YALE HEADS TO HAMILTON, ITHACA
NEW HAVEN, Conn. -- The Yale men's hockey team (14-6-3, 10-4-2) embarks on a challenging road trip this weekend with first place in ECAC Hockey at stake. The No. 6/7 Bulldogs, winners of three of the last four outings, take on Colgate (11-11-5, 8-6-1) Friday before heading to No. 6/8 Cornell (13-6-3, 10-3-2) Saturday. Both faceoffs are set for 7 p.m. and can be heard live on WYBC AM 1340 or wybc.com.
Cornell, Yale and Union each have a conference-best 22 points. St. Lawrence (19), RPI (18) and Colgate (17) are close behind with three weekends left in the regular season. Quinnipiac, Harvard, Brown and Princeton are all in double figures and could make a run as well.
YALE VS COLGATE
The Raiders hold a 45-36-4 advantage in a series with Yale that began in 1916-17. The Elis are 3-1-1 in the last five games after a 3-3 tie at Ingalls in November. Brian O'Neill, Sean Backman and Tom Dignard hit the net as the home team had a 44-22 advantage in shots. Nick Maricic made 19 saves while Charles Long had 41. The Bulldogs erased a 4-0 deficit with five straight in an OT win on the last trip to Starr Rink.
YALE VS. CORNELL
The Big Red and Elis have been playing since the turn of the century and Cornell has a 75-54-5 lead. Yale took the November meeting at New Haven and has taken the last four straight. The Elis, ranked 11th at the time, went scoreless on seven man-advantages but managed to take a 4-2 win the second weekend of conference play. Mark Arcobello, Brendan Mason, Broc Little and Brian O'Neill lit the lamp. Yale outshot the Red 37-27 and got 25 stops from Nick Maricic. Ben Scrivens had 33 saves for then No. 3 Cornell.
LAST WEEKEND AT INGALLS
The Blue had a 98-60 advantage in shots on target and converted five of 10 power plays while killing off nine of 10 penalties in a four-point weekend. Yale erased a two-goal deficit to beat Dartmouth on Friday 4-2 before taking a 6-3 game with Harvard. The Bulldogs had 22 SOG in the third period against the Crimson and combined for 36 in first frames last week. The Elis notched two PPG, a shorthanded goal and a penalty shot tally against the Big Green. Broc Little, who had the penalty shot, led the way with two goals. Nick Maricic (7 saves) started the game and was replaced by Billy Blase (18), who did not allow a goal, at the start of the second. Blase was back for his first start of the year on Saturday and had 20 stops. Sean Backman had a goal and two assists in a game that featured Harvard erasing a 2-0 Yale lead before the home team scored three straight in the third.
Here are the per game averages for each team and where it ranks in Division I.
The Raiders are 4-2-1 over the last seven dates are coming off a win at Princeton and a loss at Quinnipiac. Colgate, which has accomplished something Yale could not - a win over RPI - has a sophomore and a senior getting the majority of net work. Either Alex Evin (2.65, .909), the reigning
ECAC Goalie of the Week, or senior Charles Long (3.37, .890) will be in net this Friday. Junior F Brian Day, who has a team-high 16 goals, is one of six NHL draftees on the Raiders roster.
The Big Red, who also have six pro draft picks, have won three of four after a win at Quinnipiac and a loss at Princeton. Senior Ben Scrivens (2.00, .928) has three shutouts and has been one of the reasons for Cornell's stay in the national rankings. Senior F Blake Gallagher leads the Red with 14 goals and 28 points.
The PairWise sytem is a ranking established by uscho.com that tries to imitate the NCAA Selection Committee's ordering of teams for the tournament. Cornell is currently 14th while Yale and Union are tied at No. 17.
Yale has seven players who have reached 20 points this season. Last year, during the Elis' best winter on ice, there were just five skaters over that mark. The last time the Blue had that many 20-point guys was 1991-92 with Mark Kaufmann, John Sather, James Lavish, Jack Duffy, Martin Leroux, Craig Ferguson and Jeff Blaeser.
RED LIGHT DISTRICT ON PROSPECT STREET
Yale averages 4.6 goals playing at the corner of Prospect and Sachem this season after getting 10 last weekend to raise the home record to 8-2-1. The Elis lead the nation with 4.04 goals per game and have a power play that ranks fourth in Division I at 23.5. Two Bulldogs (Sean Backman, Broc Little) are among the top 10 in the nation in goals per game, while defenseman Tom Dignard is third in Division I points per game for defensemen. Yale has scored 32 power play goals and 93 overall. The 1985-86 Bulldogs own the school record for both, 59 and 160 respectively.
