CONFERENCE STRETCH RUN BEGINS AT DARTMOUTH
NEW HAVEN, Conn. -- The No. 6 Yale men's hockey team (8-3-3, 4-1-2 ECAC), takes its four-game unbeaten streak to Hanover, N.H., on Sunday to take on Dartmouth (3-10-0, 1-6-0) in an ECAC afternoon contest. The 4 p.m. faceoff at Thompson Arena can be seen live on dartmouthsports.com.
SERIES VS. GREEN
Yale and Dartmouth have been playing since 1906-07 and the Blue has a 97-85-12 lead heading into the 195th meeting. The Elis swept the series last year and have taken three of the last four. The Big Green last won at home, 7-2, on Feb. 23, 2008.
ELIS EARN TIE AT WISCO
Yale's last two trips to the Badger Hockey Showdown produced overtime draws against perennial national power Wisconsin. The latest of those outcomes, a 2-2 tie on Jan. 3, came in the championship game and finished off a great weekend for the Bulldogs. The game is an OT tie for NCAA records, but the tournament needed to have a champion. Blake Geoffrion's tally on the sixth shootout attempt gave the Badgers the hardware in the last scheduled Showdown. Wisconsin took the shootout 2-1. The Elis outshot the Badgers 42-22 and had goals from Denny Kearney and Brian O'Neill. Yale freshman Nick Maricic, who made a few quality, game-saving stops (one was a clear breakaway), finished with 20 saves. Five straight penalties went against Yale in the middle of the contest, including consecutive calls that gave the Badgers a two-man advantage, but Maricic handled the pressure. At the other end, Scott Gudmandson had 40 stops in a game featuring the nation's top two scoring teams.
YALE WINS BATTLE OF DOGS
The battle of Bulldogs went to ECAC Hockey when Yale ended the nation's longest unbeaten streak in a 6-1 win over No. 11 Ferris State in game one of the Badger Showdown. Sean Backman's two goals and one assist helped Yale end a 10-game string by the CCHA team. Yale notched the game's last five goals, including four in the final frame. Backman had the decisive tally in the second before adding another in the third period. Other goals came from O'Neill, Kearney, Broc Little and Chad Ziegler. The Blue outshot FSU 41-24 while converting two of five man-advantages. Freshman Jeff Malcolm made 23 saves, including 11 in the middle frame.
ROOKIE OF THE WEEK
Nick Maricic was named ECAC Hockey Rookie of the Week after helping the Bulldogs tie No. 7 Wisconsin in the Badger Hockey Showdown Championship Game. Maricic, an Alta Loma, Calif., native who played for the USHL Tri-City (Nebraska) Storm, made 20 saves in the 2-2 overtime tie against the Badgers. He stopped five of six UW man-advantages, including a 5-on-3, and held the nation's No. 2 scoring team to a pair of tallies before a large crowd on an emotional night for folks at the Kohl Center. The Yale rookie owns a 2.41 goals against average, a .909 save percentage and a 3-1-2 record. His conference honor is Yale's first ECAC rookie award this winter.
The Big Green has wins over St. Lawrence, Harvard and Providence and looks to end a four-game skid. Junior F Scott Fleming leads the team with seven goals and 11 points, while sophomore Jody O'Neill (.898, 3.65) has handled almost all of the netminding.
RED LIGHT DISTRICT
The Elis, 6-1-1 since Thanksgiving Day week, have 40 goals in those eight games after tallying 19 times over the first six contests of 2009-10. Yale has scored six goals or more in five games this winter compared to four last year. Fifteen different Bulldogs have lit the lamp to give Yale a 60-38 goal advantage.
Yale has had 24 skaters suit up for games this year and all four goalies... Senior G Billy Blase is president of Sigma Nu (fraternity) and the founder and president of Yale's Undergraduate Student Entertainment Society... Freshman F Antoine Laganiere is an accomplished piano player who also plays guitar... Freshman G Nick Maricic started playing hockey on rollerblades in Alta Loma, Calif... Freshman F Andrew Miller worked as a lacrosse coach at Cranbrook Kingswood School in Michigan.
The Yale roster includes players from 12 different states and three provinces. The most from a state is two (California, Connecticut, Illinois and New Hampshire) while six hail from Alberta, including a Calgary pair.
The Bulldogs have outshot opponents in 10 of the 14 games and are 8-1-1 in those outings. The Elis average 38.4 shots and give up just over 27. In the third period alone, the Blue has a 76-shot advantage.
The Blue managed four PPG over the first six games and were operating at just over 11 percent efficiency. The Elis (21.7% for season) are 14-for-50 (28.0) in the last eight games. Yale's best day on special teams was (4-for-8) at Holy Cross on Nov. 28.
LAST YEAR AGAINST GREEN
The Blue slipped past the Green 2-1 last January at Hanover while outshooting the home team 55-30. Broc Little and Brian O'Neill had the goals while Alec Richards made 29 saves. Dartmouth came to Ingalls last February and fell 3-1 when the Elis got goals from Denny Kearney, Matt Nelson and Sean Backman. Jody O'Neill made 94 saves between the two games for the Green.
Lots of Little
Junior F Broc Little (15-20-35 last year) leads the Elis with 11 goals. He has a point in all but two games and six multiple-point outings this season. Little's .79 goals per game average is second in Division I, while he has the second best GWG (3) total and is 30th in points per game with 1.21. He led the nation in SHG with five last winter.
O'NEILL ON TOP
Sophomore F Brian O'Neill, who has points in 10 of 14 games and had the tying goal in the OT draw in the Badger Showdown title game, leads the team with 19 points. He had 2-1-3 in the win over Sacred Heart on Nov. 24 and 1-2-3 vs. Ferris State. O'Neill's 1.36 points per game are ninth in Division I. He made the CHN (national) and ECAC Hockey All-Rookie teams after going 12-14-26 last winter.
