BLUE HOSTS LAST HOME REGULAR SEASON SET
NEW HAVEN, Conn. -- The Yale men's hockey team (16-6-3, 12-4-2) is back at the Whale this weekend to host the last home regular season games of 2009-10. The No. 5 Bulldogs, coming off a pair of ECAC sweeps and a jump into first place, have the North Country teams coming to New Haven for Friday night and Saturday afternoon games. The Elis look to avenge a loss at Canton last month when St. Lawrence (14-11-6, 8-6-4) is at Ingalls for a 7:00 faceoff, while Yale and Clarkson (7-20-3, 3-13-2) square off at 4 on Saturday.
A limited number of seats are available for both games. Call the Yale Ticket Office at 203.432.1400 to order them. The Ingalls Rink Ticket Office opens at 5:30 pm on Friday and 2:30 on Saturday.
Yale had a two-point lead over Cornell and Union after sweeping last weekend, but the Big Red knocked off Colgate on Tuesday and climbed back into a tie with the Blue. Two weekends are left with eight points on the line and a lot of teams bunched together.
Yale went 1-1-1 against St. Lawrence last year, but the Saints have a 53-24-8 advantage and took this year's game at Appleton Arena, 4-2. Antoine Laganiere and Mark Arcobello hit the net as Yale erased a 2-0 deficit on Jan. 23, but Ken Tisi (40 saves) blanked the Blue the rest of the way. The Elis had a 42-29 lead in shots but went scoreless on five man-advantages. Jeff Malcolm (6 saves) got the start in goal but gave way to Nick Maricic (19), who got the loss.
The Elis have played Clarkson 101 times since 1929-30 and the Knights own a 68-29-4 lead. Clarkson and Yale has split the last two season series and the Elis took this year's first meeting, 3-2. Mike Matczak, Jimmy Martin and Broc Little scored and Nick Maricic stopped 23 of 25 shots in Yale's win at the Cheel Arena.
LAST WEEKEND IN NY
The Bulldogs grabbed four points with wins at Colgate (6-3) and Cornell (2-1, OT). Sean Backman had three goals, Broc Little had a pair and Andrew Miller notched four points to lead the visitors. Billy Blase stopped 42 of 46 shots to take both wins in net. Yale, which outshot Cornell 8-0 in OT, had a 93-46 advantage in SOG; the only period Yale was outshot was the second at Colgate, 9-7. The Blue converted three of 12 power plays while killing off five of six opponent PPs.
Here are the per game averages for each team and where it ranks in Division I and in ECAC Hockey.
YALE ST. LAWRENCE CLARKSON
Offense 4.04. (1,1) 2.87 (34,10) 2.43 (49, 12)
Defense 2.80 (27, 6) 2.84 (29, 4) 3.83 (54,11)
PIM 12.5 (44,7) 13.1 (40,8) 15.5 (17,4)
Power Play 23.6 (4,3) 19.0 (28,9) 15.8 (47,11)
Penalty Kill 82.3 (26,5) 78.3 (46,7) 76.4 (52,10)
Since beating Yale and earning a weekend sweep in January, St. Lawrence has gone 1-3-2, including a loss to Quinnipiac and a Princeton tie last week at Canton. A pair of seniors lead SLU at both ends of the rink. Travis Vermeulen, who had one of the goals in the 2-2 tie with the Tigers, has team-highs with 14 goals and 29 points while Ken Tisi (2.32, .917) owns eight of the 14 wins. Alex Petizian (3.47, .896) had the start against Princeton and had 43 saves.
Clarkson snapped a nine-game winless skid by sweeping Quinnipiac and Princeton at home last week. Four different players scored goals and sophomore Paul Karpowich (3.70, .889) had 21 saves in the win over the Bobcats on Saturday. Senior Matt Beca, who had one of the Clarkson goals, leads the team with 16 and 30 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. Yale, which entered last weekend tied for No. 17, moved to 11th after the win over Colgate and No. 8 after beating Cornell.
ECAC Hockey named Yale freshman Andrew Miller (4-20-24) rookie of the week after he scored a goal and handed our two assists in two wins last week. He is ranked sixth among Division I rookies with .96 points per game.
