HAMILTON, N.Y. — The Yale Bulldogs (13-5-1, 8-3-1 ECAC) fought back from a four goal, third period deficit to record a 5-4 overtime win over the Colgate Raiders (6-13-5 , 1-8-3 ECAC) at Starr Rink. The Bulldogs have taken four of the last five meetings, including a series sweep last season.
The exciting third frame included six goals. At 1:19, Nick St. Pierre netted his first of the season with a slap shot from the top of the left circle; Ethan Cox and Austin Smith recorded assists on the three-on-two break. At 5:15, Tom Riley won the faceoff in the circle to Yale goaltender Ryan Rondeau’s left and Brian Day immediately fired the fourth goal just inside the near post, his tenth score of the season.
“I got the sense we could come back,” said Yale coach Keith Allain.
Allain pulled his goaltender with thirteen minutes left.
“A play like that is just like rolling the dice; I wanted to roll: to give my guys their chance.” Though not unheard of, pulling the goalie so early, and with such a deficit, is seldom seen; Allain admitted “I have never done that before.”
For the faceoff at the left dot in the Colgate zone at 7: 18, Yale had its six skaters on the ice. Mark Arcobello won the draw back to his pointman Tom Dignard. Dignard walked along the blue line and loosed a wrister inside the left post for his fourth of the season.
“At that point, you’re not tired anymore,” said Allain. “These guys never stop believing.”
At 8:50, Colgate’s Jason Williams and Arcobello were sent to their respective boxes for contact to the head penalties. At 9:31, Riley was whistled for hooking, which gave the Bulldogs a four-on-three advantage. Broc Little capitalized when he carried the loose puck from the left of the cage out to the hash and beat Alex Evin on the near side at 10:45.
During a two-on-one against Mike Matczak, Austin Smith carried the puck into the Yale zone and took an outside angle for a clear view of the net. Matczak was called for a trip when he aggressively slid to block Smith’s passing option and pulled the Raider to the ice and hard into the boards at 11:38. The penalty was his second of what Allain called “good penalties, and his team backed him up.”
Dignard made sure Yale did more than just kill the penalty when he took a feed at the Colgate blue line from Denny Kearney, who won the draw in his own zone. Dignard “looked like he was shot out of a cannon,” said Matczak. He flew through the Raiders’ defense and forced a bouncing puck through Evin’s five-hole. The 11:48 goal was the first short-handed score that Colgate has allowed all season, and Dignard’s second score of the night.
With just under three minutes remaining, Yale’s Sean Backman knotted the score at four. Matczak dumped a bounding puck through traffic which rebounded off Evin’s pad right to Backman’s stick. Backman shot low into Evin’s save attempt, and the puck trickled along the crease and eventually across the goal line at 17:57.
Exactly one minute into the overtime period, Kevin Limbert completed Yale’s improbable comeback. Kearney navigated bodies in the Yale zone and spotted a streaking Limbert. Kearney’s pass found Limbert just outside the Colgate blue line behind his defender. Limbert drove hard in on the net, forced the puck through Evin, and was mobbed by his red-hot Yale team in the corner.
Alex Evin made a career high 41 saves in net for the Raiders, topping last night’s 33. Nick Prockow scored his first intercollegiate goal at 1;35 in the second, assisted by Francois Brisebois. McIntyre scored his thirteenth, and Colgate’s fifth short-handed, goal of the season at 12:24, assisted by Williams and Jason Frederics.
Both teams play again next Friday, January 30, 2009: Yale hosts Princeton (13-5-0, 8-4-0 ECAC) at 7:00 p.m. at Ingalls Rink in New Haven, C.T., and Colgate travels to Cheel Arena in Potsdam, N.Y. for a 7:00 p.m. contest with Clarkson (7-13-4, 5-6-1 ECAC).