Junior F Brendan Mason (7-4-11) entered the season with six career goals and has already surpassed that number in 23 outings this winter. He had his first collegiate two-goal game, including the winner, in a 4-3 win over Union on Jan. 29. Mason, classmate Jeff Anderson (4-4-8) and sophomore Charles Brockett (0-2-2), who comprise what is known as Yale's checking line, have produced 11 goals and 21 points this year. Mason had four goals and seven points in January and added a goal last Saturday against Harvard.
CLASS OF ‘10
The four skaters in Yale's class of 2010 have accumulated 136 career goals and 309 combined points over three-plus seasons. A few other classes have produced more offense -- all with at least two more skaters -- including 1993 (Mark Kaufmann, James Lavish, Yannick Chiasson, Jack Duffy, Peter Allen, Dean Malish) which had 170 goals and 431 combined points.
The players on the ice don't always match the night's line sheet. Changes are frequent, but even more so the last two weeks. The Bulldogs skated wholesale changes that included separating Yale's active career points leaders Mark Arcobello and Sean Backman, who have skated together for the majority of their three-plus seasons. In addition, three new players were inserted into Saturday's lineup.
Senior F Mark Arcobello (8-12-20) hit the career, 100-point mark Saturday against Harvard with two assists. He is one of two Elis to reach that mark. Arcobello has a point in seven of the last 10 games that includes five goals over the last nine games. His top game of 2008-09 was a two-goal performance at Dartmouth in a 4-2 win. He scored his first collegiate shorthander before tallying the winner in the third. Arcobello added his second SHG against Dartmouth at home. He was a 2008-09 second-team All-America pick after recording 17-18-35. He has 42 goals in 120 career games.
The current Elis are a true mix of experience. Last Saturday's lineup included six juniors, five sophomores, four seniors and five freshmen, including two goalies. No class has been common for any one Bulldog line or defensive pairing.
Saturday's game at Ithaca could determine the winner of the league (Ivy) within the conference (ECAC). Yale, with two games left against Ancient Eight teams, leads the Ivies with 14 points. Only Cornell, which has eight points and four games left, could surpass that total, but it would require a Big Red win on Saturday or the race is complete. The Elis, who could take the title with a win or tie on Saturday, finish off the Ivy slate at Princeton on Feb. 26.
A busy weekend at Ingalls Rink concluded Sunday with Yale Hockey's annual "Skate with the Players." Members of the Yale men's and women's hockey teams took time to skate with young fans and sign autographs, filling the ice at Ingalls for more than an hour. Fans also enjoyed the chance to get a behind-the-scenes tour of the recently renovated facility... Billy Blase's start in net on Saturday against Harvard was his first since Jan. 17, 2009, against St. Lawrence... The 47 saves by Dartmouth's James Mello last Friday were a season-high for a Yale opponent.
Saturday's crowd of 3,500 marked the seventh sellout at Ingalls this year and the fifth straight. Yale had six sellouts in 2008-09.
The Yale roster includes players from 12 different states and three provinces. The most from a state is two (California, Connecticut, Illinois and New Hampshire) while six hail from Alberta, including a Calgary pair.
The Bulldogs have outshot opponents in 16 of the 23 games and are 11-3-2 in those outings. The Elis average 39 shots and give up 26. In the first period alone the Blue has a 119-shot advantage.
Yale potted a pair of shorthanded goals last weekend and now has four this year. Mark Arcobello has two this winter, Sean Backman and Broc Little have the others. Little led the country with five last year while the Elis had nine overall.
It's been an up-and-down special teams season; the power play has been up - most of the time - and the penalty kill has been good - some of the time. Yale is fifth in the nation on the power play with a 23.5 mark after converting five of 10 chances last week. However, the Elis recently went one for 19 over three games. The Blue, 9-0 when tallying at least two PPG, was just over 11 percent after the first six games but went on a tear. The best night was 5-for-8 against Brown on Jan. 16, the most productive PP day since Nov. 13, 1992, when the Blue went 5-for-7 in a 10-6 win over Colgate at Hamilton. The penalty-kill unit is at 82.2 percent, 27th in Division I.
Junior F Broc Little (18-8-26), coming off a three-goal, four-point weekend, is second among Division I players with .78 goals per game. Little is No. 1 in the nation with five GWG while his 1.13 points per game are 35th. He has one SHG this year after leading Division I with five in 2008-09. He leads the Elis in goals this season and has a point in all but six games. Little's nine game point streak to start 2009-10 is a team best. He has 44 goals and 84 points in 84 career games.
