2009-10 Yale Men's Hockey Outlook
NEW HAVEN, Conn. -- The Yale men's hockey team is coming off its greatest season ever: a school-record 24 wins, three conference championships and a No. 5 national ranking. There does not appear to be a lot of room for improvement, but the Bulldogs (24-8-2, 15-5-2), who won their second regular season ECAC Hockey title and the school's first-ever tournament championship last March without having a player selected for any of the conference's five player of the year awards, have the potential to reach similar heights in newly renovated Ingalls Rink. The first official look at the squad comes with today's first practice.
Seventeen of Yale's 22 lettermen return for Keith Allain '80, Yale's Malcolm G. Chace Head Coach of Hockey and the conference coach of the year, who was also College Hockey News (national) Coach of the Year. Five of Yale's six All-ECAC Hockey selections, the team's top 10 point producers and 101 of the Bulldogs' 113 goals return. Experience is also plentiful with five players likely to reach the 100-game milestone including senior captain and defenseman Ryan Donald.
Two of Yale's most experienced seniors are also two of the league's most exciting players. All-American and first-team All-ECAC Hockey selection Mark Arcobello (34, 17-18-35) and Sean Backman (32, 20-13-33), a second-team all-conference pick, who led the Blue in goals, head the list of forwards. Junior Broc Little (34, 15-20-35) tied for the team lead in points while leading the nation with five shorthanded goals. Classmate Denny Kearney (34, 9-22-31) led the Elis in assists and set up most of Little's shorthanded tallies. Juniors Brendan Mason (31, 1-7-8), who set up the late winner against St. Lawrence in the comeback conference tournament semifinal victory, and Jeff Anderson (34, 4-3-7) skate with physical tenacity and add a special ingredient to the team chemistry. Second-year forwards Brian O'Neill (33, 12-14-26) and Kevin Limbert (34, 7-8-15) made a huge impact as newcomers. O'Neill, who led all Yale frosh in scoring, made both College Hockey News and ECAC Hockey's All-Rookie Teams. Limbert was close behind and tallied the game-winner in the improbable, four-goal comeback at Colgate last January. Sophomores Charles Brockett (30, 0-5-5) and Chad Ziegler (15, 0-2-2) also contributed to last winter's success, while classmate Dan Otto, who sat out 2008-09 with an injury, has his first chance to earn playing time. Andrew Miller (Bloomfield Hills, Mich.), the 2008-09 USA Junior Player of the Year, Josh Balch (Wilmette, Ill.), who earned a gold medal at the 2008 World Junior A Challenge, and Antoine Laganiere (Ile Cadieux, Que.), a former Deerfield Academy skater with 68 points in 58 games, add skill to an already talented corps.
Two of the best blueliners in the conference are back for their final seasons. Ryan Donald (33, 0-8-8) made the 2009 ECAC Hockey All-Tournament Team and was in the Vancouver Canucks' Development Camp this summer, while Tom Dignard (21, 5-12-17) was second-team all-conference despite missing the last dozen games with an injury. A trio of juniors helped the Blue go 17-2-2 when leading after two periods last winter. Jimmy Martin (34, 2-8-10), Mike Matczak (30, 3-7-10) and Ken Trentowski (25, 1-8-9) are seasoned skaters. Sophomores Kevin Peel (23, 2-6-8) and Nick Jaskowiak (29, 2-6-8) earned letters their first seasons and will compete for regular roles this winter. A pair of newcomers from the BCJHL and Calgary, Alb., Colin Dueck and Jesse Hudkins, add depth to this unit. Dueck played for a championship-winning Camrose Kodiaks squad, while Hudkins hit the net 27 times in three seasons for the Okotoks Oilers.
Two of the three netminders return this winter, but All-ECAC Hockey pick Alec Richards has graduated and was signed by the NHL's Chicago Blackhawks. The two returnees have had their share of big-game experiences. Senior Billy Blase (2.71, 1-2-1, .911) is the more experienced and accomplished of the two. He owns 14 career wins with a 2.59 GAA. Junior Ryan Rondeau (2.27, 4-1-0, .901) got three of his four wins last year against nationally ranked opponents. Freshmen Nick Maricic (Alta Loma, Calif.), who played in the U.S. National Team Development Program the last two years, and former BCHL standout Jeff Malcolm join the Yale net mix.
Release filed by Steve Conn, Yale Associate AD & Sports Publicity Director