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Brown Coming to Whale Friday For Season Opener

Bulldogs, Bears at the Whale This Friday, 7 p.m. (Jack Warhola image)
Bulldogs, Bears at the Whale This Friday, 7 p.m. (Jack Warhola image)

Bulldogs Open With ECAC Travel Partner


NEW HAVEN, Conn. - The Bulldogs are opening the 2017-18 season in unique fashion. For the first time ever, the Yale men's hockey team begins a season with a home-and-home against its ECAC travel partner Brown. The Bears and Bulldogs skate Friday at Ingalls Rink and Saturday at Meehan Auditorium. Both puck drops are 7 p.m. and air live on the Ivy League Network.
There have been 177 Yale-Brown meetings dating back to Feb. 18, 1898, when the Ivy League foes first played on a pond a few miles North of New Haven. Yale leads the series with Brown, 96-74-8, following a sweep by the Bulldogs last season. Entering the home and home weekend, the Elis are a perfect 6-0 against the Bears over the last 3 winters.

At Providence: Henry Hart netted a power-play goal with 5:54 left in the third period to complete a Yale comeback victory after Brown took a 2-goal lead in the second stanza. John Hayden scored two goals and Patrick Spano made 23 saves on a night where the Bulldog power play contributed 3 goals in the 4-3 victory.

At New Haven: Evan Smith broke open a 1-1 tie just 1:40 into the third period and the Elis added two more insurance goals in what was a tighter game than the final score indicated. Sam Tucker denied 24 of 25 shots and both Frank DiChiara and Ted Hart chipped in goals as the Elis completed a 4-point weekend against the Bears for the third consecutive season.
Friday the 13th of October brought good fortune for Yale and one of its star forwards in an opening night exhibition game against Western Ontario. Joe Snively, who had two goals and four assists, had his hand in every Bulldog goal in a 6-4 win at Ingalls rink. The junior, who saved his highlight for the end of the game, put the finishing touches on the win with a power-play, one-timer rocket from the right circle with a few minutes left in the third. Freshman Kevin ONeil, playing on a line with Snively and senior Ryan Hitchcock, made a nice collegiate debut with two goals and three points, while the Blue gave each (Sam Tucker, Corbin Kaczperski, and Nicholas MacNab) of its netminders a period of work. Matt Foley and Brett Jewell also recorded goals for the Bulldogs, who never trailed in the game.

Friday marks the first 60-minute game against another school for Brown, which.participated in the three-team scrimmage at Ingalls Rink last weekend. The Bears roster is composed of 8 rookies, 7 sophomores, 5 juniors, and 7 seniors.
Next weekend the Bulldogs travel to Harvard and Dartmouth for ECAC and Ivy League games. Both are 7pm games airing on the ILN. 

Entering year three, Joe Snively, who was one of five players selected to the preseason Coaches All-ECAC Team, has notched 67 career points in just 65 games played. In the Bulldog's exhibition game against Western Ontario, the junior picked up where he left off, recording 2 goals and 4 assists in the 6-4 victory. His 1.18 points per game in 2016-17 were good for 21st best in the nation. An All-Ivy League honorable mention from a season ago, Snively had three multiple-goal outings in 2016-17, including consecutive games against Holy Cross and RPI.

Junior goalie Sam Tucker (Wilton, Conn.) is one of the key incumbents this season for the Bulldogs. A season ago, Tucker made his collegiate hockey debut on Nov. 12 in a relief appearance against Cornell, and eventually won his first collegiate game against UConn on Jan. 7. Tucker seized the starting goalie job as the Elis headed into ECAC playoffs, where he stopped 68 of 71 shots in first round playoff action against Dartmouth. He was a key reason why the bulldogs were able to sweep the Big Green.
Senior forward Ryan Hitchcock was voted captain by his teammates for the 2017-18 season. The Manhasset, N.Y., native has notched 14 goals and 34 assists over the span of his first 3 campaigns, despite being limited by injury in each of the last two seasons. In 2016-17, Hitchcock, who was voted by his teammates as the top passer among the Elis, dished out a team-leading 16 helpers before a January 14th injury derailed the remainder of his season. Prior to his time at Yale, Hitchcock was a member of the United States National Team Development Program where he won a gold medal as a member of the U.S. U18 squad at the 2014 World Championships. Hitchcock followed up that international experience by 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.

Yale's blue line will likely be one its major improvements from last season. Last year's Bulldog D-core featured a bevy of youth. Class of 2020 members Matt Foley, Chandler Lindstrand, and Billy Sweezey played heavy minute as a result, and Henry Hart was transitioned to defense after playing his first two seasons at forward. This year Yale returns virtually its full group of defensemen, each with plenty of in-game experience. Adam Larkin, Charlie Curti, and Anthony Walsh will lead the group, which will be supplemented by freshmen Phil Kemp and Brian Matthews.

Seven freshmen joined the team this year (4 F, 2 D, 1G). Two hail from Canada and played junior hockey in the British Columbia Hockey League, while the other five come from around the US and competed in the United States Hockey League last season.
The Elis are 5-2-3 in their last 10 season openers…Entering the weekend, there are three ECAC teams ranked within the nation's top-20 including Harvard (2), Clarkson (12), and Quinnipiac (18)…As of the current list, Yale will play 10 games against ranked opponents this season.