Sophomore F Brian O'Neill (9-16-25) had the most points on the team for most of the year up until last week. He has points in 16 of 23 games and had the tying goal in the OT draw in the Badger Showdown title game. He had 2-1-3 in the win over Sacred Heart on Nov. 24 and 1-2-3 vs. Ferris State. O'Neill's 1.09 points per game are 44th in Division I. He made the CHN (national) and ECAC Hockey All-Rookie teams after going 12-14-26 last winter. His career numbers are 21-30-51.
Junior F Denny Kearney (5-16-21) is one of the premier set-up men in college hockey. He has a point in 16 of 23 games including two goals against Quinnipiac. Kearney, who has 22 career goals and 74 points in 91 games, was in Colorado over the break to watch his sister, Hannah, 2005 world champion, qualifiy for the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver as a mogul skier (As the Elis pulled into Lake Placid for practice on Jan. 21 on the way to the North Country, Hannah was winning the 2010 Freestyle World Cup Moguls on Whiteface Mountain, just nine miles away). She competes this Saturday night at Vancouver while the Elis are playing Cornell.
All seven members of the class of 2013 have been in the lineup at times this year. The seven frosh have combined for 83 games played with 10 goals and 39 points. Antoine Laganiere leads the newcomers with five goals, while Andrew Miller has 21 points and is ranked sixth among Division I rookies with .91 points per game. The two goalies, Nick Maricic and Jeff Malcolm, who have contributed a combined four assists to the offense, own 17 of the 23 decisions and 10 of the 14 wins.
Four different Bulldogs have earned wins in net this season: two freshmen, a junior and senior. Newcomers Nick Maricic (2.74, .896, 5-3-2) and Jeff Malcolm (2.74, .887, 5-2-0), junior Ryan Rondeau (3.84, .880, 1-1-1) and senior Billy Blase (1.61, .932, 3-0-0) have been in net. Rondeau has the top save night with 40 at Princeton. Blase, the only Eli with a collegiate shutout, has three wins and just one start. His first two appearances in relief resulted in perfect showings and victories. His one start was 20 saves in the 6-3 win over Harvard last Saturday.
F Sean Backman (15-11-26) broke into Yale's career points top 10 last weekend and is now alone in ninth with 117. His 71 career goals are fourth best at Yale and put him seven behind Bob Kudelski for third. His 117 points in 116 games puts him in a select class of Division I players who have over 100 games and as many points as games played. Backman was named to the College Hockey News (CHN) 2009-10 Pre-Season All-America squad. Ding Palmer's 87 career goals between 1927-30 are a long way off. Backman has a point in 16 of 23 outings this winter and is 10th in Division I with .65 goals per game. He was second-team All-ECAC last year after leading his team with 20 goals. Backman tallied the team's lone hat trick of the year in a 5-0 win over Cornell that gave the Blue the ECAC Hockey Tournament Title and made him tournament MVP.
Yale Career Goals Yale Career Points
Ding Palmer 87 1927-30
Jeff Hamilton 173 1996-01
Jeff Hamilton 80 1996-01
Mark Kaufmann 160 1989-93
Bob Kudelski 78 1984-87
Bob Kudelski 158 1983-87
Sean Backman 71 2006-Pres.
Bob Brooke 155 1979-83
Randy Wood 141 1982-86
Dan Poliziani 131 1978-82
Bob Logan 122 1982-86
Jack Morrison 119 1964-67
Sean Backman 117 2006-Pres.
Senior D Tom Dignard (5-15-20) ranks No. 3 among Division I blueliners with 1.11 points per game. He has 18 career goals, which is fourth on the school charts and 11 shy of the record set by Dave Baseggio (29-79-108) between 1985-89. Dignard needs four goals to catch Darcy Ryan and Ray Giroux (22) and tie for second. He is fifth among Yale blueliners in career points with 69. Dignard, who has a 3.71 GPA in economics and math, is a candidate for ECAC Hockey's Student of the Year Award.
Yale Defensemen Career Points
Dave Baseggio 29-79-108 1985-89
D'Arcy Ryan 22-62-84 1971-72, 73-75
Ray Giroux 22-62-84 1994-98
Jack Duffy 16-55-71 1989-93
Tom Dignard 18-51-69 2006-Pres.
Jeff Dwyer 14-55-69 2000-04
On one hand, the Bulldogs lose three of their top five point producers to graduation after the 2009-10 season. On the other hand, Yale returns seven of its top 10 point scorers and three of the four goalies next season.
Senior F Mark Arcobello has 120 career games played. Most Eli seniors don't get a glimpse of triple digits until late in their final campaigns. Teammates F Sean Backman (116) and D Ryan Donald (112) recently followed Arcobello to the century mark. All three could break the record of 125 games shared by Jeff Hamilton ‘01 and Jeff Hristovski ‘06. The Elis have a minimum of eight games left.
