UConn hit for six as Yale secure third spot in Friendship Four
University of Connecticut Huskies 3-6 Yale University Bulldogs
Three goals in the final period helped the Yale University Bulldogs take third spot in the 2018 Friendship Four as they downed the University of Connecticut Huskies 6-3 in the Consolation Game at the SSE Arena.
Winger Kevin O'Neil got a brace for Yale, who finish the tournament third but take away three league points from their week in Belfast, which will undoubtedly be a good return for head coach Keith Allain.
UConn, however, go home empty handed following their two defeats - having lost to Boston University in their semi-final - and will have to reset for their return to the States.
In an open start to the game, it was the netminders coming out on top as UConn's Tomas Vomacka and Yale backstop Sam Tucker turned away all that was thrown at them in the early stages.
But both goaltenders looked susceptible to rebounds, with Vomacka the first to look shaky as he batted Joe Snively's shot back into the crease, however his defense collapsed on the puck to clear the danger.
At the other end, Tucker pulled off a stunning pad save to deny Kale Howarth on the doorstep, but his tendency to give up rebounds cost Yale when Miles Gendron was first to the loose puck off Carter Turnbull's initial shot to sweep it in at 18:11.
The Huskies took that lead into the intermission, but promptly gave it back 16 seconds into the middle period when Jack Stevens was set down the right wing and he picked his spot and fired precisely low past Vomacka.
Tucker did superbly to deny Marc Gatcomb out in front soon after, and he was rewarded by his forwards when the Bulldogs took the lead at 24:57, Vomacka losing sight of the puck and Brett Jewell finishing in the slot from Jack St Ivany's pass.
Winger Stevens should have grabbed his second when he was left all alone at the left circle, and he paid for his wastefulness when UConn levelled at 28:17 on the powerplay as Alexander Payusov roofed the puck over Tucker's stick side at the left face-off dot.
But the tie was short-lived as Yale retook the lead at 31:15 when Snively went around the back of the net and centered back into the slot where Kevin O'Neil was on hand to coolly finish into the top corner to make it 3-2.
The Huskies could have gone in at the interval tied had Gendron hit the target when left with time and space in the left circle, but he missed the target altogether and that allowed their opponents to take advantage.
With just 1:36 gone in the third period, the Bulldogs made it a two-goal game, O'Neil dispossessing a slack Gatcomb in his own zone and beating Vomacka with a slick wrister in the left circle.
It looked like they'd got a fifth a few minutes later when Robbie DeMontis tapped in at the crease after a good pass from Phil Kemp, however much to the surprise of most in the arena, the goal was chalked off by video review for goalie interference.
And UConn took full advantage at 48:01 by making it a one-goal game again, Ruslan Iskhakov with the slapshot from the point that Tucker let trickle through his five-hole and Max Kalter was at the doorstep to tap it in.
But any chance of a comeback ended as Yale finished off the game with a quick double salvo, Joe Snively with a snipe from the top of the left circle at 53:43 before Curtis Hall forced the puck home in a scramble at the net at 55:26.
Belfast Telegraph Digital