February 18, 2011

Dogs, Cats Weekend ECAC Trip

Blue Goes To Quinnipiac, Princeton


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NEW HAVEN, Conn. – The No. 3 Yale men's hockey team (20-5, 14-4 ECAC), has a rare Friday night, Sunday afternoon ECAC Hockey set this weekend that completes its regular season road schedule. The Bulldogs take on Quinnipiac (13-12-5, 6-8-4) on Friday at 8 p.m. at TD Bank Sports Center (Comcast New England/CPTV) before heading to New Jersey to face Princeton (14-9-2, 9-7-2) at Baker Rink (ESPNU) on Sunday at 1 p.m.  

VS. QUINNIPIAC
Quinnipiac leads the series with Yale 6-4-1 in a New Haven County rivalry that began in 2005-06. The Bobcats and Bulldogs each won their home games last season, but Yale took the November meeting at Ingalls this season. The Blue erased an early 1-0 deficit with five straight goals to beat Quinnipiac 5-1. Yale scored late in the second to take the lead and then broke it open with three in the third while slightly outshooting the visitors, 33-30. Brian O'Neill hit the net twice while the Elis also got goals from Jeff Anderson and Denny Kearney, who had two points.  Chris Cahill added two assists. Ryan Rondeau stopped 29 of 30 shots and four out of five man-advantages. Quinnipiac's Dan Clarke (21 saves) held off the charge for a while before being replaced by Eric Hartzell (7) early in the third period. The two combined to stop five of seven power-plays.

VS. PRINCETON
Yale, winners of the last four, owns a 127-101-8 lead on Princeton in a series that dates to 1899. Chris Cahill scored twice and added an assist and Ryan Rondeau stopped 27 shots in Yale's 5-3 win over the Tigers in the conference opener for both schools at Ingalls in November. The Bulldogs outshot the Tigers 46-30 but needed a dozen Rondeau saves in the final frame. The Elis, who killed off six of seven Princeton advantages, had multiple 5-on-3s to deal with. Princeton's Alan Reynolds had 41 saves including 19 in the middle period.

LAST WEEKEND
Brian O'Neill had three goals and Brendan Mason added a pair as Yale erased an early deficit with five straight tallies on the way to a 6-3 win over Clarkson last Saturday at Cheel Arena. Yale had a 37-25 edge in shots and scored twice on five man-advantages while also getting a goal from Chad Ziegler and 22 saves from Ryan Rondeau, who blanked Clarkson on three advantages. The night before, Yale outshot St. Lawrence 33-24 but dropped a 3-2 decision at Canton. Andrew Miller and Antoine Laganiere found the net for the Bulldogs while Ryan Rondeau made 21 saves. St. Lawrence got 31 saves from Robby Moss, who helped the Saints kill off all four Yale advantages.

TOTALS FROM LAST WEEKEND
Yale, which had goals from five different players, outscored last weekend's North Country teams 8-6 while having a 70-49 advantage in shots. The Bulldogs were 2-for-9 on the power play and did well to stay out of the penalty box, killing off four of five attempts. Ryan Rondeau stopped 43 of 49 shots, the opposition made 62 saves.

BOBCATS
Quinnipiac, 2-2-3 over its last seven, is coming off a 3-1 loss at Dartmouth last Friday. The Cats are in seventh place, a point ahead of Clarkson. The guys from Hamden have some quality non-league wins this season including Nebraska-Omaha, St. Cloud State, and Ohio State.

TIGERS   
Princeton, four points ahead of Quinnipiac in sixth place, is coming off a 4-4 tie at Harvard and a 4-1 loss at Dartmouth last weekend. The Tigers are 3-3-1 over the last seven outings and have had a five-game win streak in addition to a pair of four-gamers.

PAIRWISE
The NCAA's power ranking system used to compare teams for tournament time is called Pairwise. It uses four criteria: record against common opponents, head-to-head competition, record against other teams under consideration and the RPI ranking. Yale is currently first with 28 points followed by Boston College (27) and North Dakota (25).

RANKED TEAMS
Yale is 3-2 vs. ranked teams this year. The Elis beat Union and RPI in December and Dartmouth last weekend at home while falling to the Dutchmen and Engineers on the road.

BOUNCING BACK
The Blue bounced back from a Friday loss to win last Saturday on the road during the ECAC's longest road trip. The Elis avoided being swept on consecutive road trips with an offensive outburst at Clarkson. Yale had gone 57 conference regular season games (Feb. 2008 to Jan. 2011) since falling twice in a row.

