NEW HAVEN, CONN. — The Yale Bulldogs battled back from a three-goal third period deficit to force overtime and tie the Vermont Catamounts, 4-4 before 4,335 at the New Haven Coliseum.
Chris Higgins scored the game-tying goal with 2:58 remaining in the third period after picking up the puck off Nick Deschenes’ stick behind the Catamount net. Higgins skated to the right of the crease and then sent the puck past Vermont netminder Shawn Conschafter.
“That was a great comeback,” Yale head coach Tim Taylor said. “Hopefully the team feels good about it. I know they think they should have had a win, but they showed terrific spirit and enthusiasm, and that’s a great feeling to have on the bench.”
The Catamounts opened the scoring when Oriel McHugh took a feed from John Longo past the Yale blueline and fired a slapshot past Yale goalie Dan Lombard’s left shoulder at 6:18 in the first.
Good defense and sloppy puck-handling by both sides kept the game scoreless until the early stages of the second stanza, when Tim Plant fired a wrister past Lombard at 5:48.
The Bulldogs answered back just over a minute later, capitalizing on the first man advantage of the afternoon. Just nine seconds into the Yale power play, Vin Hellemeyer corralled a loose puck in the crease and chipped it past Conschafter to put the Bulldogs on the scoreboard at 6:50.
Nine minutes later, Jeff Miles once again gave the Catamounts a two-goal lead, firing a rebound from a Derek Wagar shot past Lombard at 15:53.
Vermont upped its advantage to 4-1 just 1:01 into the third period when Ryan Miller beat Lombard with a line drive from the right point that flew past the goaltender’s right shoulder.
But the remainder of the scoring would be done by the Elis. Ryan Steeves cut the lead to two 5:31 into the period, wrapping one around Conschafter’s right side.
Bulldog blueliner Joe Callahan netted the first goal of his career to bring Yale within one at the 14:25 mark. The freshman took a feed from Nick Deschenes and fired one low past Conschafter, taking advantage of the traffic in front of the net that screened the Catamount goalie.
Excellent forechecking set up Higgins’ game-tying goal, but despite several more scoring chances, Yale could not net the puck at the end of the third period, forcing overtime.
Yale outshot the Catamounts 5-0 in overtime but could not score. In total, the Elis nearly doubled Vermont’s shot total, 40-23, but the Bulldogs were never able to completely solve Shawn Conschafter, who recorded 36 saves. Dan Lombard tallied 19 saves for the Elis.