NEW HAVEN, Conn. — Jeff Hristovski scored twice in the third period and had a four-point night as Yale handed Princeton a 5-3 loss before 3,486 at Ingalls Rink.
Christian Jensen added two goals and an assist and the Elis (3-7, 3-5 ECAC) also got a score from Jeff Dwyer, while Josh Gartner picked up the win in net with 26 saves, his first victory of the year.
“That was a huge win,” Gartner said. “We have a good, positive feeling about ourselves after tonight. Personally, it felt great to get the monkey off of my back.”
Princeton (3-7, 3-5) outshot Yale 29-22 but the home team capitalized on its chances and never fell behind. The Bulldogs squandered a two-goal first-period lead and began the third in a 2-2 tie, but Yale scored the all-important next goal to assert control.
“It was very important for us to play a good third period,” said Hristovski, who gave Yale a 3-2 lead midway through the third. “We needed that first goal in the third period. We had been getting down, and it was big for us to stay up in the face of adversity and hold it together. That goal gave us the energy we needed.”
The Elis entered the game with a struggling (17.1%) power play but notched a pair of man-advantage goals to avenge a 3-0 loss at Princeton earlier in the week. Yale converted two of its three power plays, while the Tigers went one for five with the extra skater.
“Special teams were key tonight, and we had the edge,” said Yale coach Tim Taylor. “On Tuesday night, Princeton controlled the special teams and it was big for them, and tonight they worked for us.”
Eric Leroux (17 saves), coming off a shutout of the Bulldogs on Tuesday night at Baker Rink, got tested early. After killing off a penalty in the first period, Joe Zappala got his own rebound in the left corner and fed Dwyer, who had just crossed the blueline. Dwyer let go a hard wrister that beat the Tiger netminder waist-high on the stick side at 9:47.
Yale made it 2-0 less than five minutes later with the man-advantage. Hristovski won the faceoff in the visitors’ end and the puck came back to winger Jensen. The sophomore skater, looking for his second goal of the year, snapped one off that eluded Leroux’s glove in the upper corner of the net at 14:37.
Princeton got one back with its own power play at 18:07 of the opening frame. Defenseman Matt Maglione brought the puck up ice and skated in through the left circle before feeding it back to Neil Stevenson-Moore, who partially fanned on his shot. The puck slowly slid toward the goal line and Gartner and the Yale defense could do nothing to stop it.
The lone goal in a sloppy second period came on an odd-man rush when a Yale defender looked to make a hit in the neutral zone rather than get back on defense. That left Mike Patton and Patrick Neundorfer coming down on Dwyer. Patton threaded his pass past Dwyer’s stick and Neundorfer quickly one-timed it past Gartner at 15:49 to even the score at 2-2. Princeton outshot the Bulldogs 9-4 in a second period that had numerous icing calls.
Hristovski took a corner feed from Jensen at 9:02 of the third to break the tie. The Eli center was camped along the crease when the perfect pass came to him. He missed the one-time attempt and then slipped the second try past Leroux.
The Blue got the lead to two again when Hristovski took a nice pass from Ryan Steeves and skated in from the left circle. He lifted a shot on Leroux’s stick side at 15:44 to make it 4-2.
Stevenson-Moore, who had two goals and second-star honors, was camped in front when he found a feed from Darroll Powe and easily banged it past Gartner to cut the lead to one at 16:43,
Thanks to a great shift from Nathan Murphy, Ryan Trowbridge and Vin Hellemeyer, the Elis killed the clock and kept Leroux in the net until just 10 seconds were left. That was when Jensen took the puck from Joe Callahan and raced in alone as time expired.
“Trowbridge, Murphy and Hellemeyer played great out there on that last shift,” Jensen said. “This was a very emotional game and an emotional win for us, and it was nice to see them really finish it off like that.”