Junior F Denny Kearney (6-8-14), who has a point in 11 of 14 games, had two goals in the win over Quinnipiac. He is second to Mark Arcobello (54) in active career assists with 44. Kearney (Hanover, NH), who plays in his hometown this weekend, was in Colorado over the break to watch his sister, Hannah, 2005 world champion, qualifiy for the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver as a mogul skier.
Four different Bulldogs have earned a win in net this season. The Elis have two freshmen, a junior and senior battling for the top job. Newcomers Nick Maricic (2.41, .909, 3-1-2) and Jeff Malcolm (2.01, .909, 3-1-0), junior Ryan Rondeau (3.84, .880, 1-1-1) and senior Billy Blase (3 saves, 1-0-0) have been in net. Rondeau has the top save night with 40 at Princeton, while Malcolm gave up the fewest (1) goals in a 1-0 loss at UVM. Maricic, the only Eli goalie who qualifies for the national rankings, is 25th in GAA among Division I players and is 42nd in save percentage. Maricic has the most (373) minutes played, Blase, the only Eli with a collegiate shutout, has the fewest (12).
Backman MOVING UP
F Sean Backman (10-7-17) has 108 points in 107 career games and is fifth at Yale with 66 career goals. Backman, who trails Mark Kaufmann (69) by three for the No. 4 spot, was named to the College Hockey News (CHN) 2008-09 Pre-Season All-America squad. Ding Palmer's 87 career goals between 1927-30 are a long way off. Backman has a point in 10 of 14 outings this winter and is 12th in Division I with .71 goals per game. He was second-team All-ECAC last year after leading his team with 20 goals. Backman tallied the team's lone hat trick of the year in a 5-0 win over Cornell that gave the Blue the ECAC Hockey Tournament Title and made him tournament MVP.
Arcobello Making Point
Senior F Mark Arcobello (3-8-11) was a 2008-09 second-team All-America pick after recording 17-18-35. He has 37 goals and 91 points in three-plus seasons. He is second to Backman among active career leaders in goals (37) and assists (54).
Senior defenseman Tom Dignard (4-10-14) has 17 career goals, which is fourth on the school charts and a dozen shy of the record set by Dave Baseggio (29-79-108) between 1985-89. Dignard needs five goals to catch Darcy Ryan and Ray Giroux (22) and tie for second. He is seventh among Yale blueliners in career points with 61, six behind Bill Nichols (67). The current Bulldog ranks No. 2 in the nation among blueliners with 1.27 points per game.
Senior F Mark Arcobello has 111 career games played. Most Eli seniors don't get a glimpse of triple digits until late in their final campaigns. Teammates F Sean Backman (107) and D Ryan Donald (103) recently followed Arcobello. All three could break the record of 125 games shared by Jeff Hamilton ‘01 and Jeff Hristovski ‘06.
Captain Ryan Donald
Ryan Donald (St. Albert, ALB), a class of 2010 defenseman, is the captain of the 2009-10 Bulldogs. The 6-foot-3, 220-pound Bulldog skater 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.
CARE TO COMPARE
The 2008-09 Bulldogs enjoyed the best season in the history of Yale hockey after starting 9-5 overall with 41 goals. The current Bulldogs have one less victory in its first 14 but have hit the net 60 times. The Elis were 2-1 against nationally ranked teams in the first 14 last year, they are 4-2-1 this season.
In the Polls
After bouncing around both major polls for three idle weeks, Yale is No. 6 on both the USA Today/USA Hockey Magazine & USCHO.com lists. Yale's No. 6 ranking in the USCHO poll the first week of November was the "highest" it had been listed this season. The Elis' best ranking ever was No. 5 in both polls late March of 2009. The Bulldogs are 3-0-1 against top 15 teams in the current USA Today rankings and 3-2-2 vs. top 20 teams in the USCHO poll. Yale is 4-2-1 against ranked teams this season.
On the Bench
Keith Allain ‘80, Yale's Malcolm G. Chace Head Coach of Hockey, has helped establish the Bulldogs on the national scene since he joined the program three years ago. In 2008-09 he led Yale to the best season in the program's history. 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. He was honored by ECAC coaches as conference coach of the year (Tim Taylor Award) and College Hockey News named him national coach of the year. This is Allain's 11th overall year at Yale; he spent four as a student-athlete and goalie and three as an assistant coach in the 1980s.
"This [2-2 tie with Wisconsin] is a great statement about where we are at this point in the season. Going on the road to beat a top 15 team and tie a top 10 team in a tournament environment will pay dividends for us down the road. It's great to be back in conference play. We look forward to the ECAC stretch run and getting better as a team each week."
The junior class has contributed 20 goals this season, two more than the seniors. The sophomores are third with 13 while the newcomers have eight goals and 26 points.
Dedication night for the renovated Ingalls Rink is Jan. 16 when the Yale men host Brown after the women play RPI. That is also alumni day for both squads. The Elis have added 13,000 square feet of varsity operational space. It includes locker rooms, a strength and conditioning center, student-athlete study area, training room, officials room, video room, coaches' offices, equipment room and more. There is a new Schley Room (reception area), historical displays, a concessions stand and bathrooms.
BULLDOGS ON THE AIR
All Yale home games include live video and audio streaming. All games from Ingalls can be seen live through Yale's All Access on yalebulldogs.com. The audio is provided by WYBC radio, and the broadcast can also be heard on either AM 1340 or on wybc.com.
Release filed by Steve Conn, Yale Sports Publicity Director
Image of Denny Kearney by Sam Rubin