UNION, RPI IN TOWN WITH FIRST PLACE ON LINE
NEW HAVEN, Conn. -- Three teams with legitimate conference championship aspirations are skating at the Whale this weekend. The No. 6/7 Yale men's hockey team (11-5-3, 7-3-2 ECAC), coming off a split in the North Country last weekend, host No. 18 Union (13-6-5, 7-2-3) and Rensselaer (13-11-2, 6-5-1) in 7 p.m. games Friday and Saturday. Both can be seen live on yalebulldogs.com.
There are still some seats available for both games. You can reserve them by calling (203) 432.1400. Remaining tickets will be sold on game nights starting at 5:30.
The standings, with ECAC Hockey teams nearly balanced in league games played, are packed. Union (17) has a one-point lead over second-place squads Yale, Cornell and St. Lawrence. RPI and Colgate (13) are a point behind Quinnipiac with five weekends left in the regular season.
YALE VS UNION
The Elis have a 19-14-3 lead in a series that began in 1991-92, the year Union replaced Army in ECAC Hockey. The teams played to a tie at Schnectady in November but the Dutchmen have taken the last two at Ingalls.
YALE VS. RPI
The Bulldogs and Engineers first played in 1908-09 and RPI has a 48-37-6 lead including a win at Houston Field House in November that snapped Yale's five-game win streak. Rensselaer's last win at New Haven was Jan. 26, 2007.
LATE TALLY GIVES YALE TIE
Yale erased a 3-1 third-period deficit with goals by Broc Little and Sean Backman to earn an OT draw on Nov. 7. Backman, who had two goals, hit the net with seven seconds left. Ryan Rondeau made 36 saves as the Elis were outshot 39-37.
RPI BEATS BLUE
Broc Little had both Yale goals while Ryan Rondeau stopped 20 of 25 shots in a 5-2 loss to RPI on Nov. 6. The Elis had the advantage in shots (36-25) but went 1-for-7 with the man advantage.
SPLIT IN NORTH COUNTRY
The Bulldogs hit the net twice on seven power plays on the way to a 3-2 win at Clarkson on Jan. 22. Blueliners Mike Matczak and Jimmy Martin notched their first goals of 2009-10 while Broc Little had the winner in the third frame. Nick Maricic made 23 saves to earn the win. Paul Karpowich (41 saves) kept the Knights in the game by stopping at least a dozen other Grade-A Yale chances. Yale erased a 2-0 deficit with goals by Antoine Laganiere and Mark Arcobello but could not sustain the momentum in a 4-2 loss at St. Lawrence on Jan. 23. Yale outshot the Saints 42-29 but could not connect on any of the five power plays. Freshman Jeff Malcolm (6 saves) started in net before giving way to classmate Nick Maricic (25). SLU senior Kain Tisi stopped 40 of 42 shots.
Yale (4.16) leads the nation in scoring, Union (3.42) is 10th. RPI (2.85) isn't far behind and beat Yale by scoring five goals in November. All three defenses are giving up slightly under three goals per outing and are not prolific (under 81%) on the penalty kill. All three teams come to Ingalls with power-play units over 20 percent and ranked among the top 15 in Division I.
Union's five-game win streak came to an end last weekend with losses to Harvard and Dartmouth, which dropped the Dutchmen from 13th to No. 18 in this week's uscho.com rankings. Jason Walters (13-15-28) and Mario Valery-Trabucco (12-15-27) lead the Dutchmen in scoring, while a freshman, Keith Kinkaid (2.56, .908) and a junior, Corey Milan (2.16, .912), have shared time in net.
The Engineers are 5-2-1 over their last eight games including wins over Boston University and Michigan. Chace Polacek (16-19-35) is 11th in Division I points but is not one of the six NHL draftees on the roster. Jerry D'Amigo (7-11-18) is and also skated for the U.S. Junior National Team. Sophomore Allen York (.980, 2.70) has had most of the work in net.
RED LIGHT DISTRICT
The Elis lead the nation with 4.16 goals per game and have a power play that ranks fifth in Division I at 23.2. Two Bulldogs (Sean Backman, Broc Little) are among the top 15 in the nation in goals per game, while defenseman Tom Dignard is third in Division I points per game for defensemen. Yale has scored 26 power play goals and 79 overall. The 1985-86 Bulldogs own the school record for both, 59 and 160 respectively.
