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NEW HAVEN, Conn. – The last Yale-Union meeting in the post season seven years ago was a historic event, five overtimes in the longest NCAA men's game ever. The No. 11 Bulldogs (18-10-3), winners of five straight, and No. 18 Dutchmen (19-12-5), the defending conference tournament champions, meet on Friday at 7:30 p.m. in the second semifinal of the ECAC Hockey Championship Weekend at Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City, N.J. Both semifin als and the championship game air live on Fox College Sports (Atlantic). All four games can be seen on americaonesports.com. All Yale games can be heard on WYBC (AM-1340) and wybcx.com.
No. 1 seed Quinnipiac (26-6-5), ranked first in one national poll and second in another, takes on fourth-seed Brown (15-13-6) at 4 p.m. on Friday before Yale (2) and Union (3) tangle. The third-place game is at 4 on Saturday, while it's a 7 p.m. championship game face-off. The Bulldogs depart for South Jersey on Wednesday with practices on Thursday at 12:15 and Friday at 11:15. All four teams gather on Thursday at 5:30 for the ECAC Hockey Championship Reception in the Imperial Room at the Trump Plaza Hotel. That's where the all-conference team will be announced.
WATCHING ON TV
Fox College Sports (Atlantic) is available on Cablevision – New Haven (406), Comcast – New Haven (262) and AT&T U-verse (647). It may also be available on DirecTV (623).
BULLDOGS IN QUARTERS
St. Lawrence scored the first goal of the series, Yale tallied the last nine while outshooting the Saints 84-30 and limiting them to four shots on target in three different frames. The Elis, who had six different goal scorers last weekend, killed off all six SLU power plays while converting two of six advantages.
YALE IN ECACS
The Blue has played 79 ECAC Playoff contests since the first in 1967 and are 27-47-5 overall. Yale, winners of 14 of its last 17 conference playoff games, went 3-3 last year after taking the first-round set with Princeton (2-1) and falling at Harvard in the quarterfinals (2-1). The Bulldogs have two (2009, 2011) ECAC Tournament Championships. Yale has advanced to the conference championship weekend five times. The Blue played in two ECAC championship weekends at the Boston Garden in the 1980s, skated at Lake Placid in 1998 and won titles at Albany (beat SLU, Cornell in 2009) and Atlantic City (Colgate, Cornell in 2011). The Elis have hosted a conference playoff series six straight seasons, the longest string in school history.
Senior F Andrew Miller (135 gp, 40-110-150) is the 115th captain of Yale men's hockey and an All-America candidate with 16-19-35 overall this season. Miller is 18th in Division I with 1.13 points per game after netting five last weekend, including a career-high 2-2-4 in game one of the 2013 ECAC Quarterfinals. Miller is 16th with .52 goals per game. He had a string of 11 straight games with a point end on Feb. 2, while his 19 assists (16 primary) this season helped him become only the second Bulldog to get 100 career helpers. Miller, the 2012-13 Ivy League Player of the Year, who is sixth on Yale's career points list, is also among a select group of college players who have more points than career games played. He has been ranked among the top 10 in Division I for assists the last three years and was voted "best passer" by his teammates the last three years. Miller, a 2010-11 first-team All-ECAC pick, had 12-33-45 that season and was fourth in the nation in assists. More impressive was that 22 of his 33 assists were primary. The 33 helpers were second best at Yale and a sophomore school record. His best offensive weekend as a collegian came in Feb. 2011 when he hit the net three times vs. Colgate/Cornell. As a freshman, Miller (Bloomfield Hills, Mich.), was 12th in the nation in points and registered the most (34) points by a Yale rookie in 25 years. The speedy forward was the 2008-09 USA Junior Player of the Year and 2007 Michigan High School Mr. Hockey.
Senior Antoine Laganiere (Ile Cadieux, Que.) has more goals (33) than any other Bulldog over the last two seasons and is third on the team with 14 this winter. Only two other players in the conference have more goals than Laganiere over the last two years. He was ECAC Player of the Week after getting 2-3-5 against Harvard/Dartmouth on Jan. 18-19. One of the most improved Bulldogs last year, he had his best campaign with 19 goals and 33 points. Laganiere (113 gp, 45-38-83), a second-team All-Ivy pick this year, got hot when the Blue needed it most; he had nine goals over the final nine games, including his first collegiate hat trick in game three of the Princeton 2012 ECAC playoff series. He scored shorthanded, on the power play and even-strength against the Tigers. He also had Yale's best 2011-12 weekend with five goals over three games, which earned him his first ECAC Hockey Player of the Week honor.
