Yale Has Princeton, Quinnipiac Trips
Yale travels to Princeton and Quinnipiac this weekend after beginning the season with three straight conference splits.
Yale's first meeting with the Tigers dates to 1900, and the Bulldogs have a 142-104-10 record. Since the teams' first meeting in 2006, Quinnipiac has a 16-6-5 record against the Elis, including a 7-0-3 record in the last 10 matchups. Both are 7 p.m. puck drops. Friday's game at Baker Rink airs live on the ILN. Saturday's game at Hamden is on ESPN3 and TSN Go in Canada.
Tigers: In the first matchup between the Tigers and Bulldogs last season, Princeton prevailed despite 37 saves from Sam Tucker and two goals from Joe Snively. Following a Snively goal that tied the game at two, the game entered the third period deadlocked. From there, two unanswered tallies from Princeton's Eric Robinson and Ryan Kuffner and a solid performance from goaltender Colton Phinney were enough to give the Tigers a 4-2 victory at Ingalls Rink. Three weeks later in Yale's regular season finale, the Tigers won 4-1. Again, Snively evened the game for the Bulldogs in the first period, but Princeton notched three unanswered goals to cruise to the home-ice victory.
Bobcats: The Bobacts capitalized three times with the man advantage to power past Yale 5-2 in the first meeting. Frankie DiChiara scored just 4:22 into the opening period and added another in the second, but Quinnipiac scored 4 unanswered goals in a game that only saw 42 combined shots between both squads. In game two, the Elis spotted the home Bobcats a three-goal lead that was too much to overcome. Goals from John Hayden and Evan Smith cut the deficit to just one heading into the third period, but Quinnipiac goaltender Andrew Shortridge shut the door to secure the 3-2 victory.
Yale cruised past a battle-tested St. Lawrence squad on Friday in a 6-1 offensive outburst catalyzed by Dante Palecco's hat trick – the first in over five years for Yale. On Saturday, Yale struggled to solve No. 8 Clarkson's Jake Kielly. Palleco netted a late first period goal to give Yale a lead headed into the second stanza, yet a 10-minute letdown from Yale amounted to three Clarkson goals that put the game out of reach. A Power-play goal from the Golden Knight's Terrance Amorosa with under five minutes to play cemented Yale's defeat at 4-1.
Picked to finish fifth in the ECAC Hockey Preseason Coaches' Poll, Princeton [2-2-1, 1-2-1 ECAC] has played competitive hockey early in the season. The two blemishes on their record have come in 1-goal defeats to a resurgent Union team and No. 6 Cornell. Princeton's offense is anchored by junior forwards Ryan Kuffner and Max Veronneau who are sixth and seventh respectively in ECAC scoring. Freshman goaltender Ryan Ferland has proved capable posting a .924 save percentage and 2.52 GAA in his first five outings.
The Bobcats [3-5-1, 0-4 ECAC] have had mixed success in early action. They registered a road sweep of No. 12 Northeastern on Oct. 21-22, but since have lost four-straight conference games. During their losing streak, the Bobcats have been outscored 15-6. Freshman forward Odeen Tufto has been a bright spot for Quinnipiac, netting three goals and seven assists through nine games.
Following Thanksgiving Break the Bulldogs will play just one game next weekend as they host No. 11 New Hampshire.
Freshman forward Dante Palleco had one of the best weekends for a Bulldog forward in recent memory against St. Lawrence and Clarkson. In a 6-1 win over St. Lawrence on Friday, Palleco netted his first collegiate goal and added two more in scoring the first Yale hat trick since 2012. On Saturday Palleco chipped in Yale's only goal in a 4-1 loss to No. 8 Clarkson. For his efforts, the Whippnay, N.J. native was awarded both the ECAC Hockey Offensive Player and Rookie of the Week.
Yale head coach Keith Allain, an assistant for the 2018 U.S. Olympic Team, traveled to Augsburg, Germany, last week for the Deutschland Cup. He watched a roster of prospective Olympic players compete against Slovakia, Russia, and Germany. Several Yale alumni made a strong case to make the final Olympic roster. Broc Little '11, Mark Arcobello '10 and Brian O'Neill '12 were reunited on a line together, while Sean Backman '10 also skated for the Americans. Arcobello posted a goal and an assist in three games, while Little netted a goal.
Entering year three, Joe Snively, was one of five players selected to the Preseason Coaches All-ECAC Team. 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. So far this season, Snively has picked up where he left off. The speedy left winger is posting 1.33 points per game good for 17th in the nation. Snvely has already registered two multi-goal games and three multi-point games this season.
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 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. Tucker has been solid so far this season, recording a .235 goals against average and a .907 save percentage in his first six games.
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. In six games this year, Hitchcock has chipped in six points including one goal and five assists.
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. Newcomers 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. So far, Yale's freshmen have accounted for just over 36 percent of all Bulldog goals this season.
The Bulldogs currently rank fourth in the ECAC in goals per game (3.17) and fifth in GAA (2.33). Entering the weekend, there are four ECAC teams ranked within the nation's top-20 including Cornell (6), Clarkson (8), Harvard (13), and Colgate (19). As of the current rankings, Yale will play 11 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.
DID YOU KNOW
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. 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 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.... 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