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Yale Looking for Home Playoff Ice

Jack Warhola image
Jack Warhola image

Regular Season Ends With Trips Near and Far


NEW HAVEN, Conn. - The Yale men's hockey team (11-11-5, 7-9-4) completes the 2016-17 regular season this weekend with a road game down Whitney Avenue and another 131 miles away. The Bulldogs travel 10 miles to Hamden on Friday to face Quinnipiac in a 7 p.m. game that airs on SNY TV. Saturday night at Princeton, the Elis and Tigers drop the puck at 7 for an Ivy League Digital Network contest.

Quinnipiac has a 16-6-5 lead in a series with Yale that began in 2006. Yale and Princeton first met in 1900 and the Blue holds a 142-104-10 advantage over the Tigers.

They met the first weekend in February at New Haven with Princeton taking a 4-2 win and Quinnipiac grabbing a 5-2 decision. Joe Snively scored both Yale goals against the Tigers, while Frankie DiChiara hit the net twice the following night. Sam Tucker had a season-high 37 saves against Princeton; Patrick Spano had 17 in the Quinnipiac game. The Cats had a 22-20 edge in shots and converted three of eight advantages. The Tigers outshot Yale 41-38 and both teams went 1-for-4 on the power play.

Yale, entering the weekend alone in seventh place, is coming off a home split with Harvard and Dartmouth. Andrew Gaus and John Hayden had two goals each while Patrick Spano (H, 16 saves) and Sam Tucker (26) each had a game in net. The Blue scored six times and gave up four while outshooting last weekend's opponents 58-46.
Quinnipiac (17-13-2, 11-8-1), which can finish anywhere between fourth and sixth, is coming off a win at RPI and a loss at Union. The Bobcats, who have Yale and Brown coming to Hamden, need to move up one spot to earn a first-round playoff bye.

Princeton (11-13-3, 6-11-3), which skates against Brown on Friday, can go as high as seventh and as low as No. 10, so the Tigers have a shot to gain home ice in the first round. They had a five-game unbeaten streak snapped with a pair of close road losses at RPI and Union.

There are two games left in the regular season and the seventh-place Bulldogs a fifth-place squad on Friday and team in ninth on Saturday. The Elis can finish anywhere between sixth and 10th with four points on the line this weekend. A Yale win, or help from other teams, would put a playoff series at the Whale next weekend. Union, Harvard and Cornell all clinched byes and host quarterfinal series.

The Bulldogs will compete in the first round of the ECAC playoffs, a best-of-three series that could take place at New Haven or on the road.

John Hayden's .67 goals per game is third in the ECAC, while he leads the team with a career-high 18 goals. He has points in six of his last eight games. Hayden (career: 121 GP, 47-40-87) has four multiple-goal games this year and is a semifinalist for the 65th Walter Brown Award, presented annually to the best American-born college hockey player in New England. He has had a lot of great moments in his Yale career; the latest coming Jan. 13 when he scored the GWG with 59 seconds left in the third against Clarkson. Earlier this year at RPI, he had two goals in 42 seconds to tie the game and then win it in OT. However, the essence of his impact on the Yale team was on display in one scoring sequence last season at Arizona State's Tournament. The Yale forward, who led the 2015-16 Elis with 16 goals and five game-winners (4th in nation), blasted a Sun Devils defenseman with the puck in the slot and sent him sliding back into the goalie while Hayden grabbed the puck and flicked it top shelf. Hayden had the best season of his career last winter. He was one of Yale's top scorers the year before despite missing a few games to serve as alternate captain for the U.S. National Junior Team at the IIHF World Junior Championships. Hayden gets much of his inspiration from the memory of former HoneyBaked (AAA Club) teammate, the late Ian Jenkins, a goalie whose motto was "Have a Purpose" (HAP). Hayden and others are currently organizing fundraising events to raise money for the Big "E" Have a Purpose Foundation. The Greenwich, Conn., native, a third round NHL draft pick by Chicago, has a HAP 35 logo on his stick and wore a sticker on his helmet when he was with the U.S. National Development Program. Hayden has plenty of Team USA experience, including winning a silver medal at the 2013 IIHF U-18 World Championships in Sochi, Russia.

