BOSTON, HANOVER UP THIS WEEKEND
NEW HAVEN, Conn. – The Bulldogs, hoping to earn a first-round playoff bye, are on the road for the second-to-last weekend of regular season play with games at Harvard and Dartmouth. Friday night at the Bright Center, No. 14 Yale (13-8-4, 8-7-3) takes on the Crimson before the Elis head to Thompson Arena for a Saturday contest against the Big Green. Both games are 7:00 face-offs that can be viewed on the Ivy League Digital Network.
They played to a 2-2 draw at New Haven in December before Yale won 5-1 at Madison Square Garden in January. The overall series is 138-82-19 in favor of the Cantabs. There have been 239 Yale-Harvard meetings in eight different cities. The first was Feb. 26, 1900, in New York, a 5-4 Yale victory. Yale leads the Dartmouth series 107-89-13 and is 11-2-1 in the last 14 meetings. The teams went 1-1-1 last winter and the Big Green took the December game at New Haven this year.
Four Bulldogs hit the net, including a pair by game MVP Cody Learned, and Alex Lyon made 23 saves as then No. 10 ranked Yale beat Harvard 5-1 before 15,524 at Madison Square Garden on Jan. 11… Yale gave up three first-period goals and could not recover over the last 40 minutes in a 4-1 ECAC Hockey loss to Dartmouth at Ingalls Rink in December. Then No. 8 Yale, down 3-0 after 10 minutes, recovered enough momentum to end up with a 41-27 advantage in shots on goal.
Yale established a school record with three shorthanded goals (on 5 PKs) with help from Jesse Root's two goals and four points and Kenny Agostino's pair of scores and three points during a 7-5 win over Princeton on Feb. 15. The Tigers nearly erased a pair of three-goal deficits while scoring twice on the advantage. Princeton had a power play and pulled its goalie with 1:38 to play, but Root won a face-off and sent the puck back through the neutral zone where Agostino won the puck and sent it into an empty net to provide the final score. The Blue fell 4-0 to No. 4 Quinnipiac the night before.
The Bulldogs were outscored by a combined 9-7 last week but grabbed an important pair of points while outshooting opponents 72-71. The Elis had 11 shots in every frame against the Bobcats, while going 14-15-10 against the Tigers.
CRIMSON, BIG GREEN
Harvard (9-12-4, 5-9-4) is on a four-game unbeaten streak that includes a three-point weekend at Clarkson/St. Lawrence last week. Dartmouth (6-16-3, 5-12-1) is coming off a sweep at SLU and Clarkson last week and has won three of its last four.
Yale defensemen combined to produce 14-53-67 in 37 games last year, and they have been getting involved even more at the offensive end this year. The blueliners combined for 11-10-21 over the last four weeks and now have 22-36-58 this winter. Senior Gus Young (6-8-14) had a string of three games with goals and points in seven of 10 contests. Sophomore Ryan Obuchowski (3-11-14), who has seven points in his last eight games, had three assists on Jan. 25. Junior Tommy Fallen (7-7-14) scored twice against Brown on Jan. 25 and RPI on Feb. 7.
SATURDAY NIGHT'S ALRIGHT FOR FIGHTING
Elton John wasn't thinking hockey when he wrote this song in the 70s, but the Bulldogs have been following the idea this season. It may just be coincidence, but the Blue is 9-2-3 on Saturdays. Feb. 7's 3-2 win at RPI was Yale's first on a Friday night since Nov. 22, and the Elis are 3-6-1 on that night this year.
The Blue ranks 12th in offense (3.28) among Division I teams; it is 16th in defense (2.52), 15th in fewest PIM (10.8) and ninth in SHG with five… Alex Lyon had an assist on Yale's second goal vs. Princeton; it was the first by a Bulldog netminder since Ryan Rondeau vs. Princeton on 2/20/11… Yale suited up the same lineup both nights last week… The Elis are 3-6-3 in games opponents scored first and 2-4-1 in contests they trailed after two periods… Yale is 3-3 in one-goal games… Yale is 2-5-2 against teams that were ranked at the time.
The standings are packed in the middle with four teams separated by just two points. Yale, which could finish as high as second and as low as 10th with four games left, remains in 6th place in the conference, but just one point behind the two teams tied for fourth. The top four get a first-round playoff bye and home ice for the quarterfinals.
The Bulldogs are No. 14 in both the uscho.com and USA Today/American Hockey Magazine polls this week. Yale has finished among the top 10 four of the last five seasons, including No. 1 in 2012-13. The Elis were 5th in 2008-09, 8th in 2009-10 and 6th in 2010-11.
