NEW HAVEN, Conn. — Rensselaer and Yale hooked up tonight for an old-fashioned defensive struggle as the Engineers came away with a hard-fought, 2-1 victory before 2,713 at Ingalls Rink in ECACHL action.
The Bulldogs (8-9-3, 5-7-1 ECACHL), blanked on seven power-play attempts had the slight (28-27) advantage in shots on goal but could not generate a goal from a member of the front lines for the third straight night and never had a lead. Blueliner Tom Dignard had the lone Yale tally while Alec Richards stood on his head with 25 saves.
Jordan Alford stopped 27 of 28 shots and earned the win for RPI (7-11-7, 3-6-4) with 15 saves in the final 20 minutes. The Engineers, one-for-six with the man advantage, were able to thwart a few Yale breakaways.
Despite a scoreless 20 minutes and the first shot on goal coming over four minutes after the puck was first dropped, there was plenty of action at both ends of the ice in the opening period as Rensselaer outshot Yale 6-4 and both goalies came up with a few big stops.
Yale’s best chance came on a Blair Yaworski breakaway that never resulted in a shot on goal. An Engineer defenseman closed in on the Bulldog forward and blocked the attempt from the low slot.
One of the sidebars to the initial period was the status of referee Frank Murphy, who took a hit midway through and had to leave the game. He was replaced at the start of the second by conference supervisor of officials Luke Galvin.
The Engineers broke the ice with 12 seconds left on their second man-advantage. Matt Angers-Goulet (4th goal) fired a shot toward the net from the left dot that looked to be going wide left. The puck appeared to bounce off a player near the left post and carom inside the right at 5:24.
Dignard’s fourth goal of the year 54 seconds later made it 1-1 after Mark Arcobello won a draw. The Yale freshman defenseman took the puck about eight feet from the blueline and quickly sent a low wrister glove side on Alford.
Seth Klerer (8th) was the beneficiary of a juicy rebound that gave the lead back to the visitors at 2-1. Andrei Uryadow, who had raced out of the penalty box and grabbed a clearing toss, took a few steps and then fired a nasty shot that Richards knocked away. The only problem for Yale was the puck stopped on the edge of the crease as Klerer followed up with an easy backhander at 14:50.
That turned out to be the last scoring of the night with a wild third period to follow.
Midway in the third Yale survived a brief two-man advantage for RPI with one impressive save by Richards. A few minutes later Jean-Francois Boucher picked up the puck and mid ice and race the length before Alford poked it away from the Bulldog winger at the last moment.
The Blue, with 15 shots on target in the third, had its chances in the last few minutes, peppering Alford from every angle during a few power-play chances but the junior netminder came up big every time. A 5-on-3 with just over two minutes left turned into a brief 6-on-3 when Richards was pulled with 1:40 left. Alford and the Engineers never saw the puck clear their own blueline for the last 2:02.
“We were not going away easily, we hung in there,” said Keith Allain, Yale head coach. “We missed about eight or 10 shots in the third period on some good scoring chances.”