Yale Prepares for March 12-14 Series

No. 6 BULLDOGS WAIT FOR QUARTERFINAL OPPONENT 

NEW HAVEN, Conn. -- The Yale men's hockey team, ranked No. 6 in the latest uscho.com national poll, captured the outright ECAC Hockey regular season championship last weekend and will know this week which opponent comes to Ingalls Rink for the March 12-14 best-of-three, quarterfinal series.

The best-of-three, first-round series takes place this Friday, Saturday and Sunday if necessary. The Elis (19-7-3 overall, 15-5-2 ECAC) will host the lowest advancing seed in 7 p.m. face-offs that can be seen live as a pay-per-view on B2 Networks and heard free on WYBC Radio (AM-1340, wybc.com) next weekend.

Quarterfinals tickets are available online at yalebulldogs.com or by calling 203.432.1400. Yale students will be admitted free when presenting valid Yale student identification at Ingalls Rink on game nights.

The Bulldogs, who still lead Division I with 4.24 goals per game, won last Friday at Princeton, 7-4, before having their win streak end at seven when dropping the season finale at Quinnipiac, 4-3. While the Elis clinched the outright conference title that night, the loss dropped them two spots to No. 8 in the USCHO.com PairWise Rankings, the system similar to the one used by the NCAA to select its tournament teams.

Senior forward Sean Backman (21-14-38) and junior Denny Kearney (8-22-30) led the Blue offensively last weekend with two goals and three points each. Freshman forward Antoine Laganiere (7-3-10) had two goals against Princeton, his first multiple-goal outing, and Mark Arcobello (11-17-28) added a goal and three points on the weekend. Nick Maricic (2.95, .888), who stopped 23 of 27 shots in both games, played every minute of the two-game weekend in the Yale net.

Yale, which earned its second straight ECAC regular season title, outshot Princeton/Quinnipiac 71-54 and was a combined 3-for-8 on the power play last weekend. The Elis, outshooting teams 40-26 on average, scored seven times on just 33 shots at Baker Rink last Friday.

Yale junior forward Broc Little (25-13-38) has a team-high 25 goals and shares the Division I lead with Sacred Heart's Nick Johnson and Rensselaer forward Chase Polacek. Little and Johnson also share the national lead for game-winning goals with seven. Little's .86 goals per game are also tops in the country; Backman is fourth at .72.

Backman, Little and sophomore Brian O'Neill are all included in the online ballot for the 2010 Hobey Baker Award, the prize given to the top player in collegiate hockey. Backman is also a finalist for the 2010 Frozen Four Skills Competition on April 9 at Ford Field in Detroit. An online ballot exists for that as well. However, he is hoping to be ineligible for the event. Players competing on teams in the Frozen Four are unable to participate in the skills event.

The Tim Taylor Award is presented to the ECAC Hockey coach of the year. Keith Allain '80, Yale's Malcolm G. Chace Head Coach of Hockey, earned that honor in 2008-09 and is a strong candidate for a repeat. He won his 70th game as the Yale head coach last Friday at Princeton. The former Yale goalie has led the Blue to three Ivy League titles, two ECAC regular season championships and a 2009 NCAA Tournament appearance in four seasons.

Allain had an eye on Vancouver whenever possible the last two weeks because of his connection to the U.S. players. He worked with 13 of the 22 on the Olympic roster, either in the National Hockey League or at the 2006 Winter Games, including Chris Drury, Zach Parise and Brian Rafalski.

 

filed by Steve Conn, Yale Sports Publicity Director

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