College Hockey:
Lombard Backstops Yale Past Colgate

— The Yale Bulldogs blanked the Colgate Raiders 5-0 Saturday, behind a two-goal performance from freshman phenom Chris Higgins and a stellar outing by goaltender Dan Lombard.

The Raiders outshot the Elis 34-31, but no Colgate skater could push the puck past the Eli netminder.

“We got tremendous goaltending from Dan Lombard,” Yale head coach Tim Taylor said. “That’s the best game he’s had all year. He is in a zone-like state right now. He carried the team on his back tonight.”

Lombard’s third career shutout came right on the heels of an excellent performance in Friday’s 1-1 tie against Cornell. Since allowing a goal 25 seconds into the Cornell game, Lombard has held the opposition scoreless for 124:35.

“This was one of those weekends where it was not hard to focus,” said Lombard, who made many point-blank saves on the night. “I was able to get into a groove. I just stayed focused on stopping one shot, then the next one, then the next one.”

Yale wasted no time in jumping out to an early lead. The Bulldogs found themselves on the man advantage just 31 seconds into the game, when Raider blueliner Ben Bryce was called for interference. Shortly thereafter, Eli defenseman Michael Grobe found Higgins on the fly. Higgins broke free between the circles and fired a low wrister past Raider goalie David Cann for his third power-play goal of the year.

Less than two minutes later, Nathan Murphy scored his first goal of the season. Murphy took a mid-ice pass from Evan Wax and broke away, skating in unabated against Cann before chipping one inside the left post to give Yale a 2-0 advantage just 2:23 into the contest.

A Jason Noe elbowing penalty at 14:54 gave the Raiders their second power play of the night, but the Blue ended up scoring the special-teams goal, thanks to great forechecking from Spencer Rodgers and Luke Earl. Vin Hellemeyer’s second goal of the season was set-up when Lombard stick-saved a Raider shot. The rebound caromed to the Elis, and Hellemeyer picked up the puck on the right boards. He stayed on the right and broke free inside the blue line before wristing one past Cann at 15:38 to put extend Yale’s lead to 3-0.

Neither squad scored in the second period, though Colgate had a golden opportunity to break through midway. Ryan Trowbridge was whistled for charging at 6:59, and when Joe Callahan was called for boarding at 7:58, the Raiders were given 1:01 of a 5-on-3 advantage. Lombard made a glove save at 8:43, stopping a Raider shot from just outside the crease. The Raiders continued to see offensive opportunities once back on a single man advantage, but Lombard saved a shot from the right point to end the threat.

Yale opened the third with a bang, when freshman Chris Higgins scored his team-leading sixth goal of the year just 1:25 into the stanza. The Bulldog rookie took a behind-the-net feed from Nick Deschenes and backhanded it past Cann, who was replaced by Jason Lefevre — Colgate’s regular starting goaltender — at the 2:47 mark.

Cann made 18 saves before being leaving the game.

Yale made it 5-0 when Deschenes fired a rebound from a Jeff Dwyer shot past Lefevre at 7:24.

Lombard had to make several spectacular saves to preserve the shutout. Less than a minute after Deschenes’ goal, Raider winger Etienne Morin came in hard after clearing the Eli defense at the right point, but Lombard made a sprawling save just to the right of the net.

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