PLAYOFFS
The Elis have clinched a home ECAC Hockey playoff series in March, but the weekend has yet to be determined. The top four seeds have a bye for the first round and host quarterfinal series on March 11-13. The fifth through 12-place teams play March 4-6. With four games left in the regular season, Yale can finish as high as first and as low as sixth.
 
LEAGUE WITHIN A CONFERENCE
Six members of ECAC Hockey compete for the Ivy League's Hobey Baker Trophy, which is all that is on the line in this race. Yale is first with 14 points, but Dartmouth (13) can still catch the Blue with one game (at Cornell) left. The Elis have games to play at Princeton and home against Cornell.
 
MILLER TIME
Sophomore F Andrew Miller (59 gp, 12-53-65), voted "best passer" by his teammates, is No. 5 in the nation with .96 assists per game. More impressive is that 15 of his 24 assists are primary ones. He is also hitting the net when it counts this season; four of his seven goals have been winners, which ranks seventh in Division I. Miller (Bloomfield Hills, Mich.), who is 21st in the nation with 1.24 points per contest, registered the most (34) points by a Yale rookie since Tom Walsh set the bar with 41 in 1984-85. The speedy forward was the 2008-09 USA Junior Player of the Year and 2007 Michigan High School Mr. Hockey. Last winter, he was second among conference rookies with one point per game, which also put him fourth in the country for newcomers. He ranked eighth in Division I last year with .85 assists per outing.
CAPTAIN AHAB BEWARE
The Whale (Ingalls Rink) has been a tough place for visitors this season, Moby Dick would be proud. Yale, 14-0 at Ingalls and the only Division I team perfect at home, has never won that many games in a season at New Haven. Yale, which has never been perfect at Ingalls in a year, last went unbeaten at New Haven in 1928-29. The Bulldogs aren't biting any legs off, but they are 37-9-2 over the last three seasons at the Whale. Yale has sold out its last nine straight home games.

ENGINE NO. 9
Junior F Brian O'Neill (92gp, 43-60-103), who has points in nine of the last 10 games, leads the Blue with 15 goals and 32 points. That includes a career-high three goals at Clarkson on Feb. 12. He ranks 13th nationally with .60 goals per game and is 17th with 1.28 points. O'Neill began 2010-11 with a 3-2-5 weekend in the two wins including 2-1-3 and the GWG against Dartmouth on Oct. 30. Last winter he led the Elis with 29 assists and 45 points while ranking seventh in the country with 1.32 PPG. One of his best plays of 2009-10 was a pass he put on Sean Backman's stick in OT that set up the winner at Cornell. He also had the tying goal in the OT draw at the Badger Showdown title game against Wisconsin. O'Neill (Yardley, Pa.), who was voted "most humorous" by his teammates, made the 2008-09 CHN (national) and ECAC Hockey All-Rookie teams after going 12-14-26 in 2008-09.

NET GAIN    
A year after four goalies shared the Yale net, Ryan Rondeau (Carvel, AB) has started 23 of the 25 games and has been named ECAC Hockey MLX Skates Goalie of the Week three times this year. He has three shutouts this season (and career): vs. Harvard (season-high 34 saves), Union and Vermont. Rondeau, who had a 141:29 scoreless streak and consecutive shutouts (first time for a Yalie since 1998) in December, is 19-4 this year. He ranks ninth in GAA (2.02) and 11th in SP (.925) in Division I. Rondeau's career-high is 40 saves at Princeton in 2009. The senior, who owns a 25-8-1 career record, has been in net for seven wins over ranked teams including a 3-2 decision with North Dakota at the 2010 NCAA Northeast Regional semifinal.
 
GOLD STANDARD
Hobey Baker candidate Denny Kearney (Hanover, NH) is third on the team with 11 goals and fourth with 27 points. His assist total (16) includes 12 that were primary helpers. Kearney notched eight points over the first two games (Brown, Dartmouth on Oct. 29-30) and was ECAC Hockey's Player of the Week. That included his first collegiate hat trick (natural) and a game-winner during the most prolific weekend of his collegiate career. In addition, all four assists were primary ones. Kearney (127 gp, 40-77-117), who was voted by his teammates as the "best dresser" and "most talkative" among the Bulldogs, is Yale's active career assist leader (7th best at Yale) and is 11th in points and third in career games played. However, he may not be the best athlete in his family. His sister, Hannah Kearney, won an Olympic gold medal in mogul skiing at the 2010 Games and is the top ranked American in that event.
 
