February 4, 2009

Harvard, Dartmouth Coming To Ingalls

Feb. 4, 2009

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NEW HAVEN, Conn. -- The 2008-09 Yale men's hockey team (15-5-1, 10-3-1 ECAC Hockey), 8-1-1 over its last 10 and tied for first in ECAC Hockey with Cornell, looks to increase its five-game unbeaten streak when Harvard (5-12-4, 5-6-4) and No. 19 Dartmouth (11-7-3, 8-4-2) come to Ingalls for Alumni Weekend. The Bulldogs, winners of four straight and a new No. 14 ranking in both polls, host a pair of 7 p.m. games that can be seen live for free on Yale All Access by clicking here: Yale All*Access.

TICKETS

A limited number of tickets are available for both nights. Friday's game with Harvard will likely be sold out by Thursday, and only standing-room tickets remain. The game-night ticket office at Ingalls Rink opens at 6:00 both nights. If you have any questions, please call the Yale Ticket Office at (203) 432-1400.

SERIES

The Bulldogs are 3-3-1 in the last seven against the Crimson, who own a 134-73-18 advantage in a series that began in 1900. Yale, which owns a 96-84-12 lead in the overall series, has split the last six with the Big Green.

BULLDOG UPDATE

Yale, 12th in the latest USCHO.com Pairwise Rankings, has won four straight games in back-to-back ECAC sweeps to finish 7-1-1 in January. That run puts the Blue at 21 points in the conference with eight games left. It's the first time since 1998 that the Elis have been first at any point in February.

YALE BETWEEN POT

Harvard, coming off a 4-3 loss in Monday's Beanpot opener against No. 1 B.U., plays its only conference game this week at the Whale before finishing off the Pot consolation three nights later against Boston College. Matt Hoyle (3.15, .897, 5-11-3), the ECAC Rookie of the Week after beating Union 3-1 last weekend, made 30 saves against the Terriers. Daniel Moriarity and Nick Coskren lead the Cantabs, currently in the middle of the ECAC standings, with five goals apiece.

GREEN ON GO

Dartmouth, coming off a three-point weekend at home, has not lost an ECAC game since Jan. 9 against the Elis. The Green averages better than three goals per game and allows 2.57. Some of the stingy defense comes from Jody O'Neill (2.43, .931, 11-6-3), who has the third best save percentage among the nation's rookie goalies. Scott Fleming and Andrew Owsiak lead the team with eight goals each.

ECAC SWEEPS

Yale enjoyed its first home conference weekend sweep since last February (St. Lawrence/Clarkson). It was the first back-to-back weekend ECAC sweeps for the Blue since 2002-03, when Yale won five straight (2 at home, then 3 on the road) conference games.

RICHARDS GRABS TWO AWARDS

Senior Alec Richards (Robbinsdale, Minn.) was named insidehockey.com National Player of the Week as well as ECAC Hockey Goalie of the Week after a busy weekend in wins over No. 9 Princeton and Quinnipiac at New Haven. Richards stopped 63 of 64 shots overall and did not allow a power-play goal on 14 chances. His best night in 2008-09 may have been the 32-save effort in the 3-1 win over No. 9 Princeton on Jan. 30. His 29 saves in a 2-1 win at No. 15 Dartmouth were also impressive. Richards (10-2, 2.41, .906) has 30 wins and owns career 2.88 GAA and .904 SP marks.

DOGS BITE CATS

Alec Richards stopped 31 shots and the Elis got goals from Patrick Brosnihan, Mark Arcobello and Broc Little in a 3-0 win over Quinnipiac on Jan. 31 at Ingalls. The Elis snapped a five-game skid against the Bobcats by blanking the visitors on eight power plays and limiting them to just seven shots on goal during that time. The penalty-filled (74 minutes) affair included Yale going 0-for-9 with the man-advantage while being outshot 31-28.

SPECIAL TEAMS LIFT YALE OVER PRINCETON

Sean Backman had two goals and one assist and Alec Richards stopped 32 of 33 shots as Yale knocked off No. 9 Princeton on Jan. 30 at Ingalls Rink. The Bulldogs outshot the Tigers 42-33, but the contest was won by the Yale special teams. The Elis converted two of five power plays and killed off all six of their penalties. Backman scored the first and last goals of the game. The other tally came from fellow junior and linemate Mark Arcobello. Richards' 32 saves were a season-high for the Elis, while Princeton got 39 saves from Zane Kalemba, who beat Yale four times last season.

