Yale Faces No. 2 Clarkson, SLU
The Yale men's hockey team, which has five points over its last two conference weekends, has a huge road test this weekend in the North Country. The Bulldogs face No. 2/3 Clarkson at Potsdam on Friday before skating against St. Lawrence at Canton, a difficult place to play for road squads. Both games start at 7 p.m. and air live on the home school websites.
Since the first meeting in 1951-52, SLU holds a 59-35-11 advantage over the Elis, but Yale is 2-2-1 over the last two and a half seasons. In a series that dates to 1929-30, Yale leads the Golden Knights 73-37-7.
Freshman forward Dante Palecco became just the fourth rookie in Yale hockey history to score three times in a game and junior Joe Snively added a pair as the Bulldogs beat St. Lawrence 6-1 at the Whale early in the year. Sam Tucker made 19 stops in the net for the Elis and then had 32 saves the next night in a 4-1 loss to Clarkson. Palecco had the Yale tally.
Yale is coming off a home weekend split with Union and RPI. The Blue, which erased a pair of one-goal deficits, dropped a 3-2 decision to the Dutchmen. Ryan Hitchcock and Luke Stevens hit the net while Tucker made 31 saves. Stevens was one of five goal scorers the next night in a 5-1 win over RPI at Ingalls. Snively had a shorthander while Palecco, Charlie Curti and Kevin O'Neil had the other tallies. Corbin Kaczperski got the win in goal with 24 saves.
Clarkson (18-4-2, 10-1-1) enjoying one of its best seasons ever, had its win streak end at 14 games after tying Harvard 6-6 in OT last Friday. Dartmouth registered a 3-2 upset the next night at Potsdam.
SLU has the opposite overall record as its travel partner, having lost its last four games. The Saints have wins over Wisconsin, Vermont, UMass-Lowell and Canisius.
Yale is 6-2-1 in its last nine games with a 3-0-1 record against ranked teams. During that run, the Elis have had just four power-play goals. Twelve different skaters have scored goals and two goalies have shared the net duties during this run that began with a 5-3 win over Union on Dec. 2 at Schenectady. The Bulldogs have held the advantage in shots on goal in six games while one contest was even.
Red, White & BLUE
Former Yale All-American forwards from consecutive classes Mark Arcobello '10, Broc Little '11 and Brian O'Neill '12 will be wearing red, white and Blue for the 2018 U.S. Olympic Men's Ice Hockey Team. All three play professionally in Europe and skated for Keith Allain '80, Yale's Malcolm G. Chace Head Coach, who is an assistant on the 2018 U.S. Olympic Team. Team USA has 15 overall on the roster who currently play professionally in Europe, three who compete in the AHL and four collegians. The squad will represent the United States at the 2018 Olympic Winter Games, Feb. 9-25 in PyeongChang, South Korea. The opening game for the U.S. men in the 2018 Olympic Winter Games is Feb. 14 against Slovenia.
Senior forward Ryan Hitchcock was voted captain by his teammates for the 2017-18 season. The Manhasset, N.Y., native has notched 18 goals and 62 points in his 91-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.), who leads the nation with 3 shorthanded goals, is tops at Yale with 11 goals and 20 points. He 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. He is currently 6th in the conference with a .59 goal average. 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 (86 pts, 82 career games) has already registered four multi-goal games and five multi-point outings this season.
Junior goalie Sam Tucker (Wilton, Conn.) has most of the games in net this season. Tucker, who performed spectacularly with 34 saves in a 3-3 OT tie with No. 4 Cornell on Jan. 12, 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 the 2017 ECAC playoffs, where he stopped 68 of 71 shots in first round playoff action against Dartmouth. Tucker has been solid this season, recording a 2.93 goals against average and an .899 save percentage in his first 13 games. His Nov. 18 effort at Quinnipiac was one of the best of Tucker's career with 40 saves.
Sophomore Corbin Kaczperski (China Township, Mich.) has five career collegiate starts in net and four wins, all this season. His best was a 31-save effort in a 4-2 win over New Hampshire on Dec. 30. However, his greatest test may have been 19 stops in a 5-1 win over Colgate on Jan. 13. Zaczperski's first home appearance included 22 saves in the win over UMass on Jan. 5. He has a 1.81 GAA and a .935 SP.
Freshman forward Dante Palecco (7-3-10), who notched two goals in a Dec. 30 win over New Hampshire, had one of the best weekends for a rookie 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. Palecco chipped in Yale's only goal in a 4-1 loss to No. 8 Clarkson. For his efforts, the Whippany, 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 13 goals and 25 points this season. Forwards Dante Palecco (player, rookie of week) and Kevin O'Neil (rookie) have earned ECAC Hockey honors this season. First-year defenseman Phil Kemp (14 gp, 1-4-5) was named to the roster of the U.S. National Junior Team's pre-IIHF tournament camp.
Sophomore F Luke Stevens has goals in his last two games… Yale has 4 wins and a tie in 7 games against nationally ranked teams this year… The Elis have just two non-conference games remaining, Feb. 2-3 against Arizona State at Ingalls… The Bulldogs' most productive period this season has been the third with 22 goals.
UP NEXT FOR THE BLUE
Yale is home for its first-ever home games against the Sun Devils of Arizona State next Friday and Saturday nights.
The Bulldogs have four seniors, including two forwards, and two defensemen. There are seven juniors, nine sophomores, and seven newcomers.
HART OF A BULLDOG
Junior forward Ted Hart, who has 5 goals over the last 9 games, became the second Bulldog this season to score 4 goals in a weekend ECAC set with Yale's only tally at RPI and then 3 of the team's 5 goals at Union in December. Hart, who has 8 points in his last 6 games, is now second on the squad with 6 goals.
Yale went four seasons without a hat trick and now has two in 2017-18. Rookie forward Dante Palecco had his first three career goals on Nov. 10 at home against St. Lawrence. Junior forward Ted Hart notched his first three-goal college game on the road against Union on Dec. 2. Both Bulldogs were skating those nights on a line with Ryan Hitchcock and Joe Snively and the Elis won both contests.
YALE HOSTING REGIONAL
Yale and Fairfield will co-host the 2018 Division I Men's Ice Hockey Regional at Webster Bank Arena in Bridgeport on March 23-24. The two schools also brought the regional to the state of Connecticut in 2009, 2011, 2012, and 2014. The other sites for the 2018 tournament include the PPL Center in Allentown, Pa. (Host: Penn State), the DCU Center in Worcester, Mass. (Host: Holy Cross), and PREMIER Center in Sioux Falls, S.D. (Host: North Dakota). The 2018 Frozen Four will take place at the Xcel Center in Saint Paul, Minn. (Host: Minnesota).
Yale has played in Alaska and in Canada, but the Bulldogs have never skated outside of North America. That will change next November in Belfast, Ireland. Yale, Union, Boston University and UConn play in the 2018 Northern Irish Connections Friendship Four Tournament (Nov. 23-24). The squads square off at The SSE Arena, home of the Belfast Giants, a professional team that competes within the Elite Ice Hockey League. The arena has hosted the Friendship Four Tournament since 2015.
DID YOU KNOW
Yale defenseman Adam Larkin's family has hockey in its blood. Larkin's cousin Dylan skates for the Detroit Red Wings, 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… 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.
by Steve Conn, Yale Associate AD/Sports Publicity Director - email@example.com