Yale Men's Hockey Opens with UOIT, Princeton
NEW HAVEN, Conn. -- The 2009-10 edition of Yale men's hockey is on display this weekend with a Friday, 7 p.m. exhibition game at home against the University of Ontario Institute of Technology followed by the start of the regular season, Saturday, 7 p.m. at Princeton. This is the 114th season of Yale hockey.
Yale has won both meetings with UOIT the last two Octobers, both of them have been exhibition contests. Yale has a 122-99-8 lead on Princeton, but the Tigers have taken six of the last eight.
LAST YEAR AGAINST THE TIGERS
Yale and Princeton each won at home last winter. The Blue won 3-1 at Ingalls in January and Princeton blanked the Elis 2-0 late in February when Yale could have clinched the ECAC Hockey title. Sean Backman (Cos Cob, Conn.) tallied two goals at home. Yale goalie Alec Richards ‘09, who was in net for both games against the Tigers, had 55 saves. Zane Kalemba, last year's ECAC and Ivy League Player of the Year and a Hobey Baker candidate, stopped 70 Yale shots.
THOMPSON ARENA SCRIMMAGE
The Elis are coming off an Oct. 25 scrimmage at Dartmouth where the Blue scored four of the six goals. Four different forwards hit the net: sophomores Brian O'Neill and Kevin Limbert, senior Sean Backman and freshman Andrew Miller. Freshman Jeff Malcolm and senior Billy Blase shared the time in goal.
Sean Backman, a senior member of the Yale men's hockey team, was named to the College Hockey News (CHN) 2008-09 Pre-Season All-America squad. Backman, named to the second team, is one of three ECAC Hockey selections on the CHN team. He was second-team All-ECAC last year after leading his team with 20 goals. Backman, a forward, tallied the team's lone hat trick in a 5-0 win over Cornell that gave the Blue the ECAC Hockey Tournament Title and its leading scorer the tournament MVP. His career numbers are 56-35-91 in 93 games.
The Elis scored nine shorthanded goals and tied the school record in 2008-09. Broc Little (UAH, RPI, UNO, MSU, CLARK) led the nation with five while Denny Kearney (Union, Brown) assisted on five of them. Tom Dignard (Colgate) and Sean Backman (Cornell) also had them... C.J. Marottolo, on the Yale coaching staff the last 13 years, was named head coach at Sacred Heart University on Oct. 8.
CAPTAIN RYAN DONALD
Ryan Donald (St. Albert, ALB), a class of 2010 defenseman who helped Yale rank 10th nationally in scoring defense, is the captain of the 2009-10 Bulldogs. The 6-foot-3, 220-pound Bulldog skater had eight assists in 2008-09. Donald is one of 20 NCAA hockey candidates for the 2009-10 Lowe's Senior CLASS Award. To be eligible for the award, a student-athlete must be classified as an NCAA Division I senior and have notable achievements in four areas of excellence - classroom, character, community and competition. Donald has compiled a 2.93 grade point average as a political science major at one of the nation's top universities. He was recognized as a member of the ECAC All-Academic team in 2009.
Three years with Keith Allain ‘80 as Yale's Malcolm G. Chace Head Coach of Hockey has meant remarkable progress for the program, and the most recent campaign more than established the Bulldogs on the national scene. All he did in 2008-09 was lead the Bulldogs to the best season in the history of the sport at Yale. A school-record 24 wins, Yale's first ECAC Tournament Championship and a school-best No. 5 national ranking in late March backs up that statement. The Elis' second ECAC regular-season title, a third NCAA Tournament appearance and an Ivy League crown confirm the status of the 2008-09 squad. That's why the ECAC coaches voted him the conference coach of the year (Tim Taylor Award) and College Hockey News named him national coach of the year.
SUMMER NHL CAMPS
Yale seniors Ryan Donald (St. Albert, Alb.), Mark Arcobello (Milford, Conn.) and Sean Backman (Cos Cob, Conn.) and juniors Denny Kearney (Hanover, N.H.) and Broc Little (Rindge, N.H.) all took part in National Hockey League Development Camps this summer. Donald was with Vancouver, Kearney and Backman worked out with Washington while Little and Arcobello were with Chicago. NHL development camps are primarily for their signed players, which could be rookies, new draft picks, top prospects and some of their AHL players. Some also include free agents, like the Yale skaters.
Seventeen of Yale's 22 lettermen return for Keith Allain ‘80, Yale's Malcolm G. Chace Head Coach of Hockey and the conference coach of the year, who was also College Hockey News (national) Coach of the Year. Five of Yale's six All-ECAC Hockey selections, the team's top 10 point producers and 101 of the Bulldogs' 113 goals return. Experience is also plentiful with five players likely to reach the 100-game milestone including senior captain and defenseman Ryan Donald.
The Bulldogs are ranked No. 7 with one first-place vote in this week's USCHO.com and USA Today/USA Hockey Magazine national polls. The Elis moved as high as No. 5 in both polls last March.
CONFERENCE PICKS YALE
The Bulldogs, defending ECAC Hockey regular-season and tournament champions and 2009 NCAA Tournament participant, have been picked to finish first in both the ECAC Hockey Coaches' Preseason Poll and the ECAC Hockey Writers and Broadcasters Association (ECACHWBA) Preseason Poll. Yale, predicted to finish atop the ECAC Hockey standings for the first time, received 15 of 25 first-place votes and earned 278 points in the writers' poll. The Blue had seven of the 12 first-place votes in the coaches' poll. The highest prediction for a Yale squad prior to this season was fifth in 2003.