LOTS OF LITTLE
Yale senior forward Broc Little (Rindge, N.H.), a Hobey Baker candidate, is second on the team with 14 goals and 30 points. He is 20th in the nation with .56 goals per game and 23rd with 1.20 points. Little, sixth on Yale's career goals list, had his third career hat trick (3-1-4) against Holy Cross on Jan. 2. Nine of his 16 assists have been primary ones. He was named one of the 20 candidates for the Lowe's Senior CLASS Award in hockey, which honors student-athletes who excel both on and off the ice. Little (120 gp, 67-62-129), who has nine more points than games played, led the 2009-10 Bulldogs with 27 goals, a Yale record for juniors, while leading all of Division I in goals per game (.79). He was second on the team with 41 points and garnered numerous post-season honors, including RBK Second-Team All-America, first-team All-ECAC, All-Ivy and All-New England. Little, a political science major, has shown the same dedication in the classroom with a 3.1 GPA and three-time ECAC Hockey All-Academic Team status.

WALTER BROWN AWARD
Chris Cahill, Broc Little and Denny Kearney are all among the 15 semifinalists for the 59th annual Walter Brown Award given to the top American born Division I player in New England by the Gridiron Club of Boston each March. A Yale player has never won the award.

VOTE HOBEY
Senior Yale hockey forwards Broc Little (Rindge, N.H.) and Denny Kearney (Hanover, N.H.) have been nominated for the 2011 Hobey Baker Memorial Award. The first phase of the process includes fan voting. Go to hobeybakeraward.com and make your choice once every 24 hours. The results of the fan voting will impact the final selection process.

BENCH LEADER
Keith Allain '80, Yale's Malcolm G. Chace Head Coach of Hockey, is 92-54-12 as a head coach, including 9-7 in the post season. Only two other Yale hockey head coaches have more wins, and none have reached the 90-win mark faster than Allain. The former Yale goalie has led the Blue to three Ivy League titles, two ECAC regular season championships, three straight 20-win campaigns and a pair of NCAA Tournament appearances. Allain, who played and worked for Tim Taylor at Yale, earned the 2008-09 Tim Taylor Award as the ECAC Hockey Coach of the Year by leading the Elis 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 were a few reasons why he was selected. College Hockey News named him 2008-09 national coach of the year. This is Allain's 12th overall year at Yale; he spent four as a student-athlete goalie and three as an assistant coach in the 1980s. Allain, a former NHL (17 years) and Olympics (1992, 2006) assistant, was named the 11th head coach of the Yale men's ice hockey program on April 15, 2006. Allain is the second Yale graduate to take the position and the first since Holcomb York '17 led the Bulldogs from 1930 to 1938 (Lawrence M. Noble '27 coached the Elis from 1928 to 1930). The starting goalie on four Bulldog squads, Allain recorded the second-most (31) wins for a Yale netminder and ranks third at the school with 2,337 career saves. He owns four of the top 10 Yale single-game save totals, including 55 stops in a 7-3 loss at Minnesota on Dec. 28, 1978.
 
WORLD JUNIORS
Keith Allain served as head coach of the 2011 U.S. National Junior Team and led the squad to a bronze medal at the International Ice Hockey Federation World Junior Championship in Buffalo, N.Y. The U.S., which won all but its semifinal game, defeated Sweden to take the bronze on Jan. 5.  Allain, who helped the U.S. National Junior Team win a second straight medal at the IIHF World Junior Championship for the first time, owns a 13-4-2 overall record as a head coach in the event, giving him the top winning percentage (.736) of any U.S. head coach to have served on multiple teams. Allain was joined on the U.S. team by Yale's hockey strength & conditioning coach Joe Maher. Kyle Wallack, Yale's fifth-year assistant who is in his first season as associate head coach, served as Yale's head coach in Allain's absence.  

ALLAIN SAID LAST SATURDAY
 "We didn't feel good about last (Friday) night, and we responded the way a good team should. We had all four lines going and playing well. They [Bulldogs] know when they do the right thing, there is a good chance they will be successful."

CAPTAIN MARTIN
Captain Jimmy Martin (St. Louis, Mo.) is a defensive defenseman who has turned himself into a player with offensive potential. He has points in five of his last six games. His four goals this year are a career-high. He now has eight goals and 49 career points which rank ninth at Yale. Martin, who attended three different high schools in three states before coming to New Haven, is a political science major who helped the Des Moines Buccaneers make it to the 2007 USHL final four.  
 
BACKSTOP BACKDROP
A pair of experienced sophomores joins Ryan Rondeau in the net mix. Jeff Malcolm (12 gp, 4.02, .837, 6-4-0) made 16 saves in the 7-4 win over Brown on Oct. 29 before stopping 25 shots in a 4-3 loss at Air Force. The Lethbridge, AB, native has allowed eight goals, including six on the power play and two with a 5-on-3 advantage. Alta Loma, Calif., resident Nick Maricic (16 gp, 2.89, .888, 7-4-2) played the last period against Holy Cross (5 saves) and some of the third at RPI. Maricic has not had a start this winter.
 