WEEKEND STATS

The Blue outshot Princeton/Quinnipiac 70-64, including 20 SOG against the Tigers in the second period Friday... Yale was 2-for-14 with the man-advantage but killed off all 14 opponent chances... The Elis scored six of the weekend's seven goals.

SHOT ON GOAL NEVER A BAD PLAY

The Blue, outshot for just the second time this year against Quinnipiac (31-28), have averaged 38 shots on target while giving up 25. The Bulldogs outshot Cornell/Colgate 82-36 on Jan. 23-24, including 46-16 against the Raiders. The 30-shot difference was the most for the Blue this season. The only other team to outshoot Yale this year was No. 17 Minnesota State (32-31). The Blue has won both games when being outshot.

NOT KILLING THEM SOFTLY

Yale killed off 27 of opponent's last 28 PP opportunities and only allowed a combined 24 shots on goal during those advantages. The Eli PK unit did not allow a Colgate SOG during six chances. Princeton got 12 SOG in six scoreless attempts while Quinnipiac went 0-for-8 and had seven shots.

A FEW GOOD MEN

The Elis have now scored six shorthanded goals this year while allowing three. Tom Dignard, who scored at Colgate, is the only Bulldog other than Broc Little (school record 5) to tally on the PK.

O'NEILL STREAK

Brian O'Neill (Yardley, Pa.) leads Yale rookies with 8-7-15, including a goal in five of his last eight games and a point in eight of nine. O'Neill had a good (3 goals) showing against this weekend's opponents last month on the road that got him ECAC Hockey Rookie of the Week on Jan. 12. His two GWG are second on the team and he is 16th among Division I rookies (2nd in ECAC) at .80 points per game.

KING OF SHORTY

Sophomore F Broc Little (Rindge, NH) leads the nation with five shorthanded goals, one more than Matt Fairchild of Air Force. 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. Colgate's Greg Drechsel (1985-88) holds the ECAC season (8) and career (14) SHG records. Little (12-10-22), who had six goals over four games this year, is 16th in Division I with .58 GPG. Little, whose eight goals in conference play are a league-high, was named ECAC Offensive Player of the Week after netting three goals and five points on Dec. 5 and 6 against RPI and Union.

BACKMAN NAMED BROWN SEMI-FINALIST

The Gridiron Club of Greater Boston announced this week that Sean Backman (Cos Cob, Conn.) is one of 16 Division I players picked as semi-finalists for the Walter Brown Award, presented annually to the best American-born college hockey player in New England. The junior F had two goals and four points in last weekend's play and now leads the team in goals and points. Backman (13-10-23), who has five multiple-goal outings, is ranked 10th in Division I with a .62 goals-per-game. He was 2007 co-ECAC Hockey Rookie of the Year and a third-team all-league pick in 2008 (18-9-27). Backman has been team MVP the last two years. He has 49 goals and 81 points in 82 career games.

EXPERIENCED NET

Two other Bulldogs have plenty of experience in the Yale goal. Sophomore Ryan Rondeau (Carvel, Alb.) was in goal for wins over No. 17 Minnesota State (30 saves), No. 11 Air Force (29) and No. 3 Cornell (17). Rondeau is 4-1 with a 2.27 GAA and a .901 SP while having 30 perecent of Yale's net action. 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.

BLUE FROSH PLAY BIG ROLE

Six of the seven members of the class of 2012 have seen action and they have notched 16 goals. The Yale juniors (30 goals) and sophomores (21) have more, while the small senior class has five.

LAST MONTH AT HANOVER

Alec Richards won the battle of hot netminders with 29 stops as Yale knocked off No. 15 Dartmouth 2-1 at Thompson Arena on Jan. 9. The Elis outshot Dartmouth 55-30, but Richards had to come up big over the last 3:17 of the game when Yale was down a man or more. Jody O'Neill made 53 stops. Broc Little and Brian O'Neill hit the net for the visitors.

