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College Hockey:
Zajac Scores Two as Union Fights to Draw with Yale

Yale's Backman Scores with Seven Seconds Left to Earn Draw

— Following a loss to RPI, Yale was looking for a win to avoid a 0-2-0 hole in ECAC hockey after winning a club-best 24 games the season before. Union was also looking for its first victory in the ECAC after tying Brown the night before. Neither team was able to get the win, as the game ended in a tie.

The first period was a back and forth, tightly fought contest. For the first ten minutes, each team had their opportunities, taking some nice shots on the net. It wasn’t until 8:24 left in the first period that the first goal was scored.

Yale drove into Union’s zone and senior forward Mark Arcobello passed the puck from the right side of the net to Sean Backman waiting on the left, who lofted it over the glove of Corey Milan.

Following these events, Yale had two penalties. They were able to just escape the first one, but three minutes later junior Defensemen Jimmy Martin was sent out for holding. Union would not be denied twice, scoring only 11 seconds into the power play.

Gliding into the zone, Mario Vallery-Trabucco took a slap shot from outside the net that Yale goalie Ryan Rondeau was able to deflect, but Adam Presizniuk was waiting and tried to take advantage. Rondeau made another save, but the puck skipped right past him to Kelly Zajac, who wasted no time shoving it into the net. The goal was his second power-play goal in as many nights and third of the season.

The second period was a different story, as Union dominated. They outshot the Bulldogs 15-5 and dominated the faceoffs. More importantly, they scored two unanswered goals, giving them a 3-1 lead going into the third period.

The first goal of the period was scored with 6:38 left in the second period. Jason Walters passed the puck to the center in front of the net for Trabucco. After some frantic slaps, Trabucco was able to force the puck into the net, giving the Dutchmen the 2-1 advantage.

The second was scored with close to 40 seconds remaining in the period. Junior forward Andrew Buote forced a turnover in the neutral zone and broke towards the net. A Yale defender was quick to get into the shooting lane, causing Buote to hold his shot. He then spotted Zajac in the center, and after a quick pass and shot, Union found itself with the 3-1 lead. It was Zajac’s second goal of the night and his first multi-goal game of the season.

Yale answered the call in the third period. They came in charging and took advantage of a Union team that seemed content to sit back on their two-goal lead.

With 11:11 remaining in the period, the Bulldogs got a quick goal to make the score 3-2. The goal came after winning a faceoff in Union’s zone, as Broc Little fired a shot to the top of the net over Milan’s glove.

With 2:32 left in the game, Adam Prezisniuk was sent out for charging. Yale tried to take advantage, pulling their goalie for the six-on-four advantage with a minute left, but couldn’t get the puck in.

After the power play, Yale kept the goalie out and desperately tried to tie the game up. Union tried to get the puck out of their zone, but they were called for icing and with a little over eleven seconds left.

The Bulldogs won the faceoff and Sean Backman fired a desperation shot in to knot the score at three.

Yale coach Keith Allain was pleased with how his team took advantage of the faceoff wins.

“It’s real important to have a plan in the face-off circle,” he said.

Union played their fourth straight OT. The OT was similar to the first in that no one took over. Union had the best opportunity when Yale forward Denny Kearney took a penalty for hooking; however, the Dutchmen were unable to take advantage, and the game ended in a tie.

Despite the tie, Allain was pleased with his team’s third period performance.

“I was really pleased to see the determination.”

Union’s Nate Leaman was not as satisfied.

“We are struggling to understand it’s a 60 minute game. I’m not sure how we lost our intensity between the second and third period.”

Next weekend, the Dutchmen (3-3-3, 0-0-2 in ECAC) travel to play St. Lawrence and Clarkson on the road, while the Bulldogs (1-1-1, 0-1-1) host Cornell and Colgate.

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