Ryan Donald (St. Albert, ALB), a class of 2010 defenseman, is the captain of the 2009-10 Bulldogs. The 6-foot-3, 220-pound skater has already tied his career-high for goals (2) in a season and is one shy of that mark in points (8). The defensive-blueliner (5-18-23 career) is a political science major who was recognized as a member of the ECAC All-Academic team in 2009. Last summer he skated in the Vancouver Canucks' free-agent camp.
CARE TO COMPARE
The 2008-09 Bulldogs enjoyed the best season in the history of Yale hockey after starting 17-5-1 with 78 goals. The current Bulldogs have three fewer wins in their first 23 but have hit the net 93 times. The Elis were 5-1 against ranked teams in the first 23 last year, they are 5-2-1 this season.
In the Polls
Yale moved up one spot to No. 7 on the USA Today/USA Hockey Magazine national chart while improving two spots to No. 6 on the USCHO.com list this week. Yale had been No. 5 for two weeks this year which matches the school record. The Bulldogs are 2-0-1 against top 15 teams in the current USA Today rankings and 3-2-2 vs. the USCHO's top 20. Yale is 5-2-1 against teams that were ranked on game night.
Keith Allain ‘80, Yale's Malcolm G. Chace Head Coach of Hockey, has helped establish the Bulldogs on the national scene since he joined the program four years ago. In 2008-09 he led Yale to the best season in the program's history. A school-record 24 wins, Yale's first ECAC Tournament Championship and a school-best No. 5 national ranking in late March back up that statement. The Elis' second ECAC regular-season title, a third NCAA Tournament appearance and an Ivy League crown confirm the status of the 2008-09 squad. He was honored by ECAC coaches as conference coach of the year (Tim Taylor Award) and College Hockey News named him national coach of the year. This is Allain's 11th overall year at Yale; he spent four as a student-athlete goalie and three as an assistant coach in the 1980s.
"We had gone a few weekends in a row without a sweep. It feels good to do that again," said Allain after last weekend. "One of the things that I was most happy about today was our depth, especially what I saw from the [Kevin] Limbert, [Chad] Ziegler, [Josh] Balch line. Every shift was high energy. It lifted the whole team."
The junior class has contributed 36 goals this season, the seniors have 30. The sophomores are third with 17 while the newcomers have 10 goals.
Ed Maturo, in his 33rd year as Yale's Director of Equipment Services, will be retiring at the end of the 2009-10 season. Maturo, who began working with Yale hockey teams in 1977-78 and was nicknamed "Fox" because of his silver-colored hair many years ago, missed the 1993-94 and 2005-06 seasons to work for U.S. Teams at the winter Olympic games. He has worked 941 Yale men's varsity hockey games.
BULLDOGS IN THE PROS
Fourteen former Yale players are skating professionally this winter. Here are the details on each. Alec Richards '09 (Rockford Icehogs, AHL), Brennan Turner '09 (Elmira Jackals, ECHL), David Meckler '09 (Manchester Monarchs, AHL), Blair Yaworski '08 (Wheeling Nailers, ECHL), Matt Cohen '07 (Trenton Devils, ECHL), Brad Mills '07 (Lowell Devils, AHL), Chris Brooks ‘06 (Bakersfield Condors, ECHL), Joe Zappala ‘06 (Bossier-Shreveport Mudbugs, CHL), Chris Higgins '05 (Calgary Flames, NHL), Joe Callahan '05 (Worchester Sharks, AHL), Stacey Bauman '03 (Rio Grande Valley Killer Bees, CHL), Jeff Hamilton '01 (Lugano, Swiss-A), Ray Giroux '98 (St. Petersburg SKA, KHL) Alex Westlund '98 (Linz EHC, Austria).
The Yale hockey program celebrated the re-dedication of Ingalls Rink on Jan. 16 with a ceremonies on and off the ice. The rink has been modernized in many ways while adding 13,000 square feet of varsity operational space. The additions include locker rooms and space for strength & conditioning (including skating treadmill), student-athlete study area, medical & training, officials, video, coaches, equipment, reception (Schley Room) and more. There are new historical displays and concession stands and bathrooms.
BULLDOGS ON THE AIR
All Yale home games include live video and audio streaming. All games from Ingalls can be seen live through Yale's All Access on yalebulldogs.com. The audio is provided by WYBC radio, and the broadcast can also be heard on either AM 1340 or on wybc.com.
Release filed by Steve Conn, Yale Sports Publicity Director
Image from Nov. 2009 Yale-Cornell Game by Mike Butler