Evan Wax recorded two goals and two assists, including one of three Yale power-play tallies as the Bulldogs defeated the Vermont Catamounts, 6-2, before a sellout crowd of 3,486 at Ingalls Rink. John Longo was credited with both Vermont scores.
Ryan Steeves added a goal and two assists, and Jeff Dwyer assisted on three tallies to extend Yale’s winning streak to four games. Josh Gartner recorded 22 saves while allowing one goal in 51:30 to earn the victory, the Bulldogs’ first conference win since Dec. 6 against Brown.
The game marked Wax’s second consecutive four-point game (he had four goals last weekend in a 4-3 defeat of Connecticut), and second straight game against the Catamounts where the Eli senior contributed four points (four goals in Yale’s 5-4, come from behind win on Nov. 23). Wax leads the Bulldogs with 17 goals and 31 points.
“Christian [Jensen] and Ryan [Steeves] are making so many plays,” Wax said. “I just have to put it in from a foot away. Anyone could do that.”
The Bulldogs, who had five different goal scorers on the night, saw their increased attention to the power-play unit over the past month provide its biggest payoff yet, with three scores on the man advantage in a game which saw the teams combine for 18 penalties. Yale had three five-on-three opportunities, all of which lasted for more than one minute (1:12, 1:03, 1:05), netting the puck once with the advantage of two extra skaters. Vermont capitalized on its only 5-on-3 chance, which came in the second period.
“More important than the goals on the power play was that we had really good opportunities on the power play all night,” said Yale head coach Tim Taylor. “We also did a good job on the penalty kill, especially in the first part of the game.”
Yale got on the board first with blueliner Joe Callahan’s first goal of the year at the 4:32 mark of the opening period. On a power play, Callahan took a slapshot from just outside the right circle, and the puck hit off the right post and in.
Ryan Trowbridge, playing in his first game since Jan. 3, scored just under five minutes later. Joe Zappala fed Jeff Hristovski the puck between the circles, and Hristovski rocketed one towards net. Vermont netminder Shawn Conschafter made the initial save, but the rebound was waiting for Trowbridge, who backhanded it in for his first goal of the season.
The Elis made it 3-0 at 15:03 when Jensen made a perfectly-timed pass to Wax who was positioned low in the right circle. Wax, blasted the puck past Conschafter on a play which highlighted the great chemistry of Yale’s second line.
“Coach Taylor told us all week to go hard to the net, and Evan always goes hard to the net, so I was expecting him to be there,” Jensen said. “I really don’t know what to say … he just always seems to be where you expect him to be.”
Yale ended the period on a power play which carried over into the second, and the Bulldogs wasted no time in extending their lead upon returning to the ice. Steeves, positioned just outside the crease, banged home the puck after several rebounds, with Wax and Dwyer credited with assists.
The home team went on top 5-0 at 6:44 with a 5-on-3 score from Wax on a shot from point-blank range. Conschafter was pulled at 9:50 in favor of Travis Russell. At 13:40, Jensen made it 6-0 Yale on a backhander assisted by Wax and Steeves.
The Catamounts got on the scoreboard at 17:02, on a power-play goal from John Longo, and the second period ended with Yale on top 6-1.
Gartner was replaced by Peter Dobrowolski, 11:30 into the third, and 1:23 later Longo scored the Catamounts’ second power-play goal.
Vermont travels to Princeton tomorrow afternoon, while the Bulldogs host Dartmouth tomorrow night.