Hottest Bulldog in 2012-13
NEW HAVEN, Conn. - The Yale men's hockey team won the NCAA Championship last year, but no Bulldog anywhere in the sport had a better season than Mark Arcobello '10, who was the American Hockey League All-Star Game MVP, tallied 68 points and scored a dozen post-season goals.
Arcobello, who finished third in points for AHL players, was called up to the Edmonton Oilers for a game in the middle of the season. The former Bulldog star went back to the Barons and helped them reach the Western Conference Finals.
He is the first Milford, Conn., native, the second Yalie from Connecticut and the 14th overall from the school to skate in the National Hockey League.
Arcobello, who returned to New Haven for the Murray Murdoch Golf Tournament this month, and Yale Sports Publicity Director Steve Conn recently talked about last winter's great college and pro seasons.
SC: You've played three seasons since skating at the Whale and produced better numbers each year. That included 22 goals last year. What's been the key to your progression as a pro player?
MA: I think just getting used to the pro game and gaining more and more confidence has helped me produce better each year. Hopefully, that trend continues.
SC: You went from local prep schools (Fairfield Prep, Salisbury) to a college powerhouse a few miles from your home. What were the most significant factors in your transition from college to pro hockey?
MA: The most significant factors are just adapting to the style of play and playing smart. The pro game is a lot more systematic than college hockey.
SC: You were in Connecticut your entire hockey career before becoming a pro. What is it like playing in a non-traditional hockey town like Oklahoma City?
MA: I love OKC. It's a great city that loves sports. The people are great and make the city really fun to live and play in.
SC: You were one of the most productive AHL point producers last winter and got called up to Edmonton when the NHL club needed to fill a temporary role. What was it like slipping on the No. 62 Oilers' jersey, and were you nervous?
MA: Playing my first NHL game was a lifelong goal achieved. Putting on that jersey and getting to debut in front of an amazing hockey crowd in Edmonton was something I'll never forget. I was nervous, as I expected to be, but it was a really cool feeling.
SC: The Oilers dropped a 3-2 decision to Dallas that night in February. What were the shifts like and what did you learn that will enhance your opportunities to be back in the NHL soon?
MA: I know that I need to be quicker physically and mentally. I also need to be stronger in the defensive zone, which is what I've been working on the most.
SC: Did Yale's national championship impact you and your season in 2012-13, and how did your alma mater's title make you feel?
MA: Seeing Yale win the NCAA championship was surreal. Coach Allain always set it as our ultimate goal at the beginning of each season, but we always fell short. To see a Yale team achieve that goal was awesome.
SC: Your Oklahoma City team reached the Western Conference Finals thanks to your 12 goals. What was your impression of the playoff run and your hot streak?
MA: The playoffs last season were a lot of fun, even though we were eliminated in the conference finals.
SC: Tim Taylor recruited you and Keith Allain mentored you in New Haven. How did your Yale hockey experience impact your pro career?
MA: I think I really began to gain confidence as a player at Yale. Coach Taylor and Coach Allain always told me that I could be an impact player in college. Coach Allain gave me the opportunity early in my freshman year to be a key player, which helped me develop early on.
SC: What would you tell aspiring college hockey players the Yale hockey program could offer them?
MA: As everyone says, Yale hockey offers the best of both worlds -- great academics and great athletics. With the reigning NCAA champions on campus, there is no doubt that statement holds true.