Bulldogs on Conference Capital Tour
The Yale men's hockey team looks for ECAC Hockey road points this weekend in New York's Capital District with a trip to Rensselaer and Union. The Bulldogs take on the Engineers at Houston Field House in Troy on Friday before moving over to Schenectady for a game with Union at the Achilles Center. Both puck drops are 7 p.m. and air live on host school website streams.
The Bulldogs and Engineers first played in 1908-09, and RPI has a 55-44-6 lead... Union is up 24-23-4 on Yale since the first game in 1991-92, the year the Dutchmen replaced Army in ECAC Hockey. Yale swept RPI last year, but got swept by Union in 2016-17.
Yale completed its two games with the Capital duo by early December. The Elis beat RPI at Troy in November and then followed up with a 7-3 win at the Whale. The Dutchmen captured a pair of 5-3 victories in 2016-17.
Yale ran into a hot goalie last Saturday at the Whale in a 4-0 loss to No. 13 New Hampshire. The Blue put 34 shots on goal and trailed just 1-0 heading to the third period. Sam Tucker, in net for the home team, made 33 saves.
The Engineers (2-9-3), coming off a pair of losses at the Friendship Four in Belfast, Northern Ireland, skated against Clarkson in the first game before facing Maine in the consolation. RPI has wins over Quinnipiac and RIT with a pair of road ties at Ohio State on its slate.
The Dutchmen are 8-6-1 and on a four-game unbeaten string. They opened the season with five straight defeats and then rebounded with an 8-1-1 run that includes a win and a tie at North Dakota.
UP NEXT FOR THE BLUE
Yale has one game scheduled for next weekend, a Saturday, 7 p.m. matchup with Sacred Heart at Webster Bank Arena. The Pioneers (3-9-2) have wins over Notre Dame and UConn and are coming off a tie and a loss to Air Force.
Senior forward Ryan Hitchcock was voted captain by his teammates for the 2017-18 season. The Manhasset, N.Y., native has notched 16 goals and 55 points in his 81-game college career, which has been shortened by injuries 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 Jan. 14 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.
Junior forward Joe Snively (Herndon, Va.) was one of five players selected to the Pre-season Coaches All-ECAC Hockey Team after netting 1.18 points per game in 2016-17, which ranked 21st 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. Snively (75 pts, 74 career games) has already registered two multi-goal games and three multi-point outings this season.
Junior goalie Sam Tucker (Wilton, Conn.) has all of the Yale net time this season. Tucker made his collegiate debut on Nov. 12, 2016, in a relief appearance against Cornell, and eventually won his first collegiate game against UConn on Jan. 7, 2017. 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. Tucker has been solid this season, recording a 2.91 goals against average and a .901 save percentage in his first nine games. His Nov. 18 effort at Quinnipiac was one of the best of Tucker's career with 40 saves.
Freshman forward Dante Palecco had one of the best weekends for a Bulldog forward in recent memory against St. Lawrence and Clarkson on Nov. 10-11. In a 6-1 win over St. Lawrence on Friday, Palecco netted his first collegiate goal and added two more in scoring the first Yale hat trick since 2012. On Saturday Palecco 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.
The blue line is one of Yale's major improvements from last season. Last winter, rookies Matt Foley, Chandler Lindstrand and Billy Sweezey were baptized under fire while Henry Hart '18 was transitioned to defense after playing his first two seasons at forward. The Elis now have a seasoned group. Adam Larkin, Charlie Curti, and Anthony Walsh are veterans who are helping freshmen Phil Kemp and Brian Matthews with the transition.
Seven freshmen joined the team this year (4 F, 2 D, 1G). Two are from Canada and played junior hockey in the British Columbia Hockey League, while the other five come from around the U.S. and competed in the United States Hockey League last season. Yale's freshmen have accounted for 7 goals and 11 points this season.
Yale is very balanced in scoring this season with eight in the first period, seven in the second and eight in the final frame… The Bulldogs currently rank fifth in the ECAC in goals per game (2.88).
The Bulldogs have four seniors, including two forwards, and two defensemen. There are seven juniors, nine sophomores, and seven newcomers.
Yale head coach Keith Allain, an assistant for the 2018 U.S. Olympic Team, traveled to Augsburg, Germany, in November 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. The XXIII Winter Olympic Games at PyeongChang, South Korea, begin on Feb. 9.
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
BULLDOGS IN THE PROS
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
filed by Steve Conn, Yale Associate AD/Sports Publicity - email@example.com