Yale Has ECAC Hockey Road Challenge
The Yale men's hockey team opened the 2018-19 season with a 3-2 ECAC Hockey win at Brown last Friday. Things get tougher on the road this weekend with a conference set at Ithaca and Hamilton. The Bulldogs play Cornell (0-2) Friday and Colgate (2-3) Saturday, both 7 p.m. puck drops airing live on ESPN+.
The Bulldogs have a 50-49-6 edge in the Colgate series, which began in 1916-17. The Big Red have an 84-62-8 lead over the Elis since the first meeting in 1901-02. Nine of the last 12 Yale-Cornell meetings have been decided by a goal or less.
Speaking of close games, Yale and Cornell played a 3-3 OT tie at New Haven before the Big Red took a 3-2 game at Lynah. The Elis swept Colgate in 2017-18 with a 5-1 win at the Whale and a 4-3 decision at the Class of 1965 Arena.
Yale never trailed in its season opener, a 3-2 win at Brown. Senior Joe Snively established an ECAC Hockey record by scoring 14 seconds into an opener, the first of his two goals. The game-winner was a re-direction by junior Luke Stevens in the second period, while junior Corbin Kaczperski (20 saves) stopped all 13 shots in the third period.
Cornell entered the season ranked No. 8 in the uscho.com poll, but fell 5-2 and 4-3 at home to Michigan State last weekend.
Colgate opened with a sweep of New Hampshire but have since lost three (RIT, Miami twice) straight on the road.
Senior forward Joe Snively justified his pre-season All-ECAC status by scoring twice at Brown. Here's what he has done since coming to Yale: Career Best: 4 points (3G, 1A vs. Princeton, 2/10/18)… 2017-18: First Team All-Ivy Selection... Second Team All-ECAC... Lead team in points, goals, and assists (19-17-36) and finished 15th in the nation in points per game (1.16)... Registered multiple-goal games seven times including a hat trick against Princeton on Feb. 10... Yale posted a 14-5-1 record when Snively scored a point... Academic All-ECAC Hockey… 2016-17: Honorable mention All-Ivy League... Handed out seven assists over the first seven games... Recorded 12 game point streak between Nov. 5 and Jan. 7... Had two goals against Holy Cross at Notre Dame Tournament (made all-tourney team) and notched two at home against Princeton… 2015-16: Ivy League Rookie of the Year... Honorable Mention All-Ivy League... ECAC Rookie of the Week (Nov. 1, Feb. 22)... Tim Taylor Cup - Y/H MVP (Nov. 6)... ECAC Rookie of the Month (Jan.)... Led all skaters with 28 points.
Corbin Kaczperski is a junior goalie who got his first varsity action in 2017-18, including some starts. Here's what he has done as a collegian:
Career Best: 36 saves (at Cornell 02/17/18)...2018-19: Pre-season Richter Award Watch List… 2017-18: Posted a .933 save percentage, good for fifth in the entire nation, in 12 games played... Stopped 34 shots in his first-career start against RPI on Dec. 01... Earned his first-career victory with a 31-save performance against New Hampshire on Dec. 30... Stopped 30 or more shots five times throughout the season… Academic All-ECAC Hockey… 2016-17: Served as a backup but did not see any regular season action... Played one frame of exhibition game against Ottawa and stopped five of six shots in third period.
Sam Tucker, a senior goalie, has been a starter the last two seasons. Here's what he has done for the Elis:
Career Best: 44 Saves vs. Dartmouth in 2017 ECAC Hockey first-round playoff series OT Yale victory… 2017-18: Stymied No. 3 ranked Harvard with a 32-save performance at Boston on Nov. 3... Recorded a 33-save effort in a tie against No. 4 Cornell on Jan. 12... Registered a total of 8 victories... Stopped 30 or more shots in 7 contests... Academic All-ECAC Hockey… 2016-17: Stopped 68 of 71 shots, including eight in OT, in ECAC Playoff sweep of Dartmouth at Ingalls and was conference goalie of the week... Notched first collegiate win against UConn (13 saves) on Jan. 7 and first shutout against Dartmouth (26) on Feb. 18... Made collegiate debut in third period of Cornell home game and stopped all five shots he faced... Made first career start at St. Lawrence on 11/18/16... Earned first victory in 4-2 game at UConn on 1/7/17... Got starts in all four post-season games… 2015-16: Dressed in 17 games.
Evan and Mitchell Smith are the first twins to skate for the Yale men's hockey team. The Stouffville, Ontario, brothers have been skating on the same team and line for most of their days in organized hockey. 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) is listed as an inch taller and five pounds heavier than Mitchell. Evan became the first Eli since Brian O'Neill in 2012 to score four goals in a game when he helped his team beat Princeton on Feb. 10. Smith did that on just five shots on goal.
Yale has played in Alaska and Canada but never outside of North America during the regular season. That changes this season in Belfast, Ireland. Yale, Union, Boston University and UConn play in the 2018 Northern Irish Connections Friendship Four Tournament (Nov. 23-24). Yale plays Union on the 23rd and BU plays UConn in the second game at The SSE Arena, home of the Belfast Giants, a team in the Elite Ice Hockey League. The arena has hosted this tournament since 2015.
