Yale Pours It On
Bulldogs Win Game 3 to Earn Trip to ECAC Semis
CHN Staff Report
NEW HAVEN, Conn. It's a tale of two cities, with opposite results.
Last year, Yale was upset in the quartefinals by the last-place team in the league, while Union got through and made it all the way to the ECAC final.
This year, Union edged Yale for the regular-season title, but got bumped off by Colgate in the quarterfinals, while Yale got through with a 4-0 win Sunday in Game 3 of its series with pesky St. Lawrence.
Yale did it with prototypical relentless pressure, showing that the best defense is often a good offense, limiting the Saints to just 21 shots. The Bulldogs (25-6-1), who set a school record with its 25th victory, peppered SLU goalie Matt Weninger with 42 shots.
“We got better every period in this series,” Yale coach Keith Allain said.
The Bulldogs came out flying, and cashed in on two power-play opportunities in the first eight minutes. The referees were calling the game tight, and it played to the offensive-minded Bulldogs' advantage.
The first came at 2:41. Brian O’Neill shot from the left circle was stopped by Weninger, but the rebound came out on the edge of the crease where a few players were whacking and kicking at it. Kenny Agostino got a skate on it and moved it off the right post. Cahill was waiting for something to break from the scrum and it happened to be the puck sitting on the doorstep. The senior wing reached out and tapped it home for his 13th of the year.
Yale did it again on its next power play nearly five minutes later. Andrew Miller, skating just inside the blueline, sent a pretty lead pass to O’Neill, who was heading through the circle. The junior forward picked up speed with the puck and swooped through the low slot coiling to fire. When the SLU goalie committed, O’Neill fired it past his glove. Earlier, O'Neill whistled a shot off the post, and had a number of other chances.
“We got off to a good start. The first goal really is an important one in a game like this,” said O’Neill, who leads the team with 18 goals. “I think they [SLU] were a little worn out and we typically wear teams down.”
Nonetheless, St. Lawrence has plenty to build upon. After finishing in 11th place during a rebuilding year, one in which an illness forced even coach Joe Marsh to miss four games, the Saints won three games in the playoffs, including a series win at Princeton.
"We played hard," Marsh said. "Our margin of error is so slim, especially against a team like this. We almost have to play flawlessly. ... The penalties we took where we were trying too hard and over-compensated. We have to look in the mirror and correct things. But a lot of guys got better in this process. ... You have to be awfully quick mentally. Our penalties were born out of being a second too late."
Yale now gets a chance to earn another ECAC title, which it last had two seasons ago, and is gunning for the top seed in the NCAA Tournament, too.
“We are really pumped to have a chance to win the league tournament,” said captain Jimmy Martin. “St. Lawrence was a great test and they gave us a great battle. We have a veteran team and they know how to be focused. We played with a sense of desperation when our backs were against the wall.”