Yale junior forward Kenny Agostino (Flanders, NJ) is an All-America candidate who leads the team with 37 points and is 12th in Division I with 1.19 points per game (14th in assists, .71). Agostino impacted four (1-3-4) of the six goals on the last weekend of the regular season and then had four points in the quarterfinal series against SLU. His four-point road weekend at SLU/Clarkson earned him ECAC Player of the Week. Agostino's biggest goal of the year beat No. 2 Denver in OT on Nov. 23. Agostino, a second-team All-Ivy pick this winter, had 14 goals and 34 points in 2011-12, while he earned ECAC Player of the Week honors for his three-goal, Feb. 17-18 weekend. Agostino (95 gp, 40-56-96) has scored other significant, late goals. Last winter, he scored goals in consecutive games with under 35 seconds left in regulation (win, OT loss). Agostino beat Dartmouth at Hanover with 34.8 ticks remaining, followed by a GTG against SLU with 34.2 left at home. His season-high was 2-2-4 against both UConn and Harvard at Ingalls in 2011-12. Agostino became the first Yale newcomer in 30 years to record five points in one game on Jan. 2, 2011. He notched 3-2-5 against Holy Cross and became the school's first freshman to tally five points in 27 years. Yale's rookie of the year in 2010-11, Agostino had 11 goals and 25 points and was the HCA National Rookie of the Month for January (8-4-12), the first Bulldog to receive that award. He was ECAC Hockey Rookie of the Week on Jan. 23 (3 goals vs. Clarkson/SLU), becoming the only Bulldog to earn conference rookie honors in 2010-11. The former Delbarton School star had a goal and three assists before the holiday break, and 10 goals and 11 assists after. He ranked 11th among D1 rookies with .86 points per game.
CLASS OF 2013
Six Yale seniors played their last games at home in the quarterfinals. They've been part of 83 victories, two ECAC titles and three Ivy championships and had their hands in two of the three most successful teams in Yale hockey history. The class of 13 experienced a 2010 conference regular season title, a 2011 ECAC Tournament Championship in Atlantic City and NCAA Regional victories over North Dakota and Air Force. Five of the six were in uniform as rookies when the Elis stunned the Fighting Sioux at Worcester in arguably the most significant victory in program history. The same five wore the home white jerseys at Bridgeport a year later when the Blue, the No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament, beat the Cadets in overtime.
Union, which has won four straight games, returns to the ECAC Hockey semifinals for the second straight season and the third time in the last four years. The Dutchmen, No. 15 in the Pairwise after dispatching Dartmouth in the quarterfinals at home, hope to return to the NCAA Tournament after reaching the 2012 Frozen Four at Tampa.
The only post-season encounter was a first-round ECAC series at Schenectady in 2006, and the Bulldogs took the first game, 2-1, in OT. The worn teams returned the next day, Saturday, March 4, but didn't finish until Sunday. Yale's 3-2, five-OT contest went for 141:35 until David Meckler found the net in what was the longest NCAA men's game ever. The Elis have a 21-17-4 lead in a series that began in 1991-92, the year Union replaced Army in ECAC Hockey.
On Union Game: "I'm expecting a really good hockey game. We have a lot of respect for Coach Bennett and the Union hockey team. I think it will be a game where it will be really hard to get scoring chances."
On Last Weekend: "We're about growth and last weekend we took a step forward as a hockey team. We did great job defensively, and because of that great job, we were able to create a lot of scoring opportunities."
REGULAR SEASON MEETINGS
The first meeting this season was a tie, the last was a home team victory. Union had the slight edge in shots in both games. The key for Yale in both games was the power play. The Elis were a combined 2-for-16 against the Dutchmen this season.
Dec. 8, 2012: Yale 2, Union 2 - Charles Orzetti and Gus Young helped the Bulldogs overcome a 2-0 deficit at Ingalls Rink while Jeff Malcolm made 33 saves.
Feb. 15, 2013: Union 4, Yale 2 – Nick Maricic and Connor Wilson combined to make 38 stops, but the Blue could not hold onto an early lead. Tommy Fallen and Andrew Miller found the net at Schenectady.