Joe Snively (10-21-31), who leads the team in points and has surpassed his rookie total, has 59 career points in as many games played. He is eighth in the conference with 1.15 per game and seventh in assists. The sophomore has had three multiple-goal outings this year, including consecutive games against Holy Cross and RPI (2-1-3), while he made the all-tournament team at Notre Dame's tourney. Snively was the 2015-16 ECAC Hockey and Ivy League Rookie of the Year after leading the Blue with 28 (10-18) points. Snively earned two conference rookie of the week honors and was January's ECAC Rookie of the Month. The Herndon, Va., native scored a goal against Dartmouth that was the No. 1 highlight on the NCAA Plays of the Week, while he enjoyed a career-high, three-point night. His 28 points were the most for an Eli rookie since Andrew Miller '13 had 34 in 2009-10. Snively, the former USHL (Sioux City) star, has a pair of two-goal games (UMass, Harvard). His second of the night at Boston on Nov. 6, 2015, tied the game with under a minute to play. He was 8th among Division I rookies with .96 points per game.

Junior forward Ryan Hitchcock, voted by his teammates as the top passer among the Elis, showed why he got the nod. Hitchcock led the team with 16 helpers until he got injured on Jan. 14. He has not been in the lineup since that game. His top game this season was three vs. RPI on Dec. 9. He finished with 14 points in 22 games last season after helping Team USA to a bronze medal at the 2016 IIHF World Juniors in Finland. The U.S. team beat Sweden 8-3 to grab third place. Hitchcock, the third line left wing for the U.S. squad and the eighth Bulldog to play in this tournament, played in every game while becoming the first Eli to earn a medal at the world juniors.

Sophomore goalie Sam Tucker (Wilton, Conn.) notched his first collegiate win against UConn (13 saves) on Jan. 7 and his first shutout against Dartmouth (26) on Feb. 18. Tucker's career-high is 37 saves against Princeton on Feb. 3. His first three starts (at SLU, Union, at BU) were against nationally ranked teams, while he earned a tie against No. 12 Cornell on Feb. 11. Tucker was a four-year varsity member at Choate Rosemary Hall before coming to Yale.

Senior Patrick Spano is having a solid season that has him seventh in the ECAC with a 2.63 goals against. His .904 save percentage is eighth. Spano earned co-MVP (Tim Taylor Cup) honors at Harvard on Jan. 21 and finished that Dartmouth/Harvard weekend with 55 saves on 56 shots. That helped the Bulldog earn ECAC Goalie of the Week. His first season as the top goalie has not been easy, especially with so many first-time regulars on the blueline and seven or eight rookies in the lineup each night. Spano's finest weekend as a Bulldog (7-0 at Dartmouth, 1-1 OT at No. 6 Harvard) was Jan. 20-21, but there have been other good ones. He had 71 stops on 74 shots combined against Clarkson/SLU earlier in January. He also made 33 saves on Jan. 10 vs. Providence, so he finished that week with 104 saves. Spano, a Montreal native who speaks fluent Italian and French, has a scissor hand comparable to his catching glove, and some of his teammates trust him enough to cut their hair. He has been helping teammates with haircuts since his prep school days at Westminster. Spano played for Cowichan Valley in the British Columbia Hockey League before coming to New Haven.

Nine freshmen joined the team this year, seven (4 F, 3 D) of them have been playing regularly and four have dressed for every contest. The nine rookies are the most Keith Allain has had, but there are 10 schools this year that have more. The most is Miami with 14.

Yale last hosted a first-round conference playoff series in 2013-14 when it swept Harvard in two before playing Quinnipiac. The Elis finished fifth that season… The Blue's 2.96 scoring average ranks sixth in the ECAC… The Eli power play (18.7) is fifth best in the conference… Yale has been balanced in its scoring with 27 goals in the first, 27 in the second and 25 for the final frame… Bulldog sophomores accounted for four of the six goals last weekend.

The Bulldogs have six seniors, including four forwards, a defenseman and a goalie. There are five juniors, seven sophomores, and nine newcomers. The seniors have hit the net 34 times this season; they are followed by the sophomores (28), juniors (8) and freshmen (10).

Defenseman Henry Hart, who has been playing forward since his youth hockey days until this season, has worked with the Herb Brooks Foundation while also having an internship on Mike McFadden's 2014 U.S. Senate campaign. His sister, Annie, was a five-time All-America skier at Dartmouth and is now a pro with SMS T2 ski team.... Mike Doherty's father, Michael Doherty, is Deputy Chief of the

City of Boston Fire Department and serves on the game night staff for Boston Bruins games at the TD Bank Boston Garden… Frankie DiChiara, who broke a pane of Ingalls glass with a short backhander in practice as a junior, has a strong father; Ernie DiChiara is a former Connecticut State ADFPA Powerlifting Champion... The Yale roster doesn't have much of an international flair, but at least six languages can be spoken among the group.