Broc Little hit the 20-goal mark with two at Colgate, and that put him in a select group of Elis. Sean Backman hit that mark last winter, but you have to go back to Chris Higgins in 2002-03 to find another one. Legendary Bulldogs like Jeff Hamilton, Mark Kaufmann, Bob Kudelski and Randy Wood also had seasons with at least 20 goals.
Senior Sean Backman and sophomore Brian O'Neill hit the 30-point mark last weekend. It was the third time for Backman (18-12-30) and the first for O'Neill (10-20-30). Five other Bulldogs are within nine points of that mark. The Elis had four players over the 30-point mark last winter.
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.
Yale clinched (16 points) its second straight Ivy League title by winning at Ithaca and improving to 8-1 with one game left at Princeton next week. Second-place Cornell has 10 points with two games remaining. The Elis now have nine Ancient Eight crowns including three in the four seasons under Keith Allain '80, Yale's Malcolm G. Chace Head Coach of Hockey.
Yale has not blanked an opponent this season. Last year, Alec Richards had a school-record four SHO and finished with six, a Yale career record. The Bulldogs have had at least one SHO in seven of the last 10 seasons.
Three (non freshmen) Bulldogs have career-highs for goals this season: Broc Little (20), Brendan Mason (7) and Chad Ziegler (3). Seven players have had their best point output: Brian O'Neill (30), Tom Dignard (21), Jimmy Martin (13), Kevin Peel (12), Mason (11), Jeff Anderson (9) and Ziegler (5).
Saturday is Yale Hockey Youth Day at Ingalls Rink. There is no admission charge for children under the age of 14 and the team will be available for autographs after the game.
The Blue has cliched home ice for either the first or second week of the conference playoffs... Yale's 54 shots on goal at Cornell were the most this season and the most by a Bulldog team since putting 55 on Dartmouth (Jody O'Neill, 53 saves) in January, 2009... Senior Ben Scrivens' 52 saves against Yale were a career-high... Saturday's win was Yale's fourth straight this year and makes it five straight wins against Cornell; it's the longest win streak against the Ivy rival since a 16-game string ended in 1961.
PROSPECT'S RED LIGHT DISTRICT
Yale averages 4.6 goals playing at the corner of Prospect and Sachem this season after netting 10 combined against Dartmouth and Harvard two weeks ago 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 23.6. Two Bulldogs (Sean Backman, Broc Little) are among the top five in the nation in goals per game, while defenseman Tom Dignard is third in Division I points per game for defensemen. Yale has scored 34 power play goals and 101 (most since 2002-03) overall. The 1985-86 Bulldogs own the school record for both, 59 and 160 respectively.
CLASS OF ‘10
This weekend marks the last home regular season games for five Yale seniors: Mark Arcobello, Sean Backman, Billy Blase, Tom Dignard and captain Ryan Donald. They have accumulated 140 career goals and 317 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.
Senior F Mark Arcobello (9-12-21), who has been over 20 points in each of his four seasons, hit the career, 100-point mark on Feb. 6 against Harvard with two assists. Arcobello has a point in three of the last four games. His top game of 2009-10 was a two-goal performance at Dartmouth. He scored his first collegiate SHG before tallying the winner. Arcobello added his second SHG against Dartmouth at home. He was a 2008-09 second-team All-American after recording 17-18-35. He has 43 goals in 122 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.
The Feb. 6 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 18 of the 25 games and are 13-3-2 in those outings. The Elis average 39 shots and give up 26 while having a 332 shot advantage overall.
Yale potted a pair of shorthanded goals on Feb. 5/6 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 fourth in the nation on the power play with a 23.6 mark after converting three of 12 chances last week. However, the Elis recently went one for 19 over three games. The Blue, 10-0 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 82.3 percent, 26th in Division I.
Junior F Broc Little (20-8-28), who hit the net twice at Colgate, leads Division I players with .80 goals per game. Little is No. 2 in the nation with five GWG. 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 seven games. Little's nine- game point streak to start 2009-10 is a team best. He has 46 goals and 86 points in 86 career games.
Sophomore F Brian O'Neill (10-20-30) is tied for the team lead in points and assists. He has points in 18 of 25 games, but his most memorable plays of 2009-10 are easy to recall. He put the puck on Sean Backman's stick before the OT game-winner at Cornell, and he had the tying goal in the OT draw in the Badger Showdown title game against Wisconsin. O'Neill had 2-1-3 in the win over Sacred Heart on Nov. 24 and 1-2-3 vs. Ferris State. O'Neill's 1.20 points per game are 23rd 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 22-34-56 in 58 games.