BLUE LINE
Three seniors, two juniors and a sophomore comprise the typical Yale defensive lineup this season. These six players, who have nine goals between them in 2010-11, have a combined 509 career games played. Two seniors with 27 points combined, Jimmy Martin and Mike Matczak (Sewell, N.J.), have produced six goals this season.


 
CAHILL
Chris Cahill (North Andover, Mass.) entered the season with 16 goals in three collegiate seasons. He already has 11 this winter, including four different two-goal games and a trio of three-point outings. Cahill was named ECAC Hockey Player of the Week on Dec. 6 after leading (3-1-4) Yale to a pair of wins over nationally ranked teams with three goals and four points. The senior forward is third on the team in goals and has career numbers of 27 goals and 67 points in 115 games.

AGOSTINO
Yale freshman forward Kenny Agostino, named HCA National Rookie of the Month for January (8-4-12), is the first Yale freshman to receive that award. He was ECAC Hockey MLX Skates Rookie of the Week on Jan. 23 (3 goals vs. Clarkson/SLU), becoming the only Bulldog to earn conference rookie honors this season. Agostino has eight goals over his last 13 games. The former Delbarton School star had a goal and three assists before the holiday break, and has eight goals and four assists since. The leading scorer (9-7-16) among Yale freshmen, he ranks ninth nationally among rookies with .90 points per game.  Agostino became the first Yale newcomer in 30 years to record five points in one game on Jan. 2. He notched three goals and two assists against Holy Cross and became the school's first freshman to tally five points since former Olympian and NHL star Bob Brooke '83 established the school rookie record against Dartmouth in 1980.

FROSH
The class of 2014 includes four forwards and one defenseman. All five competed in the Northeast during 2009-10. Three of the new Elis played in the juniors (Eastern, North Atlantic) last winter while two came to Yale from New England prep schools. F Clinton Bourbonais (Colchester, Conn.), F Kenny Agostino (Flanders, N.J.) and F Jesse Root (Pittsburgh, Pa.) have all found the net this season. D Gus Young (Dedham, Mass.), who has been fighting injuries, has an assist in three games played, while F Brad Peltz (Mount Kisco, N.Y.) is looking for his first regular season action. Agostino (2), Root and Peltz combined for four of Yale's five goals in the Dec. 29 win over the Russian Red Stars. Agostino tied a school rookie record with five (3-2) points against Holy Cross.
 
HITTING THE NET
The Bulldogs have 108 goals and are No. 1 in the nation with a 4.32 average after 25 games. Yale hit the 100-goal mark after 23 games. The Blue scored 10 against the Crusaders and had seven goals twice, six twice and five on seven occasions this year. Yale led the nation in scoring in 2009-10 and hit the 100 mark in game No. 25.
 
GEOGRAPHIC BALANCE
The Yale roster includes players from 12 different states and three provinces. Illinois, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania are represented twice each while six hail from Alberta, including a Calgary pair.

FROM WHENCE THEY CAME
Northeast prep schools and the United States Hockey League each contributed nine players to the Bulldog roster. Six former British Columbia Hockey League skaters are at Yale while the Atlantic Junior Hockey League has a pair. One Eli played in the Eastern Junior Hockey League and another came from a private school.
 
SHOOTERS
The Bulldogs have outshot 23 of 25 opponents (by 247 combined) this year after having the advantage in 26 of the 34 games last year. Vermont (32-30) and Union (34-30) are the only squads to outshoot the Blue this season.

STREAK
After opening the season with five straight wins, the Blue stumbled on Nov. 14 at Air Force before bouncing back with a road win at Cornell on Nov. 19. That was the first of 10 straight wins that carried through to the Jan. 15 victory over Brown at Ingalls. Division I's longest win streak this year came to an end the next day at Brown.

A CLASS OF ITS OWN
The Class of 2011 became the winningest in Yale men's hockey history after beating Holy Cross on Jan. 2. The current seniors have amassed 79 victories, surpassing the total reached by the Class of 2010. In addition, the Class of 2011, which is the first from this school to be undefeated (3-0-1) at Cornell, is the first at Yale to have four winning seasons since the Class of 1954.
 
SCORING SPREAD    
Eight members of the senior class have accounted for 49 goals. The juniors (6) have hit the net 33 times. Yale sophomores (4) have tallied 13 goals, while the freshmen (4) have added 13. Bulldog defensemen have hit the net nine times.

