NEW HAVEN, Conn. – In a fitting finish to a Formula One-paced contest, 2013 Hobey Baker finalist Greg Carey whistled a heavy slapshot wide of Yale goalie Alex Lyon as time expired in a 3-3 draw between the Bulldogs and St. Lawrence.
The Bulldogs (1-1-1, 0-0-1 ECAC) battled back from 2-0 and 3-1 deficits early on, getting goals from senior Jesse Root, junior Anthony Day and sophomore Rob O’Gara, but hoped for better from their power play, which scored only once in six opportunities. Freshman Alex Lyon stopped 29 of 32 shots in net.
“It was up and down action at both nets,” said Yale coach Keith Allain. “I think both teams skated hard and left it all on the ice. I think we’ve got a lot of work to do on our power play. We lost a defenseman [junior Matt Killian] during the second shift of the game, who plays on our power-play unit, so we were jumbling some things around, but we’ve got some work to do.”
Allain said that he has “no idea” what the severity is of Killian’s undisclosed injury.
St. Lawrence (4-2-1, 0-0-1 ECAC) jumped out to an early lead on a deflection goal by rookie Woody Hudson, Carey spotted the Saints a 2-0 lead late in the first period and classmate Justin Baker finished his team’s scoring early in the second period.
Senior goaltender Matt Weninger denied Yale on 34 of 37 shots on net for his third win of the year.
“That was an excellent hockey game,” reflected SLU coach Greg Carvel. “A lot of fun to watch and a lot of fun to be a part of.”
The Blue failed to fully harness the energy of a packed house for the home opener and national championship banner raising, as SLU took it to the hosts for the better part of the first period.
Hudson zipped a cross-crease pass to sophomore Sean McGovern in a sixth-minute rush, but the puck never got there, bouncing off a defender’s skate and eluding Lyon en route to the net.
Carey doubled the trouble with a 20-foot laser over Lyon’s glove with 4:08 to play in the frame.
“They came after us pretty good, we’ve got to give them credit,” Allain stated. “They can skate, you know, and there’s no other reason for the fact that they jumped on us early.”
“I was happy with my line,” Carey said. “We were getting pucks down low, making good plays and just trying to get the puck out quicker. Guys are so good – especially in the ECAC – at getting in lanes. Yale guys over there, they’re really good at taking away shooting lanes. I got the puck out quicker tonight [than in recent games], so I was pretty happy.”
Senior Kenny Agostino snuck a slippery salvo through two sets of legs and off Root’s stick with a minute remaining to halve the lead and breathe life into the anxious Ingalls crowd. The period ended with the Saints edging the Bulldogs 2-1 in goals and 11-10 in shots.
“It was a great play by Ken and John Hayden on the first line,” Root recalled. “[Agostino] won a battle and got the puck to the net. I just went to the net with my stick down and he shot it off my stick. I didn’t really do much.”
The Saints replicated their first-period pressure early in the second stanza, earning – and converting on – an early power play as Baker slapped a wide-open one-timer by Lyon’s blocker.
Yale struck back three minutes later as a tumbling Day whipped a wrister over Weninger’s glove with a defender on his back.
Root placed himself front-and-center again late in the period, winning a battle behind Weninger and sliding the puck out to O’Gara in the slot for a roof-rattling equalizer.
The third period was played at a frantic pace.
SLU’s Alex Hagen and Carey had high-grade chances, as did Agostino, but the third horn of the night sounded without a victor. Overtime was much the same – played at dazzling speed – but as fast as the puck was moving, both goalkeepers were equally quick and at the 65-minute mark, the teams shook hands, deservedly exhausted.
“You know when you play Yale it’s going to be a high-tempo game,” Carvel remarked. “We tried to keep the game in front of us and for the most part, we did. It’s still early in the year and knowing how good a team they have, it’s a good sign for us to be able to come in here [and earn a point.]”
Allain had hoped better for his Bulldogs, saying after the game that the tie “doesn’t feel good.”
“I think we’re going to be good at the end of the day,” he continued. “We’ve got a long way to go – we’ve got some young guys we’re trying to incorporate and give important roles on our team and we’ve got older guys whose roles have changed from last year – so that will take time. Structurally, we weren’t very good today. Our will was good, but we need to get better as a team.”