The superlatives survey among Bulldogs produced the following leaders:
    Strongest (pound for pound): Chris Izmirlian
    Fastest on skates: Ted Hart
    Hardest shot: Frankie DiChiara
    Best fore-checker: John Hayden
    Best passer: Ryan Hitchcock**
    Best sense of humor: Patrick Spano
    Best singer: Mike Doherty**
    Biggest appetite: Frankie DiChiara*
    Most Unique Hobby: Chandler Lindstrand (Rubix Cube)
    Most soft spoken: Ted Hart
    Best dresser: Ryan Hitchcock**
    Most likely to become a coach: John Hayden/Tim Bonner
    *repeat leader

It is very possible that Evan and Mitchell Smith are the first twins to skate for the Yale men's hockey team. The Stouffville, Ontario, brothers, one of only two twin combinations in Division I hockey this season, have been skating on the same team since they began organized hockey and have been linemates since they were eight-years old. However, they have not been on the same line when both in the lineup every game this season. The identical twins, wearing jerseys No. 13 (Evan) and 14 (Mitchell), attended Salisbury School before playing for Dubuque in the USHL. Even teammates are challenged to tell the difference between the two, but Evan (6-0, 190), who had two goals against Brown on Jan. 28, is listed as an inch taller and five pounds heavier than Mitchell. The Timothy Dwight College members have a follicle flow going this winter and were part of a January video feature on hockey hair.

The Yale roster includes players from 11 different states and two provinces. There are four players from both Massachusetts and Minnesota while Michigan and Ontario each have three. Connecticut, New York and New Jersey also have a pair. All-time Yale hockey rosters have included players from 30 different states. There are 23 Americans and four Canadians.

This winter the Bulldogs average 6-feet in height and 188 pounds. Yale is the eighth smallest in Division I for weight. The heaviest team in the country is Western Michigan (198.6), the tallest is Maine (6-1.5).

The United States Hockey League contributed 15 players to the Bulldog roster, the most by any league. Here is a breakdown of the 2016-17 roster: USHL – 15… Prep/High School – 4… EJHL – 2… BCHL – 2…USNDT – 2… NAHL – 2.

Yale has been to the national tournament seven times, including six under current head coach Keith Allain. Over the last five season, which included Yale's 2013 national title, the only ECAC Hockey school with more NCAA appearances than the Elis (3) is Quinnipiac (4). There are only seven (BC, Denver, North Dakota, Minnesota, UML, St. Cloud State) schools in the country with 4 or 5 in that span.

The current team includes 23 players who captained their teams prior to Yale, eight who captained other sports, 20 who were scholar-athlete award winners, 14 who graduated in the top 10 percent of their class, six National Honor Society members and three class presidents.

All home regular season games at Ingalls Rink are broadcast live on the Ivy League Digital Network. A selection of those are simulcast on ESPN3. Go to to sign up for a game or a season subscription.

David S. Ingalls Rink, named after the World War I U.S. Navy Flying Ace, opened in 1958, was dedicated in 1959 and had major renovations in 2010. It's the eighth oldest active college hockey venue and the fifth oldest in ECAC Hockey. The best place to park on game night at Ingalls (a.k.a. The Whale) is the garage accessed by Prospect Street. There are press boxes on both sides of the building; broadcasters and visiting teams/media are on the Prospect side.

BULLDOGS IN THE PROS: Eighteen former Bulldogs have played professionally this season.
Jean-Francois Boucher '08 - Cologne Sharks- DEL
Mark Arcobello '10 - Bern SC, Swiss-A Switzerland
Sean Backman '10 - Ontario Reign, AHL
Broc Little '11 - Linkopings HC, SweHL Sweden
Denny Kearney '11 - Bolzano HC- Austria
Brian O'Neill '12 - Jokerit Helsinki, KHL Finland
Andrew Miller '13 - Charlotte Checkers, AHL
Antoine Laganiere '13 - San Diego Gulls, AHL
Kenny Agostino '14 - St. Louis Blues, NHL/Chicago Wolves, AHL
Gus Young '14 - Missouri Mavericks, ECHL
Jeff Malcolm '14 - Greenville Swamp Rabbits, ECHL
Jesse Root '14 - Bolzano HC- Austria
Ryan Obuchowski '16 - Missouri Mavericks, ECHL
Carson Cooper '16 – Strasbourg - France
Mitch Witek '16 - Strasbourg- France
Matthew Beattie '16 - Strasbourg- France
Rob O'Gara '16 – Boston Bruins, NHL/Providence, AHL
Alex Lyon 17 - Philadelphia Flyers, NHL/Lehigh Valley, AHL


filed by Steve Conn, Yale Associate AD & Sports Publicity Director