let down, so it was good that we gave up one and we got some quick ones,” said Hamilton.
“And nobody was giving them the win because we were up by two at our place and they came back to win.”
The Bulldogs had a two-goal lead erased when Barnes scored. The Bulldogs went up just 43 seconds into the game with a power-play goal when Nick Deschenes tipped a shot from Joe Dart between Marsters’ legs.
Only 2:10 later, down a man on the penalty kill, Hamilton took the puck into the zone and fired, beating Marsters to the far post.
The Engineers got a goal on the same power play when Ben Barr followed up a puck that had hit the post to pound it past Dan Lombard.
Barnes tied the game when he came out from the boards and fired one that went through the legs of Lombard.
“Right off the opening draw, we took a penalty off the start and I knew it was going to be a tough night,” said Engineer coach Dan Fridgen. “They capitalized on it, and we just didn’t have it tonight. We tried to get back into it, I played every forward with each other to try to drum up some chemistry, but we were just missing and it’s not happening from an offensive standpoint.”
The Bulldogs rebounded from a 5-1 loss to Union on Friday night to move into a seventh place tie with Vermont and Princeton.
“It was huge because we were the saddest, sorriest lot last night,” said Yale coach Tim Taylor. “We see ourselves on the brink of home ice and on the brink of being the 11th team. A pretty good team is going to finish 11th in this league.”
“That’s huge, especially after last night. It was a huge disappointment the way we played last night. It was a nice rebound,” said Hamilton. “I was looking up at the scoreboard at the Princeton score, so this was a must win.”
The Engineers had hoped to gain four points on the weekend after defeating Princeton the night before, but the Engineers are now 14-12-2 (8-8-2 ECAC) and three points out of the last home playoff spot in sixth place and will host the team ahead of them, Harvard, on Friday and then entertain Brown on Saturday.
“I was hoping that we would come back with a real strong effort last night to get some consistency going,” said Fridgen. “Seasons are peaks and valleys. We have peaks and then we have valleys. I would be nice if we could just maintain some consistency, but we’re still searching for it.”
Yale (12-13-0, 8-10-0 ECAC) will host one of the teams tied with it on Friday in Vermont, and then take on Dartmouth on Saturday. The Bulldogs have now split the last two ECAC weekends.
“I told the guys that we have to stop this,” said Taylor about the splits.
“We have two home games next weekend, and a team that gets a four-point weekend will be in control.”