SHORTY
Yale had four shorthanded goals last year and led the nation with nine the year before. The Bulldogs' first goal of 2010-11 was shorthanded by Broc Little, the school's career leader with seven, but the team has not done that since.

BULLDOG BITES
Brian O'Neill's first career hat trick was Yale's first three-goal outing since Jan. 2 when both Broc Little and Kenny Agostino each did it against Holy Cross. It was the first road hat trick for a Bulldog since Sean Backman '10 at Quinnipiac on Feb. 2, 2007 and the first Bulldog hat trick at Clarkson since Francis Lloyd '59 in 1957… Denny Kearney (5 goals) is Yale's active leading scorer against Quinnipiac while Broc Little and Brian O'Neill have two each; Little is the active leader against Princeton with five.

UP NEXT
The conclusion of the 2010-11 regular season is next weekend as Colgate and Cornell come to Ingalls on Friday and Saturday nights at 7.

BULLDOGS IN THE PROS
This season, for the first time ever, two former Yale players skated on the same National Hockey League team. Chris Higgins '05 and Joe Callahan '05 have been on the Florida Panthers' roster at times. They played in the same game again on Feb. 13 and Higgins had a goal that night against the Sharks. In other alumni news, Mark Arcobello '10 was named MVP of January's ECHL All-Star Game after netting three goals. Thirteen former Yale players are skating professionally this winter: Sean Backman '10 (Texas Stars, AHL, 41 GP, 5-10-15 ), Ryan Donald '10 (Reading Royals, ECHL), Mark Arcobello '10 (Oklahoma City Barons, AHL), Alec Richards '09 (Rockford Icehogs, AHL, 73 GA, 2 SO, 2.64, 10-17-1, .904), Brennan Turner '09 (Binghamton Senators, AHL), David Meckler '09 (Manchester Monarchs, AHL), Matt Cohen '07 (Hamburg Freezers, DEL), Brad Mills '07 (New Jersey Devils, NHL; Albany Devils, AHL), Chris Higgins '05 (Florida Panthers, NHL, 42 GP, 10-11-21), Joe Callahan '05 (Florida Panthers, NHL; Rochester Americans, AHL), Stacey Bauman '03 (Tulsa Oilers, CHL), Jeff Hamilton '01 (HIFK Helsinki, FNL), Ray Giroux '98 (Chelyabinsk Traktor, KHL).

YALE HOCKEY BROADCASTS
The pay-per-view Yale home hockey "TV" broadcasts on yalebulldogs.com are a Yale Athletic Department production that employs students to produce, shoot and broadcast most of the action. Sam Dorward '13 is the producer and Joel Oblizalo '12 does the camera work. Evan Ellis '11 handles most of the calls for the Elis as well as an interview with Coach Allain.

ON 'TV'
The Dec. 5 game against Union aired live on ESPNU, the first of two Yale games on ESPNU this season. The Feb. 20 game at Princeton is also on ESPNU. The YES Network aired the Feb. 5 Dartmouth game. The Elis have also been on CBS College Sports (at Cornell) and Time Warner Cable (at Colgate, Union and RPI).
 
WYBC
The Yale student radio station formerly found on AM-1340 and on wybc.com, is only available via internet this season. WYBC does most of the home contests and a pre-game interview with Coach Allain.
 
INGALLS RENOVATIONS
Yale hockey celebrated the re-dedication of Ingalls Rink (3,500 capacity) on Jan. 16, 2010, with ceremonies on and off the ice. The rink built in 1958 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 for the building nicknamed the Yale Whale because of its humpback-shaped roof.
 
NCAAS BACK AT BRIDGEPORT
Yale and Fairfield hosted the 2009 East Regional in Bridgeport at Webster Bank's Arena at Harbor Yard, and the Bulldogs were one of the four teams to participate. The 2011 and 2012 East Regionals are also slated for the Yard. This coming NCAA tourney is March 25-26. Game times on the 25th are 3 and 6:30 with a 6:30 p.m. championship contest on the 26th.
 
IN THE POLLS
Yale, which has been among the top 3 ranked teams nationally all season, moved back one spot in both polls to No. 3 this week. Boston College grabbed all 34 first-place votes in the USA Today/American Hockey Magazine Poll with North Dakota jumping to No. 2. The Eagles had all 50 votes in the uscho.com poll with the Sioux in the second spot again.

CONFERENCE RACE
Yale, winners of the last two conference regular season titles, trails Union by a point with four games left. Dartmouth is four points behind the Bulldogs. The Dutchmen (14-1-1 at home) finish at Clarkson/St. Lawrence and then host Quinnipiac and Princeton.

filed by Steve Conn, Yale Sports Publicity Director