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Bulldogs Head to NY For ECAC Weekend

Bulldogs Head to NY For ECAC Weekend

Jan. 21, 2009

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NEW HAVEN, Conn. -- The 2008-09 Yale men's hockey team (11-5-1, 6-3-1 ECAC Hockey), 4-1-1 over its last six outings and sitting fifth in ECAC Hockey, travels to No. 3 Cornell (13-1-3, 8-0-2) and Colgate (6-11-5, 1-6-3) this weekend. The Bulldogs and Big Red, who are 9-0-1 in the last 10 games and unbeaten in conference play, skate at Lynah Rink Friday followed by a Yale-Colgate Saturday night tilt at Starr Rink. Both 7 p.m. games can be heard on WYBC AM-1340 ( You can view Friday's game by going to and clicking on multimedia. The game at Colgate airs live on Time Warner Cable TV (Central New York plus Albany, Rochester) but is not available on satellite.


Cornell, leading 75-50-5, began skating against Yale in 1901-02 and is 3-0-3 vs. the Blue over the last six meetings. Colgate owns a 44-35-3 lead on Yale in a series that dates to the 1916-17 season. The Elis own a 3-2 mark over the last five meetings, including a 2007-08 sweep (6-4, 6-1).


Yale won 6-1 at Hamilton on 1/25/08 despite being outshot 33-25 and scoring just once on five man-advantages. Billy Blase made 32 saves and blanked Colgate on all four PP chances. Matthew Thomey (2), Sean Backman, Mike Matczak, Denny Kearney and Broc Little scored goals. Thomey and Matt Nelson had Yale's goals on 1/26/08 at Ithaca as the Blue grabbed a 2-2 draw while outshooting the Red 28-17. Blase made 15 saves in the Yale net.


For the second straight night, Yale could not hold onto a two-goal lead. This time it meant skating to a 2-2 OT draw with St. Lawrence on Jan. 17 while outshooting the Saints 38-28. Alex Petizian (36 saves) was the difference for SLU, which tied the game early in the third. Kevin Limbert and Brian O'Neill had the Eli tallies while Billy Blase made 26 saves.


Yale fell to Clarkson 4-3 on Jan. 16 in a game that featured a pair of three-goal swings. The Knights had a 1-0 edge when Yale tallied three straight. Early in the third period, Clarkson trailed 3-1 and hit the net three times over a 3:10 span to take the game. Broc Little, Brian O'Neill and Jeff Anderson had goals for Yale while Alec Richards made 20 saves. The Elis outshot Clarkson 32-24 but went scoreless on four man-advantages.


Yale went scoreless on 10 power-play chances last weekend... The Blue outshot the opposition 70-52 but were outscored 6-5... The Eli PK unit killed off 10 of 11 opportunities.


Brian O'Neill (Yardley, Pa.), who leads Yale rookies with 8-6-14, has a goal in five straight games and a point in six. He led the Blue with three goals on the Dartmouth/Harvard trip and was named ECAC Hockey Rookie of the Week on Jan. 12. His two GWG are second on the team and he is ninth among Division I rookies at .82 points per game.


Sophomore F Broc Little (Rindge, NH) leads the nation with five shorthanded goals. That breaks the single-season Yale record held by Andy Weidenbach in 2004-05. It also ties him with Weidenbach for the career mark of five. Little has 16 points over the last 11 outings. He leads Yale with 19 points (11th in Division I with .59 GPG) and 10 goals (tie). Little was named ECAC Offensive Player of the Week after netting three goals and five points on Dec. 5 and 6 against RPI and Union.


Junior Billy Blase (Santa Monica, Calif.) had a Yale season-high 32 saves in a win at Harvard on Jan. 10 and stopped 26 more in the 2-2 draw with SLU on Jan. 17. He has a 2.71 GAA with a .911 SP. Sophomore Ryan Rondeau (Carvel, Alb.) stopped 30 of 32 shots to beat No. 17 MSU on Dec. 30 and then blocked 29 of 31 against No. 11 Air Force on Jan. 5. He is 3-1 with a 1.51 GAA and a .939 SP, but he was not available for the last four games after an injury. Senior Alec Richards (Robbinsdale, Minn.) got the nod at No. 15 Dartmouth and stopped 29 of 30 shots before making 20 stops in a one-goal loss to Clarkson on Jan. 16. Richards (7-2, 2.90, .882) has been in goal for 27 Bulldog wins and owns career 2.90 GAA and .904 SP marks.


Here's how the Elis stack up against the rest of the nation/ECAC heading into the weekend: Scoring: 12th/1st (3.35)... Defense: 23rd/6th (2.59)... PIM: 11th/2nd (18.9)... PP: 25th/5th (17.0)... PK: 23rd//7th (85.4)


Last week, for the first time since November 2006, the Bulldogs were nationally ranked at No. 19 in the Jan. 12 College Sports national poll. This week Yale got 39 votes but did not crack the top 20. The Elis got two votes in the USA Today/USA Hockey Magazine Poll.


Yale has wins over four teams that were listed in the Top 20 Poll at the time: Clarkson (15), Minnesota State (17), Air Force (11) and Dartmouth (15). Yale opponents currently ranked in that poll are Cornell (3), Princeton (9), Dartmouth (18) and Air Force (20).


Junior F Sean Backman (Cos Cob, Conn.), who has gone four straight games without hitting the net, is ranked 11th in Division I with a .59 goals-per-game average, He does have three assists over that span. Backman has a team-high 10 goals (tied with Broc Little), including four two-goal outings. He was 2007 co-ECAC Hockey Rookie of the Year and a third-team all-league pick in 2008 (18-9-27). Backman, who had a team-high 11 shots on net at Dartmouth on Jan. 9, has been team MVP the last two years. He has 46 goals in 77 career games.


