NEW HAVEN, Conn. — Yale (2-14-1) is certainly no stranger to losses, but the one that came Tuesday at the hands of No. 2 Boston College (12-3-3) had quite a different feel. For much of the first half of the season, fans of the Bulldogs grew accustomed to seeing their team on the short end of lopsided scores.
But with sophomore goaltender Matt Modelski stopping 49 shots and allowing only one to squeeze by, the Elis could find a number of positives in their 1-0 loss to the Eagles before a packed and appreciative Ingalls Rink.
Having helped Yale earn a tie against Wisconsin two weekends ago and a 2-1 victory over Clarkson on Saturday, Modelski was back in top form again for the Elis in their matchup against the powerhouse Eagles. In fact, according to Yale head coach Tim Taylor, he had his best performance of the season.
“I thought tonight might have been his best effort of the season,” Taylor said. “He was more in control and cut down on the slipping and sliding.”
Despite the fact that the Eli defense gave up a startling 50 shots, there was reason to congratulate Bulldog defensemen on a job well done. Yale’s one-on-one defense was strong, and the Elis were careful to clean up errant rebounds from in front of their goaltender.
“They played outstanding,” said Modelski. “They kept the shots to the outside and made it easy to see the puck.”
The Eagles, playing their third game against an ECACHL opponent, were persistent and countered with some strong goaltending of their own, as freshman Cory Schneider picked up the shutout victory.
“You would think the Yale goalie had an unbelievable game,” said BC head coach Jerry York. “But Cory had a number of really quality saves. It’s hard to play the 1-0 game and get the shutout. They only had 11 shots, but six or seven of them were quality chances.”
Schneider, who returned to the team recently after a stint with the U.S. World Junior team, was impressive in net, especially in the closing minutes of the game when the Elis earned a power play and sneaked in a number of chances.
Equally impressive was the Eagles’ penalty kill, which stifled the Bulldogs on all six of their power plays, including one with 2:47 to play in regulation.
“Nobody’s been able to score much against that BC team, and they have the best penalty kill in the country,” Taylor said.
To their credit, the Bulldogs’ man-down unit was also very stingy.
“On the penalty kill your best player has to be your goalie,” said defenseman Shawn Mole. “He was tonight.”
The teams skated to a 0-0 tie after one period, with Yale only mustering a single shot in the opening frame.
“In the first period we overrespected them and underrespected ourselves,” Taylor noted.
With the teams still at a scoreless tie in the opening minutes of the second period, BC’s Ned Havern put home a power-play rebound with assists from Joe Rooney and Patrick Eaves. It was Havern’s third score of the season and the only thing Boston College would need to skate away with the victory.
Strong defense and goaltending by the Eagles enabled the No. 2 team in the country to pull out the 1-0 win despite several quality chances by Yale. One, a shot by Bill LeClerc, hit the post, and several other Bulldog attempts sailed wide or were stifled by Schneider.
“I was very proud of how we played,” York said. “We created some good offense. Our ability to kill that last penalty was the real key element to our success.”
With the Elis having a break from conference play for the next few weeks, their upcoming challenger will be New Hampshire, who fell to the Elis last season at their home rink. Yale travels there on Saturday for a 7 p.m. contest, while the Eagles take on Boston University in a pair of games this weekend.