NEW HAVEN, Conn. – The Sacred Heart men's hockey team battled #9 Yale to a 1-1 tie after 20 minutes Saturday night at Ingalls Rink, but the Bulldogs scored three times in the second period to pull away and win 5-1.
Sacred Heart (2-8-0) opened the game with a power play 0:57 into the game. However, Yale's (4-1-2) Jesse Root forced a turnover and entered the Pioneers zone all alone. Alex Vazzano (Trumbull, Conn.) stopped Root's initial shot, for the Bulldogs' forward gathered the rebound and scored shorthanded at 1:30 to put Yale up 1-0. The Pioneers responded 35 seconds later when Ben Lake (Calgary, Alb.) rang a Jacob Brightbill (Anneville, Pa.) shot off the crossbar and into the goal to level the game 1-1. Lake's power play tally was confirmed by video replay.
Vazzano was sharp early, making seven saves in the first five minutes. Yale had its first power play of the game with 9:53 to play in the opening period. The Pioneers held the Bulldogs to zero shots on the man advantage. Sacred Heart also had to fight off a 5-on-3 power play for 20 seconds when Evan Jasper (Whitby, Ont.) was called for hooking. Sacred Heart ended up holding Yale to no shots on the two power plays. The Pioneers' defense kept the score tied 1-1 heading into the first intermission with a combination of blocked shots and big hits as Yale was held to one shot on goal in the last 14 minutes of the period.
Yale almost took the lead 15 seconds into the second period, but Trent Ruffolo's shot hit the goal post. The Bulldogs had their third power play of the game with 17:03 remaining in the second, but Sacred Heart killed the penalty while allowing just two shots. Yale dominated puck possession in the middle period, taking the lead 2-1 with 10:52 remaining. Stu Wilson scored a power play goal with assists from John Hayden and Gus Young.
Mitch Nylen (Lawrenceville, Ga.) had an opportunity to tie the game with 8:46 left in the period. The freshman defenseman caused a turnover deep in the Yale zone and fired an almost point-blank shot wide of the Bulldogs' goal. Yale regained possession and Kenny Agostino let loose a backhand shot past Vazzano to give the Bulldogs a 3-1 lead with 8:40 to play in the second. Ruffolo extended the Yale lead to 4-1, scoring on a breakaway with 11 seconds left in the period. Yale added a power play goal late in the third to make the final score 5-1.
Yale outshot Sacred Heart for the game 42-23. Vazzano made 37 saves for the Pioneers for his third straight game of at least 30 saves. Alex Lyon had 22 saves for the Buldogs who extended their unbeaten streak to six games.
Sacred Heart takes on Army in a home-and-home Atlantic Hockey series next weekend. The two teams meet at Tate Rink in West Point, N.Y. on Friday, Nov. 22 at 7 p.m.