ALLAIN ON FRIENDSHIP FOUR
"We are all really excited to be competing in Belfast. In addition to the great hockey, we are looking forward to visiting Northern Ireland, meeting new people, and experiencing the culture of your beautiful country. I have spoken with several people who have competed in the Friendship Four and everyone speaks highly of the total experience for their student athletes. I'm sure the trip will bring us closer together as a team and create lifelong memories for our young men."
CT HOCKEY BENEFIT JAN. 12
Yale and Sacred Heart square off on Jan. 12 in a contest to benefit the Connecticut Hockey Foundation, which honors the memory of state hockey icon Jason Pagni, a 1990 graduate of The Avon Old Farms School who dedicated his life to helping parents and players on all levels of the sport. Pagni suddenly passed away in 2014 at the age of 43.
BULLDOG FAMOUS FILM MAKER
Gabe Polsky '02, who produced the award-winning film "Red Army," has another Great One making its way around the country. "In Search of Greatness" features a trio of sports icons, including Wayne Gretzky, and opens Nov. 2. Polsky, who is from Illinois, skated for Tim Taylor from 1998 to 2001.
The blue line, which produced 10 goals last season, returns all but one of Yale's contributors from the 2017-18 season. The Elis have an experienced group of returnees with captain Anthony Walsh, Billy Sweezey, Charlie Curti, Matt Foley, Chandler Lindstrand and Phil Kemp.
Head coach Keith Allain has added five first years (3 F, 2 D) to his team for the 2018-19 campaign. Four of the rookies hail from the United States, with three having competed in the United States Hockey League and the final having competed in the United States Premier Hockey League. The lone Canadian player in the Class of 2022 joins the Bulldogs with junior hockey experience in the British Columbia Hockey League.
The Bulldogs have seven seniors (92 career goals), including four forwards, two defensemen and one goaltender. There are nine juniors (41 goals), seven sophomores (19 goals), and five newcomers.
The current Yale roster includes 28 Bulldogs who average 5-11 in height and 189 pounds. There are 20 players from the USHL, 3 from the BCJHL, 1 from the USPHL, 1 from the NAHL and 3 from New England Prep Schools. There are 17 different states and 2 provinces represented, including 5 Massachusetts natives, 6 skaters from Canada and 2 skaters apiece from Connecticut, Illinois and Minnesota.
Yale went four seasons without a hat trick before tallying four in 2017-18. Sophomore forward Dante Palecco had his first three career goals on Nov. 10 at home against St. Lawrence, while senior forward Ted Hart notched his first three-goal college game on the road against Union on Dec. 2. Both Bulldogs led the Elis to victory with their performances. The latest to have hat tricks are Evan Smith and Snively, who combined for all 7 goals on Feb. 10 against Princeton.
DID YOU KNOW
Junior forward Will D'Orsi's father, Scott, played forward for the Bulldogs from 1986-90 and registered 70 points… Sophomore defenseman Phil Kemp comes from a family of athletes. Both his grandfather and great uncle played football for the Elis, while his brother played Lacrosse at Brown and his sister rows at Harvard.
BULLDOGS IN THE PROS
Yale has four players (Luke Stevens, Carolina; Phil Kemp, Edmonton; Curtis Hall, Boston; Jack St. Ivany, Philadelphia) on the current roster who have been drafted by NHL teams. Eighteen former Bulldogs are playing professionally this season.
Jean-Francois Boucher '08 – Kolner Haie , DEL – Germany
Mark Arcobello '10 - Bern SC, NL – Switzerland (2018 Olympics)
Sean Backman '10 – Eisbaren Berlin, DEL – Germany
Broc Little '11 – Linkopings HC, SHL – Switzerland (2018 Olympics)
Denny Kearney '11 – Grenoble, LM – France
Brian O'Neill '12 - Jokerit Helsinki, KHL – Finland (2018 Olympics)
Andrew Miller '13 – Fribourg-Gotteron HC, NL – Switzerland
Antoine Laganiere '13 – Straubing Tigers, DEL, Germany
Kenny Agostino '14 – Laval Rocket, AHL
Gus Young '14 – San Jose Barracuda, AHL
Ryan Obuchowski '16 – Toledo Walleye, ECHL
Rob O'Gara '16 – Hartford Wolf Pack, AHL
Alex Lyon '17 - Lehigh Valley Phantoms, AHL
John Hayden '17 – Chicago Blackhawks, NHL
Mike Doherty '17 – Manchester Monarchs, ECHL
Frank DiChiara '17 – Reading Royals, ECHL
Chris Izmirlian '17 – Greenville Swamp Rabbits, ECHL
Ryan Hitchcock '18 – Bridgeport Sound Tigers, AHL
by Steve Conn, Yale Associate AD/Sports Publicity - firstname.lastname@example.org