LAST YALE-HARVARD CLASH

Billy Blase stopped 32 of 34 shots and Brian O'Neill scored twice as Yale raced past Harvard 6-2 at Bright Hockey Center on Jan. 10. Yale got goals from five different skaters to win for just the third time in 29 years at Bright. Blase blanked the home team on all six man-advantages. Jimmy Fraser scored both goals for Harvard, which was outshot 38-34 and used a pair of goalies, Matt Hoyle (17 saves) and John Riley (15).

ON THE BENCHES

Keith Allain '80, in his third year as the Malcolm G. Chace Head Coach of Hockey, is 3-2 against the Green and 3-3-1 against the Crimson. He is a two-time Olympic coach who played goal at Yale before becoming a coach. Allain coached fifth-year Crimson mentor and former NHL and U.S. National player Ted Donato (Harvard '91), who is 6-4-1 vs. Yale, at the 1992 Winter Olympics. Bob Gaudet (Dartmouth '81), who has also been head coach at Brown (10-10-3 vs. Yale), is 17-11-2 vs. Yale in 12 years with the Green.

ALLAIN AFTER LAST WEEKEND

"Our goaltending was outstanding and we did a great job overall defensively," said Keith Allain '80, Yale's Malcolm G. Chace Head Coach of Hockey. "This [Yale] team has some speed and some skill and we absolutely compete our fannies off every game. This team loves being in situations that test them. It's almost as if they gain strength in adversity. They have battled through different things all year."

BULLDOG BITES

Yale's two PPG vs. Princeton were the most in seven games... Both games at Ingalls last weekend were sellouts, the first of the year for the Blue... Brian O'Neill, Mark Arcobello (Milford, Conn.) and Sean Backman each have seven goals in conference play, which is the second most for ECAC players... The 3-0 win over Quinnipiac was the first SHO for Yale over the Bobcats in seven games... Yale's five-game unbeaten string is the fourth longest active one among Division I teams... The Elis are 8-3 in one-goal games this season... Mark Arcobello ranks 2nd nationally in GWG (5)... Yale has 22 PPG compared to 21 in all of 2007-08... The Blue, 7-4-1 at home, is 8-1 on the road, the only loss coming at SLU in OT.

YALE VS. DIVISION I

Here's how the Elis stack up against the rest of the nation/ECAC heading into the weekend: Scoring: 9th/1st (3.43)... Defense: 16th/4th (2.48)... PIM: 11th/2nd (19.0)... PP: 26th/5th (16.9)... PK: 10th/4th (87.8)

THE POLLS

For the third time in four weeks, the Bulldogs are nationally ranked. For the first time this year, Yale is ranked in both major polls. The Blue was ranked 19 by the USCHO.com/CBS College Sports national poll, fell out the next week and came back last week at No. 18. This week, Yale moved four places to 14th. The Elis, who got four votes in the USA Today/USA Hockey Magazine Poll last week, are No. 14 in the latest one.

ALUMNI WEEKEND

Former Bulldog skaters will gather at Ingalls on Saturday morning for a 9:00 alumni game. A large group of players representing five decades of Yale hockey will compete in the Blue-White game.

RANKED OPPONENTS

Yale has wins over six teams that were listed in the USCHO.com Top 20 Poll at the time: Cornell (3), Princeton (9), Air Force (11), Clarkson (15), Dartmouth (15) and Minnesota State (17). The one loss was to Nebraska-Omaha (16). Yale opponents currently ranked in that poll are Cornell (5), Princeton (10), Dartmouth (19) and St. Lawrence (20).

BULLDOGS ON THE POND

The Yale coaching staff decided to break from traditional practice on Jan. 20 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's 2009 pond adventure was shown on WTNH-TV in New Haven as well as other local and national media.

BULLDOGS OF THE PAST

Former Yale captain Matt Cohen '07 played in the Jan. 21 ECHL All-Star game representing the Trenton Devils. Cohen (8-17-25 in 35 GP) played some of this season with former Bulldog Robert Page '07... 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. He has 2-10-12 in 49 GP this winter... F Jeff Hamilton '00 has 38 points (11 goals) in 36 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.

HIGGINS THE HAB

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 6-4-10 this season.

CONNECTICUT'S NCAA REGIONAL

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.

AIRING ELIS

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

YALE TUBE

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.

WHALE WATCHING

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

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