Yale, 2013 Frozen Four Champions, has earned a spot in the NCAA Tournament four of the last five years, and played in a pair of regional finals. The best in-season indicator of Yale's chances to qualify for the 16-team 2014 NCAAs is the PairWise Rankings, where the Elis are 20th.
The Yale roster includes players from 12 different states, two provinces and Norway. Five players represent New Jersey, Minnesota has three players while Massachusetts, Florida, and Michigan each contribute a pair.
The United States Hockey League contributed nine players to the Bulldog roster. There are three from the British Columbia Hockey League, four from the Eastern Junior Hockey League and one from the Atlantic Junior Hockey League. Eight Yale student-athletes came directly from prep schools and one came from the US National Team.
The Bulldogs have just three seniors, including two forwards and a defenseman. There are seven juniors, eight sophomores and eight newcomers. The scoring by class has been very balanced: seniors (28), sophomores (21), juniors (18) and newcomers (15).
Yale's Class of 2017, which has been averaging four forwards in the lineup, has contributed 15 goals (4 GWG) and 41 points while grabbing every minute of playing time between the pipes.
"Ice hockey has never had as provocative a setting as Yale's new $1.4 million David S. Ingalls Rink." That's how Sports Illustrated described the famous building also known as the Yale Whale in a 1959 article. And it's just as exciting today. Ingalls (3,500 capacity), re-dedicated on Jan. 16, 2010, was modernized and expanded during a multi-phase project. The original (1958) look remains, but 13,000 square feet of operational space was added along with numerous amenities.
DECORATED DOGS ON D
Junior Tommy Fallen (Plymouth, Minn.), a 2012-13 All-Ivy honorable mention pick, has all seven of his goals this year in four games. He has skated in 97 games and has 57 points, ninth on the school's career list for defensemen... Sophomore Ryan Obuchowski (West Bloomfield, Mich.), who had three assists vs. Brown on Jan. 25 and has 14 points this winter, was a 2012-13 ECAC All-Rookie Team selection... Rob O'Gara, a second-year man from Nesconset, N.Y., is a Boston Bruins draft pick. He and Gus Young (Colorado) are the two blueliners picked by pro teams.
NCAAs AT BRIDGEPORT
Yale and Fairfield are co-hosting the 2014 NCAA East Regional at Webster Bank Arena in Bridgeport on March 28-29. The Friday semifinal game times are 2 and 5:30 p.m. with coverage by ESPNU. The Saturday championship game is set for 3 p.m. on ESPN2. Tickets for 3-game packages are available now on www.NCAA.com/frozenfour, or through the Webster Bank Ticket Office. This is the fourth year Yale and Fairfield have co-hosted this regional at Harbor Yard. This is the fourth time Webster Bank will host the regional. There have been four college hockey programs (Yale, Michigan, Michigan State, Minnesota-Duluth) with NCAA titles that have played in Bridgeport's NCAA event. Miami, Vermont, Union, Air Force and UMass-Lowell are the other schools to compete in the arena.
Yale is one of only two (Niagara) teams in the country with freshmen logging all the minutes in net this season. Alex Lyon (Baudette, Minn.) has started the last 20 games. Lyon, who averages 25 saves per appearance, had a season-high 48 saves (most since Nick overall), while his .916 SP and 2.49 GAA are top five for rookie goalies in Division I. Patrick Spano (Montreal, Que) was in net for three Yale wins and has a 1.93 GAA and a .924 SP. Sophomore Connor Wilson (Cary, NC) is the other goalie in the mix.
BULLDOGS PLAYING PRO THIS WINTER
There are five current Yale players drafted by NHL teams: Gus Young (Colorado), Kenny Agostino (Pittsburgh, Calgary), Rob O'Gara (Boston), Matthew Beattie (Vancouver) and John Hayden (Chicago). Fifteen former Yale players have skated professionally this season including Vancouver Canucks forward Chris Higgins '05 and Mark Arcobello '10 with the Edmonton Oilers. Arcobello helped make club history when he assisted on Taylor Hall's two goals, eight seconds apart in October. It was the fastest consecutive goals by an Oiler since Wayne Gretzky had a nine-second outburst during the team's dynasty years. After the first 10 games, the Milford, Conn., native had accumulated a league-high 10 assists, which also made him the league's rookie points leader at the time and put him in a unique group. Only two rookies in the last 20 years – Sydney Crosby and Patrick Kane - had 10 assists in their first 10 games. The Bulldogs have had seven skating in the AHL, four outside North America and two in the ECHL.
filed by Steve Conn, Yale Sports Publicity Director