TROY, N.Y. — Yale rode a hat trick from Joe Callahan, a three-goal third period and a game-winner from Joe Zappala to win its first road game this season, coming back to defeat Rensselaer, 5-4.
With the score tied and a 4-on-4 expiring, Ryan Steeves rushed the puck up ice. His shot was saved by Kevin Kurk — starting in place of an ill Nathan Marsters — but the puck was left free and Zappala poked it past Kurk for the game-winner.
“I jumped out of the box and Steeves was already on the break and I just went hard to the net and he threw it on net and the puck was just laying there,” said Zappala. “The goalie was moving from the post and all I had to do was tap the puck in; it was an easy goal for me.”
That goal capped off a 5:32 span of the third period that saw four goals scored, three by the Bulldogs.
Callahan scored to tie the game at 3-3 before Tommy Green scored for the Engineers to give them the lead back. But Callahan’s hat-trick goal went top-shelf on Kurk to tie the game once again, this time at 4-4.
Callahan had opened the game with a goal, also top shelf on Kurk just 47 seconds in.
“The first one, I got a perfect pass and had all the time in the world,” said Callahan. “The second one, the guys were in front of the net working hard and I threw a Hail Mary in front and the goalie couldn’t see anything. The third was the same thing, a nice faceoff and I threw it in front of the net.”
The Engineers scored twice in the first period to take a 2-1 lead into the locker room. Brad Farynuk scored the first of three Engineer power-play goals on the night as he wristed one over the shoulder of Josh Gartner. That was followed by another power-play goal from Scott Basiuk, who softly sent one towards that net that eluded everyone in front.
In the second the Bulldogs tied the score on a bang-bang play when Mike Klema received a pass from Mike Grobe and one-timed it past Kurk.
The Engineers retook the lead when Kevin Croxton scored on the power play. Gartner was caught moving as Croxton got the pass and it escaped him.
The third was all Yale as four quick goals were scored, and the Bulldogs hung on to pick up their first road win.
“We’ve been struggling for positives all year and it’s been a tough start for us,” said Yale head coach Tim Taylor. “Some of our problems continue with the three power-play goals we gave up, but I thought tonight we were much better defensively. On the offensive side, this is the first game where we generated some respectable grade-’A’ chances from all lines.”
“Any time you score four goals, you should win a hockey game. It wasn’t pretty to watch,” said Engineer head coach Dan Fridgen. “The whole thing was just a blur. When they came out and tied it up, then we got it going again, I thought that we would get rolling when we went ahead. We just could never put them away and that’s to their credit. Don’t look at records of teams, because those are the teams that can hurt you and we found that out tonight.”
The Engineers (7-5-2, 2-2-1 ECAC) will host Princeton on Saturday evening and look to get some players back.
“Are we completely healthy? No. Is it a factor? Yes, but regardless you still have to play 60 minutes,” said Fridgen. “It’s not like it was anything magical that happened. We didn’t tighten up like we needed to tighten up and shots got through, shots that could have been blocked and weren’t. It’s a simple combination — I don’t think we played well as a team tonight.”
Yale (4-8-0, 4-5-0 ECAC) will hope to pick up another road win at Union on Saturday evening.
“One game does not get you out of where you were, but this is a real positive night for us and a step in the right direction,” said Taylor. “We’ll see, tomorrow will be a terrific test for us. To do it on the road and back-to-back, these games will be big carryover games.”