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College Hockey:
Backman Scores Game-Winner as Yale Power Play Erupts Against Holy Cross

— The No. 11 Yale Bulldogs proved too much for Holy Cross to handle Saturday afternoon, as they willed their way to a 7-3 victory at the Hart Center. Yale came in after scoring eight goals in their previous game against Sacred Heart and continued their torrid offensive output Saturday, finding the back of the net seven times on the backs of seven different goal scorers.

The first period was played evenly, with both sides registering quality opportunities. Broc Little opened the scoring 4:32 into the first period when he beat Holy Cross netminder Adam Roy after Roy spilled a rebound out in the slot. For Little, it was his team leading ninth goal of the season in just nine Bulldog games.

“It’s nice to have the individual stats, but we’re playing well right now and that’s what we’re after,” said Little.

Holy Cross quickly changed the momentum two minutes later when Brodie Sheahan scored just seven seconds into a power play. After the Crusaders won the draw in the Yale end, Matt Clune found Mike Daly for a one-timer that deflected right onto the stick of Sheahan, who picked up his fourth tally of the year. The score stayed at 1-1 heading into the second period.

Yale pulled away for good in the second period by scoring four consecutive goals, three of which came on the man advantage. The lone even-strength goal in the period came :51 seconds in when Denny Kearney collected a loose puck at the Holy Cross blue line, walked in all alone on Roy, and forced Roy to commit one way before putting the puck into the back of the net.

The Bulldogs were held scoreless for the next 12 minutes, but then scored three power-play goals in succession in the span of four minutes. Tom Dignard, Sean Backman, and Antoine Laganiere each registered one of the goals for the Bulldogs to put Yale on top with a commanding 5-1 lead.

Holy Cross coach Paul Pearl attested to the strength of the Yale team.

“They’re really good and when you make mistakes in the neutral zone, allowing them to go on the power play, they’re going to burn you. We had penalty after penalty in that second period and we just were exhausted by the end of it,” Pearl said.

However, the second period did not belong entirely to the Bulldogs. With three seconds left in the period and Holy Cross on a five-on-three power play, Everett Sheen tipped home a Daly drive to cap the period with the Crusaders down three at 5-2.

With their backs firmly against the wall entering the third period, Holy Cross completed the second power play by scoring just :49 seconds into the third period. Once again, it was a Daly blast from the point that led to the goal as J.P. Martignetti collected his first of the season by tipping it past Bulldogs’ goalie Nick Maricic. Daly finished the evening with an assist on every Crusaders’ goal.

Unable to get any closer than 5-3, Holy Cross once again found themselves down a man seven minutes into the period. Once again, the Bulldogs converted. Brian O’Neill made the score 6-3 when he sniped one short side past Roy. Brendan Mason added an empty-net goal to make the final score, 7-3.

Yale finished the afternoon 4-8 on the power play while the Crusaders were an impressive 3-7 with the man advantage.

The Bulldogs wrap up a two-game non-conference road trip on Monday when they take on the Vermont Catamounts. Holy Cross will look to get back on track in conference when they host R.I.T. next Friday and Saturday at the Hart Center.

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