The Bulldogs have four seniors, including two forwards, and two defensemen. There are seven juniors, nine sophomores, and seven newcomers.
Yale defenseman Adam Larkin's family has hockey in its blood. Larkin's cousin Dylan skates for the Detroit Redwings, while his brother Ryan is the starting goaltender for Miami University. Additionally, Larkin's cousin and Dylan's older brother, Colin was a Division III All-American for UMass Boston last season… Defenseman Henry Hart, who had played forward from his youth 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.... Will D'Orsi's father, Scott, played forward for the Bulldogs from 1986-90 and registered 70 points… Newcomer 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. 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 the Bulldogs produced the following leaders.
Strongest pound-for-pound: Anthony Walsh
Fastest on skates: Ted Hart
Hardest Shot: Dante Palecco
Best Fore-checker: Luke Stevens
Best Passer: Ryan Hitchcock
Best Hands: Joe Snively
The Best Singer: Anthony Walsh and Will D'Orsi
Most unique hobby: JM Piotrowski (Skateboarding)
Best Sense of humor: John Baiocco
Biggest appetite: Charlie Curti
Best Dresser: JM Piotrowski
Most soft spoken: Phil Kemp
Most Talkative: Dante Palecco
Most likely to become a head hockey coach: Adam Larkin
Four former Yale All-American forwards currently playing professionally in Europe have been selected to the U.S. National Team for next month's Deutschland Cup. Mark Arcobello '10, Sean Backman '10, Broc Little '11 and Brian O'Neill '12, all of whom skated together for Keith Allain '80, Yale's Malcolm G. Chace Head Coach, will be with their college coach in Germany for the competition that helps determine who will be on the U.S. Olympic Team roster for February's Winter Games in South Korea. The U.S. squad will begin practicing at Curt-Frenzel Stadium on Nov. 8, while the Cup competition runs from the 10th to the 12th. Arcobello, who has played for the U.S. at the World Championships, is one of 21 players on the current U.S. team who has played in the NHL. He is currently with Bern SC of Switzerland. O'Neill, the former AHL Player of the Year who went on to skate in the NHL, has been skating with Jokerit Helsinki (Finland) in the KHL Backman had seven seasons in the AHL before joining the Eisbaren Berlin in Germany. Little has spent most of his pro career in Sweden, but he also skated in the AHL and in Switzerland.  He is now with HC Davis in the Swiss league.

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 have been skating on the same team since they began organized hockey and have been linemates since they were eight-years old. 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 is listed as an inch taller and five pounds heavier than Mitchell. The Benjamin Franklin College members have a follicle flow going this winter and were part of a January video feature on hockey hair last season.
The Yale roster includes players from 12 different states and two provinces. There are five players from Massachusetts, while Minnesota and Ontario each have three. British Columbia, Connecticut, Michigan, New York and New Jersey each have a pair. All-time Yale hockey rosters have included players from 30 different states. There are 22 Americans and five Canadians.... This winter the Bulldogs average 6-feet in height and 186 pounds. 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 – 18… Prep/High School – 4…BCHL – 2…USNDT – 2… NAHL – 1
Yale has been to the national tournament seven times, including six under current head coach Keith Allain. Over the last six seasons, 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 nine (BC, Denver, North Dakota, Notre Dame, Minnesota, UML, Providence St. Cloud State, Quinnipiac) schools in the country with 4 or 5 in that span.
The Current team includes 23 players who captained their team prior to Yale, eight who captained other sports, 13 who were scholar-athlete award winners, 10 who graduated in the top 10 percent of their class, six National Honor Society members, and six class presidents.

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.

Nineteen former Bulldogs are playing professionally this season.

Jean-Francois Boucher '08 – Kolner Haie , DEL – Germany
Mark Arcobello '10 - Bern SC, NLA – Switzerland
Sean Backman '10 – Eisbaren Berlin, DEL – Germany
Broc Little '11 – HC Davis, NLA – Switzerland
Denny Kearney '11 – Milton Keynes Lighting, EIHL – United Kingdom
Brian O'Neill '12 - Jokerit Helsinki, KHL – Finland
Andrew Miller '13 - Charlotte Checkers, AHL
Antoine Laganiere '13 - San Diego Gulls, AHL
Kenny Agostino '14 – Boston Bruins, NHL/Providence Bruins, AHL
Gus Young '14 – Florida Everblades, ECHL
Ryan Obuchowski '16 – Toledo Walleye, ECHL
Matthew Beattie '16 – Melbourne Mustangs, AIHL – Australia
Rob O'Gara '16 – Boston Bruins, NHL/Providence, AHL
Alex Lyon '17 - Philadelphia Flyers, NHL/Lehigh Valley, AHL
John Hayden '17 – Chicago Blackhawks, NHL
Mike Doherty '17 – Manchester Monarchs, ECHL
Frank DiChiara '17 – Worcester Railers, ECHL
Chris Izmirlian  '17 – Knoxville Ice Bears, SPHL
Patrick Spano '17 – Knoxville Ice Bears, SPHL