COLUMBUS, Ohio — After dropping a hard-fought 3-2 decision to Ohio State on Friday night, the Yale Bulldogs bounced back and rolled past Ohio State, 6-2, on Sunday.
Denis Nam and Joe Callahan each notched a goal and an assist, and Vin Hellemeyer scored two — including a shorthander with just 12 seconds left in the game. Peter Cohen made 30 saves in his first full game of the season.
“In my fondest dreams, I didn’t expect to get six goals tonight,” said Yale head coach Tim Taylor, whose Bulldogs have dropped eight one-goal decisions this season. “Sometimes it’s hard with a team when you ask them to play tight defense and they do what you ask them to do and you lose, especially on the road, it’s tempting for them to kind of loosen up a little bit, go for a little more offense, but our guys stayed pretty much to the game plan again, and we got ahead.
“Sometimes the game plan works, and sometimes it doesn’t — not that it didn’t work Friday night. We just didn’t get enough goals to win that game.”
After a scoreless and relatively uneventful first period, the middle stanza saw four goals and plenty of extracurricular activity. Nam scored first for Yale at 2:27, taking advantage of a Buckeye turnover at the blueline. Callahan kept the puck in play in the OSU zone and passed to Nam at the top of the slot near the right circle; Nam’s shot beat Buckeye goaltender Mike Betz five-hole.
The Bulldogs made it 2-0 at 15:21 on C.J. Nibbe’s first collegiate goal, a blast from the neutral zone that found its way to the OSU net unabated. Nam stole the puck from Buckeye Daymen Bencharski near the Yale blueline, then passed to Nibbe in the neutral zone near the OSU blueline. Nibbe let it rip, finding nothing but net on the play.
It was quickly 3-0 as Evan Wax found the net for Yale. Ryan Steeves won the faceoff for the Bulldogs in the left OSU circle and passed to Michael Grobe along the near boards. Grobe centered it for Wax, who took advantage of traffic in front of the Buckeye net to drive it home.
The Buckeyes again narrowed the lead to two just 19 seconds later when Miguel Lafleche tipped in Scott May’s centering pass. The play began when Paul Caponigri collided with a linesman while entering the Yale zone, but managed to push the puck up to May along the boards. The puck found its way past several players before landing on Lafleche’s stick near the right post.
The second period ended 3-1 in favor of Yale, and the Bulldogs also got the better of the Buckeyes with penalty calls as well. At 8:28, Yale captain Luke Earl left his feet and ran into Betz, who returned the favor by throwing a punch. Earl was sent off the ice for roughing and elbowing, while OSU’s Thomas Welsh — who jumped Earl after Earl was tussling with Betz — was given a four-minute double minor for roughing.
While this was going on, every player except for Cohen was mixing it up around the Buckeye net, beginning a beautiful relationship between the two squads that lasted until the buzzer sounded.
At 12:42, Buckeye captain Jason Crain and Bulldogs Chris Higgins and Hellemeyer found themselves in the box after another altercation near the OSU net. At one point in the second, OSU defender Pete Broccoli — not the biggest of players — flattened Bulldog Stacey Bauman in an open-ice hit; Bauman retaliated later and found himself sitting for two.
“I thought most of it [the penalties] was around the goals,” said Taylor. “That’s what you’re going to see, but for the most part they were two clean hockey teams.”
Crain brought the Buckeyes to within one at 6:26 in the third, but Callahan’s goal at 9:34 put the game past OSU. Hellemeyer scored first at 14:34 to make it 5-2, then added insult to injury with his shorthanded tally.
In spite of the penalties, neither team was successful on the power play. Yale went 0-for-3, while OSU was scoreless in six attempts.
“On Friday night, we kind of got the bounces,” said Crain. “I think tonight you saw that we obviously didn’t. Yale’s a team that comes at you. They’re probably one of the hardest-working teams we’ve played all year. Obviously, we weren’t ready for them tonight.
“They came out flying. They throw the puck at the net and crash the net, and that’s how they got a lot of their goals – just throwing on net to create chances.”
“I don’t believe the score was indicative of the play,” said Taylor. “I thought Ohio State played very hard and had a lot of good chances. We got the key saves at the right time, and I don’t think Betz had his best night. I think that kept them off balance for the whole game.
“We got some timely scoring, and whenever they started clawing back, we seemed to get some sort of goal.”
Crain said that while Friday night’s win was nice, losing after playing hard today was frustrating.
“Mike Betz has kept us in so many games, has made so many unbelievable saves [that] we owe him a much better effort than that,” he said. “Even if he lets in one bad goal, we still have to be there for him. We weren’t tonight, and that’s disappointing.”
Betz made 20 stops on 26 Yale shots.
Yale (6-11-2, 5-5-2 ECAC) returns to league action Feb. 1-2 after taking next weekend off. Ohio State (14-8-2, 9-5-2 CCHA) travels to East Lansing Jan. 25-26 for the first two of four consecutive games against clustermate Michigan State.