Junior F Denny Kearney (5-18-23) is one of the premier set-up men in college hockey. He has a point in 18 of 25 games including two goals against Quinnipiac. Kearney has 22 career goals and 76 points in 93 games, but may be equally famous for having an Olympic gold medal winning sister, Hannah Kearney, who won the 2010 mogul competition two hours after the Bulldogs beat Cornell on Feb. 13. He and many of his teammates were glued to a computer monitor watching the live coverage on the bus ride back from Ithaca. Hannah, during a Feb. 14 Bob Costas
interview on NBC, mentioned being a hockey fan because her brother plays for Yale.
All seven members of the class of 2013 have been in the lineup at times this year. The seven frosh have combined for 89 games played with 11 goals and 43 points. Antoine Laganiere leads the newcomers with five goals, while Andrew Miller has 24 points and is ranked sixth among Division I rookies with .96 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 25 decisions and 10 of the 16 wins.
This is the first time in the 115-year history of Yale hockey that three different Yale goalies have five wins each. Four Bulldog netminders have a decision this winter, the first time that's happened since 2003-04. The goalie with the best (5-0) overall record, is not the player with the most saves or minutes played on the team. Senior Billy Blase (1.79, .922), who has three starts and five appearances, does not qualify for any of the national rankings. He is the only current Eli netminder with a collegiate shutout. Freshmen Nick Maricic (2.74, .896, 5-3-2) and Jeff Malcolm (2.74, .887, 5-2-0) have most of the work in goal this year. Junior Ryan Rondeau (3.84, .880, 1-1-1) has the top save night with 40 at Princeton.
F Sean Backman (18-12-30), coming off a 3-1-4 weekend including an OT game-winner at Cornell, is alone at No. 8 on the school's career points list with 121. His 74 career goals are fourth best at Yale and put him four behind Bob Kudelski for third. His 121 points in 118 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. Backman has a point in 18 of 25 outings this winter and is fifth in Division I with .72 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 2008-09 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 74 2006-Pres. Bob Brooke 155 1979-83
Randy Wood 141 1982-86
Dan Poliziani 131 1978-82
Bob Logan 122 1982-86
Sean Backman 121 2006-Pres.
Jack Morrison 119 1964-67
Senior D Tom Dignard (5-16-21) ranks No. 3 among Division I blueliners with 1.05 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 70. 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 18-52-70 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 122 career games played. Most Eli seniors don't get a glimpse of triple digits until late in their final campaigns. Teammates F Sean Backman (118) and D Ryan Donald (114) 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 six 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 18-5-1 with 86 goals. The current Bulldogs have two fewer wins in their first 25 but have hit the net 101 times. The Elis were 5-1 against ranked teams in the first 23 last year, they are 6-2-1 this season.
IN THE POLLS
Yale moved up two spots to No. 5 on the USA Today/USA Hockey Magazine national chart while improving one spot to No. 5 on the USCHO.com list this week. Yale had been No. 5 for two weeks this year which matched the school record. The Bulldogs are 3-0-1 against top 15 teams in the current USA Today rankings and 4-2-2 vs. the USCHO's top 20. Yale is 6-2-1 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.
"All good teams try to make plays down low. This [game-winner at Cornell] was three good hockey players making a big play. I can't imagine a better college hockey game. I have a lot of respect for them [Cornell]. That was as good as we have played this year."
The junior class has contributed 38 goals this season, the seniors have 34. The sophomores are third with 18 while the newcomers have 11 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).
Yale teams up with the Yale-New Haven Hospital Auxiliary "Toy Closets" program by collecting new, unwrapped toys at this Saturday afternoon's game. Fans can exchange donations for the "Toy Closets" program for one general admission ticket. Donations will be collected in the Athletics Ticket Office from Feb. 15-19. Complimentary tickets cannot be provided on game day, but fans will still have the opportunity to make donations at Ingalls Rink.
The Yale hockey program celebrated the re-dedication of Ingalls Rink on Jan. 16 with 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.
Here's the talent lineup on WYBC this weekend:
Friday - Mike Dunn and Chelsea Janes
Saturday - Mike Dunn and Evan Ellis
Report filed by Steve Conn, Yale Sports Publicity Director
Sean Backman image by Jack Warhola