Yale's power play ranks 9th in Division I at 22.2… Trent Ruffolo (49, 7 goals) has the highest shot percentage among players who average at least one per game… The Agostino-Miller-Root line combined for 5-8-13 last weekend in two games… Jesse Root had 2-2-4 with goals in both games… Yale may be the only team ever to play two straight games without a penalty-kill. The Bulldogs finished the regular season with a 2-1, penalty-free win over Cornell before opening the 2013 playoffs with a penalty-kill free (2 matching penalties) win over SLU.
Andrew Miller (Bloomfield Hills, Mich.), the 2012-13 Ivy League Player of the Year, was one of five Bulldogs to earn All-Ivy League honors this season. Miller, a first-team selection, was joined by second-team picks Antoine Laganiere (Ile Cadieux, Que.), Jeff Malcolm (Lethbridge, Alb.) and Kenny Agostino (Flanders, NJ). Tommy Fallen (Plymouth, Minn.) earned honorable mention status. Miller led the Blue to its third Ivy team title in the last four years. He is Yale's third Ivy Player of the Year in four seasons and ninth overall, following Brian O'Neill (2011-12) and Sean Backman (2009-10).
Yale (8-2-0) won its third Ivy League title in four years by defeating Princeton on Feb. 23. The Elis have won 11 Ivy championships, including five under Keith Allain.
All four classes are now in double figures. Yale has a team-high 33 goals from its senior class. The juniors, who have the most points on the team, are second with 28 tallies. The sophomores are third with 19 while the newcomers have hit the net 12 times.
There are seven defensemen on the Yale roster, including one senior, one junior, two sophomores and three freshmen. Senior Colin Dueck (Calgary, Alb.) has the most experience (117 games) with junior Gus Young (Dedham, Mass.) second at 71. Sophomore Tommy Fallen (Plymouth, Minn), who leads the defenseman with 7-15-22 after a three-point, quarterfinal series, was the team's rookie of the year in 2011-12. He ranks 16th among Division I defensemen with .71 points per game. Classmate Matt Killian (Basking Ridge, NJ) has also been key contributor this year. Newcomers Rob O'Gara (Nesconset, NY) and Ryan Obuchowski (West Bloomfield, Mich.) have been regulars in 2012-13, classmate Mitch Witek (Downers Grove, Ill.) has also seen some action. The Blue blueliners have contributed 12 goals.
Senior Jeff Malcolm (career: 2.66, .906, 32-19-4), a two-time ECAC Goalie of the Week this season, started 12 straight games before suffering an injury on Feb. 1 against Princeton in the third minute of the first period. He did not dress for five straight games until Feb. 23 in the re-match at Old Nassau. Malcolm returned that night to stop 17 shots in the 4-3 win. He made it three in a row with 48 saves in a sweep of Colgate/Cornell on March 1-2 and then helped the Blue sweep SLU by stopping 29 of 30. His season-high is 36 saves at St. Lawrence in a 5-3 win, while his longest scoreless streak is 111:39. His best game may have been 32 saves in the 2-1 OT win at No. 2 Denver on Nov. 23. Before that, Malcolm stopped 59 of 63 shots on Nov. 9-10 and did not give up a goal on 11 penalty kills. The Yale goalie with the most minutes and saves in 2011-12 was in net for two of the more memorable events of the season: he made 27 saves in the win over Princeton in the playoff series finale and notched a shutout streak of three (Colgate, RPI, Union) games and 226:39 minutes (5 games) in November. Malcolm (Lethbridge, Alb.) earned ECAC Hockey Goalie of the Week honors after stopping all 72 shots in wins at No. 8 Union and RPI last winter. The three straight SHOs tied the school record but fell short of the Yale record (240:53 by Ryan Rondeau '11) scoreless streak. His career-high is 45 saves against Union on Nov. 12, 2011, and his five career SHO are second at Yale.
Senior Nick Maricic (Alta Loma, Calif.) got three starts while Malcolm was out, including a 31-save effort in the 1-0 loss at Brown. He entered the Feb. 1 game vs. Princeton in the third minute after Malcolm was injured. He stopped 20 of 21 shots to earn the win that night, while making 21 saves in the first two periods the next night against Quinnipiac. He got his first start and victory in a 4-2, 25-save effort against Cornell in the fourth game of his freshman season. Since then he has compiled 917 saves and 15 wins. He had nine saves (no goals allowed) over the last 29 minutes of the 6-5 win at Colorado College on Nov. 24. He also had some big ones down the stretch last year that helped the Blue go 3-0-1 to close the regular season. He stopped 66 of 70 shots the final weekend on the road. He saved 52 of 56 shots and held Dartmouth/Harvard scoreless on 10 of 11 advantages the week before. Maricic (2.94, .897, 15-12-4) had a career-high 40 saves in the 2-2 tie at Quinnipiac on Feb. 25, 2012.
