ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. -- Yale staked claim to the 2011 ECAC Hockey Championship crown and a possible No. 1 seed in the East Regional with an emphatic 6-0 win over Cornell as the two teams met in the ECAC Hockey Championship game for the second time in the last three seasons at Boardwalk Hall. Earlier in the day, Dartmouth took third place by besting Colgate, 5-3, in Saturday's consolation game.
Yale and the rest of the college hockey world will await the NCAA Championship selections, which will be revealed live on ESPN2 HD tomorrow, March 20, at 11:30 a.m. Sixteen teams, including now automatic qualifier Yale, will comprise the 2011 NCAA Championship field. The four Regional sites include Bridgeport, Conn. (East Regional), St. Louis, Mo. (West Regional), Green Bay, Wis. (Midwest Regional) and Manchester, N.H. (Northeast Regional).
Yale vs. Cornell
Yale came out and applied the pressure early, generating several scoring chances and a power play opportunity that it quickly cashed in on at 3:03 of the first period. Breaking into the offensive zone with the man advantage, Bulldog Kevin Limbert was given enough space at the top of the face off circles to get off a wrist shot that beat Cornell goaltender Andy Iles. Broc Little and Brian O’Neill assisted on the goal. The Yale power play then struck again at 15:50 when Jimmy Martin fired a shot from his right point position that beat Iles high to the stick side for his eighth goal of the season. Limbert and Denny Kearney assisted on the power play tally.
In the second period, Yale continued to apply pressure. Just over a minute into the stanza, O'Neill rang one off of Iles' left post. Moments later, the junior picked up a loose puck, made a shifty move around a Cornell defender and laid off a pass for Antoine Laganiere to deposit in the back of the net from the bottom of the slot just 1:39 into the period, pushing Yale's lead to 3-0. Situated behind Iles' net with the puck, O'Neill then fed a streaking Chris Cahill, who found the back of the net for his 15th goal of the year as O'Neill recorded his fifth assist of the weekend. Colin Dueck also assisted on the goal that pushed the lead to 4-0, But the Bulldogs were not done. At 8:37 of the second, Dueck ripped a slap shot from two strides inside the blue line to score his first career goal and chase Iles from the game. Andrew Miller got his first point of the night with an assist. The score then moved to 6-0 when Kearney picked up a turnover from new Cornell goalie Mike Garman and shoveled a pass in front to Little, who notched his 18th of the season at 17:28.
The teams skated to a scoreless third period. Senior goaltender Ryan Rondeau stopped 22 shots in the Bulldog net to earn his second consecutive shutout victory as Yale claimed its second ECAC Men's Hockey Championship. Rondeau was named the tournament's Most Outstanding Player and was joined by five other Ivues on the All-Tournament team (see below). Yale is now 27-6-1 on the year, while Cornell falls to 16-15-3.
Dartmouth vs. Colgate
In the thrid-place game, Dartmouth downed Colgate, 5-3, on the strength of a power play unit that accounted for three of the Big Green's first four goals.
The Big Green fell behind 1-0 in the first when Colgate's Robbie Bourdon scored at 7:41 of the first period. Dartmouth answered with a power-play goal at 14:35 of the first from Connor Goggin, who blasted a shot past Raider goalie Eric Mihalik from the point for his fourth goal of the season. Dustin Walsh and Matt Linblad assisted on the goal. The Big Green power play struck again at 19:41 when Linblad took a pass from Mike Keenan and found himself one-on-one with Mihalik. Mihalik made an initial pad save, but Linblad was able to roof the rebound into the top of the net for his 13th goal of the year, giving Dartmouth a 2-1 lead at the first intermission that it would not relinquish.
The Dartmouth hot streak continued early in the second period when Rob Smith deposited a Kyle Reeds pass past Mihalik from the top of the crease. Evan Stephens also assisted on the goal at 2:41, which put Dartmouth up 3-1. Colgate cut the lead to 3-2 at the end of a five-minute power play on a Francois Brisebois goal at 12:57. But, just as another power play chance expired for the Big Green, Dartmouth extended its lead to 4-2 when Adam Estoclet netted his 16th of the season at 15:49 of the second, with the assist going to Scott Fleming.
In the third, Walsh scored for the Big Green with another assist going to Linblad, and Colgate added a goal as well for the final 5-3 score line. Goaltender James Mello earned the win for Dartmouth with 20 saves on the afternoon and Big Green improved to 19-12-3 on the season.
F -- Brian O’Neill (Yale)
F -- Andrew Miller (Yale)
F -- Chris Cahill (Yale)
D -- Jimmy Martin (Yale)
D -- Connor Goggin (Dartmouth)
G -- Ryan Rondeau (Yale)
Most Outstanding Player -- Ryan Rondeau (Yale)