Six of the seven members of the class of 2012 have seen action and they have notched 15 goals, including three of the five scored last weekend. The Yale juniors (21 goals) and sophomores (17) have more, while the seniors (4) are not far behind.


Keith Allain '80, in his third year as the Malcolm G. Chace Head Coach of Hockey, is 0-2-2 vs. Cornell and 3-1 against Colgate. He is a two-time Olympic coach who played goal at Yale before becoming a coach. Big Red mentor Mike Schafer (Cornell '86), in his 14th season, is 17-7-4 against Yale and the winningest coach in school history. Colgate's Don Vaughan (St. Lawrence '84), who is a member of the NCAA Division I Men's Hockey Committee, is in his 16th season. He owns a 21-12-2 record against the Blue.


"That was a terrific hockey game. There was speed, hitting and goaltending. We played with more intensity tonight [than last night], and we played until the final buzzer. I thought we could have won it a few times."


Former Yale player Jeff Sorem '96 stars in a new documentary film called Pond Hockey that includes interviews with numerous former NHL stars. It follows the story of two teams playing in the first U.S. Pond Hockey Championships in Minneapolis. Sorem, the only Yalie to play in that tournament, is the star of one of those teams and the main character in the film. To view the trailer, go to The fourth annual U.S. championship tournament takes place this weekend.


The Yale coaching staff decided to break from traditional practice on Tuesday by heading back to hockey's birth place. The Bulldogs took a bus to the Course at Yale and laced up their skates on the pond between holes No. 3 and 4 at the famous golf venue. The last time a Yale hockey team skated outdoors was prior to the opening of the New Haven Arena in 1927.


Yale assistant coach Kyle Wallack and his father, Peter, are the only father and son combination coaching this year in Division I hockey. Peter is a volunteer coach who works with the goalies at American International College (AIC) in Springfield, Mass. Kyle was a four-year starting goaltender and senior captain at Springfield College. He was team MVP, All-NECHA (1995-97), Johnson and Wales All-Tournament (1996-97) and NECHA All-Tournament (1995-96).


Ex-Yale captain Ray Giroux '98, who has 38 NHL games and earned a Stanley Cup Championship ring with the Devils, is in his fourth year of Russian pro hockey. He was selected as the No. 1 defenseman on Jaromir Jagr's team in the Continental League All-Star Game, which was played outdoors (3 degree temp) at Red Square on Jan. 10... F Jeff Hamilton '00 has 35 points (10 goals) in 31 games for the AHL Chicago Wolves... D Joe Callahan '05 played three games for the Islanders and the rest with the AHL Bridgeport Sound Tigers.


There is one former Yale player skating in the National Hockey League. Chris Higgins '05 is in his fifth season with the Montreal Canadiens and has 245 NHL games under his belt. Higgins has 77 goals, 60 assists and 137 points, including 4-5-9 in 18 playoff games and 5-4-9 this season. He is currently out with an injury. The only other Eli to skate in the NHL this season is Joe Callahan '05, who had three games with the Islanders in December.


Junior F Mark Arcobello (Milford, Conn.) ranks third in GWG with three and is ninth in the ECAC with .50 goals per game... Junior Tom Dignard (Reading, Mass.) ranks sixth among conference defenseman with .65 points per game... The Elis have outshot every opponent this year except Minnesota State (32-31) on Dec. 30... Yale has 18 PPG compared to 21 in all of 2007-08; The school record for PPG in a season is 59 in 1985-86... The Blue, 5-4-1 at home, is 6-1 on the road, the only loss coming at SLU in OT.


Every home game can be seen live on Yale's All Access ( for free. All home games and select road contests can be heard live on WYBC (AM 1340) and Alex Jenson `09 provides the call for most broadcasts.


Yale and Fairfield are co-hosting the first-ever NCAA Hockey Regional Tournament in the Nutmeg State on March 27-28 at the Arena at Harbor Yard in Bridgeport. There are four regional events that weekend with the winners headed to Washington, D.C., for the 2009 Frozen Four. Yale hosted the 2004 NCAA Women's Frozen Four at the Dunkin Donuts Center in Providence, R.I., but has never hosted a men's NCAA hockey event. More than 2,600 tickets have already been sold. The one and only appearance for Yale at an NCAA Regional was in 1998 at Ann Arbor, Mich., against Ohio State.


The Elis are on TV at four times this winter, including two games at Ingalls Rink. Both Quinnipiac games are live TV broadcasts. The game at Ingalls on Jan. 31 is on NESN while the Feb. 20 tilt at TD Banknorth Arena airs live on My9. Yale at Union on Feb. 13 is one of three ECAC games to air live on the NHL Network this regular season. That same network also has three ECAC post-season games. The last game of the regular season is a stand-alone, 4 p.m. ESPNU game with Yale and Colgate on Sunday, March 1, at the Whale.


A $23.5 million renovation of historic David S. Ingalls Rink is in the second of three phases. The project includes the addition of approximately 13,000 square feet of varsity operational space as well as a complete renovation of the current facility. The expanded and enhanced home of Yale Hockey will include new men's and women's varsity locker rooms, training and strength and conditioning rooms, two new press boxes, a lower level hockey heritage area, offices for coaches of both programs, a student-athlete study area, new lights, as well as a sound system and de-humidification unit. The upper level interior will also be decorated with photos displaying the rich history of Yale Hockey.

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