Six freshmen have been used in a game on many occasions this season, including three on defense and three at forward. The eight new Bulldogs come from five different states and one province, and bring experience from the USHL (3), EJHL (2), BCHL, AJHL and a New England prep school. Some have already distinguished themselves since arriving in New Haven: Stu Wilson, the son of RIT head coach Wayne Wilson, has earned conference rookie of the week honors twice and ranks 11th among ECAC rookies with .41 points.
The Bulldogs, tied for fifth in the uscho.com Pairwise Rankings, equaled their best ranking of the season. The USA Today/American Hockey Magazine poll and the uscho.com media poll both had the Elis at No.11 this week.
Yale is 3-3 playing on TV this season. The Jan. 18 Harvard (4-0 W) game, the Jan. 25 game at Cornell (3-2 W) and the Feb. 22 Quinnipiac contest (4-1 L) aired live on the NBC Sports Network. The exhibition against the Red Stars (10-2 W) aired on CPTV Sports, which had live coverage of the Feb. 2 home Quinnpiac (6-2 L) contest. Yale was on Time Warner Cable at Union (4-2 L) on Feb. 15.
Yale's first loss of the year against a nationally ranked team came on Feb. 2 vs. Quinnipiac. The Elis are 6-1-2 overall this season against teams with national rankings the week of the game. Four (Harvard, Denver, Colorado College, Cornell) of the wins have come on the road. The other road game was at Boston College (tie), while the Elis had home contests against St. Lawrence (win), Union (tie) and Dartmouth (win). Yale is 2-2-3 against teams currently in the uscho.com top 20 poll.
Yale celebrated the re-dedication of Ingalls Rink (3,500) on Jan. 16, 2010. The rink built in 1958 has been modernized while adding 13,000 square feet of 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 and more. There are new historical displays, concession stands and bathrooms for the building nicknamed the "Whale" because of its humpback-shaped roof.
WHALE OF A TIME
The Whale (Ingalls Rink) has been a tough place for visitors in recent years. Yale, which enjoyed its first undefeated (15-0-1, only Division I team to do that) regular season at Ingalls in 2010-11, finished 10-7 last year. The Bulldogs are 10-3-1 this year, 60-20-4 over the last four-plus seasons at the Whale and 16-11-3 in home ECAC playoff games all time.
Next March, the conference championships are back in Lake Placid at the 1980 Rink (Brooks Arena), the site of ECAC Championships from 1993 to 2002. Yale has won a pair of conference tournament titles - 2009 at Albany and 2011 at Atlantic City.
Yale, Brown, Dartmouth and Princeton will take part in a soon-to-be named event at the Prudential Center in Trenton, N.J., home of the New Jersey Devils. The four Ivy schools will drop the puck on their regular seasons (like with the Ivy Shootout) at this two-day event.
The Yale roster includes players from 12 different states, two provinces and Norway. New York and New Jersey are represented by four players from each state, while Alberta and Michigan contribute three players and Illinois has a pair.
The United States Hockey League contributed nine players to the Bulldog roster. There are three from the British Columbia Hockey League, two from the Eastern Junior Hockey League and one from the Atlantic Junior Hockey League. Eleven Yale student-athletes came directly from prep schools.
Yale and Fairfield co-hosted three (2009, 2011, 2012) of the last four NCAA East Regional Tournaments at Webster Bank Arena in Bridgeport. The Bulldogs competed in two (2009, 2011) of the three at the arena. The two schools have another in 2014.
The Bulldogs are wearing a sticker with a ribbon on the back of their helmets in memory of those lost in the Sandy Hook (Newtown) School shootings. Equipment manager Jeff Torre added them to the head gear prior to the game at Boston College.
There are three ways to listen to WYBC's coverage of all home games and select away games. Fans can find the broadcasts on WYBC-AM 1340 (also WYBC.com or TuneIn.com). Plus, smartphone users can download the TuneIn app to listen to the WYBC-AM stream on their mobile device.
filed by Steve Conn, Yale Sports Publicity Director