Sun Devils Come to New Haven
The Yale men's hockey team takes its final break from conference play this weekend to host a team from the West making its first appearance at Ingalls Rink. The Bulldogs and Arizona State Sun Devils square off Friday and Saturday nights at 7 in contests airing live on the Ivy League Network.
The only meeting of Yale-ASU was a semi-final at the 2016 Desert Hockey Classic hosted by the Gila River Arena in Glendale, Arizona. The Bulldogs won that meeting 4-0 and had a 40-12 advantage in shots with goals from Joe Snively, Andrew Gaus, Frankie DiChiara and John Hayden. Alex Lyon got the shutout in net for the Elis.
Yale, holding on to seventh place in ECAC Hockey with teams two points away on both sides, is coming off a North Country swing that included a 4-1 loss to No. 2 Clarkson and a 1-0 loss to St. Lawrence. Robbie DeMontis had the goal at Potsdam last Friday while Sam Tucker made 21 saves for the Elis. Corbin Kaczperski was in net against the Saints, stopping 27 of 28 shots, but the Blue ran into a hot goalie, Arthur Brey, who made 53 saves.
ASU, the nation's lone Division I independent, has played teams from every conference and bring a 7-16-5 record to New Haven following a pair of losses at home to Boston University last weekend. The Devils included wins over UMass-Lowell, UMass, Princeton, Northern Michigan and Michigan Tech this winter. There was also a recent tie with Quinnipiac in Tempe. Freshman forward Johnny Walker, a Phoenix native who played for USHL Chicago, leads the team with 9 goals, while sophomore defenseman Brinson Pasichnuk has a team-high 21 points. Sophomore Joey Daccord (3.48, .906, 7-14-5) has seen most of the work in net for ninth-year head coach Greg Powers, a former ASU skater.
Yale is tied for best in the nation with 6 shorthanded goals this year along with UMass-Lowell, Niagara and Northern Michigan.
Yale is 4-1-1 against nationally ranked teams this year… The Elis have scored 5+ goals in 7 of their 9 wins… The Blue is 3-2 in non-conference games… The last time Yale hosted a regular-season weekend set with one team was in 2008-09 when Alabama-Huntsville came in for a pair at the Whale.
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. Yale President Peter Salovey, who was in Davos, Switzerland, for the January World Economics Forum, met with Little.
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 93-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 21 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 8th in the conference with a .52 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 (87 pts, 84 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 .898 save percentage in his first 14 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 six 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 1.68 GAA and a .940 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 (16 gp, 1-4-5), an Edmonton Oiler draft pick, was named to the roster of the U.S. National Junior Team's pre-IIHF tournament camp.
For the second consecutive season ECAC Hockey and the Headway Foundation have partnered for a Concussion Awareness Weekend on February 2-3. All men and women ECAC Hockey student-athletes will be wearing Headway stickers on their helmets to promote a "New Tough Campaign." The goal of the 2018 Concussion Awareness Weekend is to promote a safer sports culture surrounding concussions by spreading awareness and providing educational resources.
UP NEXT FOR THE BLUE
The conference stretch run begins with home games against Quinnipiac and Princeton, both 7 p.m. starts shown on the ILN. The Bulldogs and Bobcats meeting also airs live on WCTX TV (My9).
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 11 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 8 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. (Holy Cross), and PREMIER Center in Sioux Falls, S.D. (North Dakota). The 2018 Frozen Four will take place at the Xcel Center in Saint Paul, Minn. (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.
Twenty seasons ago, Tim Taylor led the Bulldogs (23-9-3, 17-4-1 ECAC, 7-2-1 Ivy) to their first ECAC Championship by winning the regular season and getting an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament. Captain Ray Giroux and the Elis had a 7-game win streak that propelled them to the top of the conference standings. The 20th anniversary of this great Yale team will be celebrated on alumni weekend, Feb. 23-24, at Ingalls Rink.
BULLDOGS IN THE PROS
Yale has two players (Luke Stevens, Carolina; Phil Kemp, Edmonton) on the current roster who have been drafted by NHL teams. Nineteen former Bulldogs are playing professionally this season.
Jean-Francois Boucher '08 – Kolner Haie , DEL – Germany
Mark Arcobello '10 - Bern SC, NLA – Switzerland (2018 Olympics)
Sean Backman '10 – Eisbaren Berlin, DEL – Germany
Broc Little '11 – HC Davis, NLA – Switzerland (2018 Olympics)
Denny Kearney '11 – Milton Keynes Lighting, EIHL – United Kingdom
Brian O'Neill '12 - Jokerit Helsinki, KHL – Finland (2018 Olympics)
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, Quad City Mallards, SPHL
Patrick Spano '17 – Knoxville Ice Bears, SPHL
by Steve Conn, Yale Associate AD/Director of Sports Publicity