Neither the Yale Bulldogs or New Hampshire Wildcats enjoyed their Friday games to open the 2nd half of the season. UNH fell to Dartmouth while Yale was clobbered by Duluth.
On Saturday, the teams met to avoid a tournament sweep and to end 2017. The game they played was fast, frantic, and offensive.
Yale completely dominated the first period, outshooting UNH 16-8. The Elis had the better energy, chances, shots, and defensive performance. Despite that, the period ended in a scoreless tie. Danny Tirone played his best period of the season, making 16 saves in the frame. Those included difficult sliding and sprawling saves that barely kept his team in the game.
While the first period was a clean frame, UNH committed their only penalty early in the second and paid for it. Jason Salvaggio was called for a hooking penalty.
Eight seconds into the ensuing power play, Robbie Demontis broke the ice with a goal. It was UNH’s third power play of the weekend and they surrendered them to the last and next to last-placed power play teams in the country.
The Wildcats fought back, though. With five minutes to go in the frame, Kohei Sato and Charlie Kelleher set up Frankie Cefalu for the equalizer. The game went into the final frame knotted 1-1.
The final stanza saw 15 shots apiece, hard hits, and defensive meltdowns by UNH. Near the midway point of the period, Yale worked a possession off a long sequence that ended with a Dante Palecco right circle shot.
Fourty eight seconds later, UNH turned the puck over in their own zone and Evan Smith made them pay with a shot from the slot for a 3-1 lead. The Wildcats kept up the offensive attack, but freshman Corbin Kaczperski was strong, making 14 of his 31 saves in the third period of his first collegiate start.
With three minutes left, UNH pulled Tirone for an extra attacker. Dante Palecco potted an empty netter to end the chance of a UNH comeback. Richard Boyd sniped on Kaczperski from above the left circle after that, but UNH could not mount a comeback. They fell to the Elis 4-2.
Yale changed their lineup dramatically between games and it paid off for Bulldog coach Keith Allain.
“I wish we didn’t have to make the changes to get a result. But we did and we got a response. I loved how Corbin (Kaczperski) played and gave us a chance to win. Great way to finish 2017.”
Yale’s record improves to 6-8-0 with the win. They return home to host the UMass Amherst Minutemen on Friday, January 5th. Puck drops at 7 pm at Ingalls Rink.
With the loss, New Hampshire falls to 9-9-1. The Wildcats have lost four consecutive games and close out December with a bad taste in their mouths. Dick Umile was disappointed after the game.
“We had it even midway through the third, then some crazy bounces happened and we lost control of the game. I’m looking for answers on how we turn this around.” Wildcat Captain Dylan Chanter echoed his coach’s disappointment. “I think we’ve gotten away from what made us successful early in the year, hard work. The good thing is we’ve got a ton of hockey to play.”
UNH returns home to host Brown University next week. Puck drops at 7 pm at the Whittimore Center on Saturday night.