ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. -- Yale and Cornell won ECAC Hockey semifinal games on Friday night to advance to Saturday's ECAC Hockey championship game. Playing at Boardwalk Hall, Yale downed Colgate, 4-0, in the first semifinal and Cornell bested Ivy foe Dartmouth, 3-0, to set up the title game clash, which will be played at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday. Dartmouth and Colgate will play a consolation game at 4:30 p.m.
In the first semifinal, Yale played upset-minded Colgate, who made it to the semifinals by taking two of three from fourth-ranked Union last weekend. Yale came out and had the better of the early chances, ringing one off the post and firing a couple near misses on the game's first power play. Colagte evened up play late, but Bulldog goaltender Ryan Rondeau was equal to the task, turning away all eight shots he faced in the stanza.
After a disallowed Colgate goal (it was deemed a bouncing puck off the end boards was indeed kicked in past Rondeau), Yale took the lead off a faceoff play. Andrew Miller won an offensive zone draw for his right-winger Chris Cahill, who rifled a snapshot past Raider goaltender Eric Mihalik for the 1-0 lead at 5:07 of the second.
Four and a half minutes into the third period, Colgate's Francois Brisbois came close to tying the game, but Rondeau was able to get enough of his left shoulder on the point-blank shot to keep Colgate off the board. Two minutes later the Bulldogs' Kenny Agostino came up with an all-important insurance tally to put Yale ahead 2-0 on his 11th goal of the season. Miller and Brian O'Neill assisted on the goal at 6:42 of the third.
Then, immediately after killing a off a Cahill penalty, Miller scored for the Biulldogs by beating Mihalik from the top of the crease with a wrist shot roofed into the top of the net with just over five minutes to play. Miller's twelfth of the year was assisted by O'Neill and Miller as all three players notched at least their second points of the night. Antoine Laganiere added an empty net goal with 15-seconds left to close the scoring.
The Bulldogs improved to 26-6-1 with the win, while Colgate fell to 11-27-3 on the year. Yale's penalty kill unit held Colgate scoreless in six power play chances, while Rondeau finished with 22 saves to earn the win.
In the second game, Dartmouth and Cornell - who met twice this season heading into the semifinal matchup, with both those games going to overtime - squared off for the right to meet Yale in the finals.
After solid goaltending by both sides in the first period it looked as if the teams might head to the break tied at 0-0, but a pair of unlikely goal scorers gave Cornell a 2-0 lead at the first intermission. The Big Red took a 1-0 lead with just 1:55 remaining in the first period after Dartmouth goaltender James Mello made a quick right pad save but the rebound was wristed home by defenseman Sean Whitney from the middle of the slot for his second goal of the season. Greg Miller and Tyler Roeszler were credited with assists on the play. Moments later another rebound was knocked home for a sudden 2-0 Cornell lead as freshman Armand De Swardt scored his first career goal and point at 18:29, with an assist from Sean Collins.
Dartmouth applied the pressure for the remainder of the game. In the second period alone, the Big Green outshot Cornell 12-4, but Big Red goaltender Mike Garman turned aside all 12 of those shots. Dartmouth ended the game outshooting Cornell 36-18, but Garman earned the shutout victory. Locke Jillson added an empty net tally at 18:59 for Cornell. Additionally, the Big Red shut down all five Big Green power plays.