Yale is 9-3-1 since Thanksgiving week and has tallied eight goals twice and seven in two other contests while netting 53 goals in those 13 games.
Arcobello ON THE MOVE
Senior F Mark Arcobello (7-10-17) has a point in five of the last six games that includes four goals over the last five games. His top game of 2008-09 was a two-goal performance at Dartmouth in a 4-2 win. He scored his first collegiate shorthander to give the Blue a 1-0 lead in the second period before tallying the winner in the third. He was a 2008-09 second-team All-America pick after recording 17-18-35. He has 41 goals and 97 points in three-plus seasons. He is second to Backman among active career leaders in goals.
The current Elis are a true mix of experience. Last Saturday's lineup at SLU included six juniors, five sophomores, four seniors and five freshmen, including the two goalies. No class has been common for any one Bulldog line or defensive pairing.
The Elis had seven PPG in two games before going 0-5 at SLU... Nick Maricic, who earned the win in net at Clarkson, played his first game since the 2-2 tie at Wisconsin on Jan. 3... Maricic played five of the six periods in the North Country, Jeff Malcolm played one on Saturday... Broc Little was the only multiple-point Bulldog against the Knights... Sean Backman did not find the net in the North Country but had one assist... Yale now has two straight wins at Cheel Arena, where Clarkson has nearly a .700 winning percentage... Four different players scored goals on the weekend... The Blue is 1-5-3 when trailing after two periods this season.
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 14 of the 19 games and are 9-2-1 in those outings. The Elis average 39 shots and give up just over 27. In the third period alone the Blue has an 91-shot advantage.
Nobody expects to score goals down a man, but the Elis were among the best in the country at scoring shorthanded last winter with nine. Broc Little led the country with five with Denny Kearney grabbing two and assisting on almost every Little tally. Sean Backman and Tom Dignard had the others in 2008-09. Little and Mark Arcobello have Yale's only SHG this year.
The Blue managed four PPG over the first six games and were operating at just over 11 percent efficiency. The Elis (23 % for season) are 22-for-79 (27.8) in the last 13 games. Yale's best day on special teams was (5-for-8) against Brown on Jan. 16. The Elis had four at Holy Cross in November.
Little LEADS NATION
Junior F Broc Little (15-20-35 last year) led the nation last year with five shorthanded tallies. He currently leads Division I with .79 goals per game after a two-goal performance against Brown and one tally at Clarkson. Little (15-7-22) leads the Elis in goals. He has a point in all but four games and eight multiple-point outings this season.
O'NEILL ON TOP
Sophomore F Brian O'Neill, who has points in 14 of 19 games and had the tying goal in the OT draw in the Badger Showdown title game, leads the team with 23 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 1.21 points per game are 22nd in Division I. He made the CHN (national) and ECAC Hockey All-Rookie teams after going 12-14-26 last winter. His career numbers are 20-29-49.
Junior F Denny Kearney (5-11-16), who has a point in 13 of 19 games, had two goals in the win over Quinnipiac. Kearney, who has 22 career goals and 70 points in 87 games, 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. As the Elis pulled into Lake Placid for practice last week on the way to the North Country, Hannah was winning the 2010 Freestyle World Cup Moguls on Whiteface Mountain, just nine miles away.
All seven members of the class of 2013 have been in the lineup at times this year. The five frosh skaters have combined for 54 games played with 10 goals and 35 points. Antoine Laganiere leads the newcomers with five goals, while Andrew Miller has 14 assists and 17 points. The two goalies, Nick Maricic and Jeff Malcolm, who have contributed a combined four assists to the offense, own 15 of the 19 decisions and nine of the 11 wins.
Four different Bulldogs have earned a win in net this season: two freshmen, a junior and senior. Newcomers Nick Maricic (2.41, .910, 4-2-2), who played five of the six periods last week, and Jeff Malcolm (2.74, .887, 5-2-0), 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. Malcolm has the most wins and played one period last week. Blase is the only Eli with a collegiate shutout.
Backman RARE BREED
F Sean Backman (12-9-21) is one of three players (two from St. Cloud St.) in Division I men's hockey "today" who has more than 100 career games played and a point total that equals his total games. He has 112 points in 112 career games and is fifth at Yale with 68 career goals. Backman, who trails Mark Kaufmann (69) by one for the No. 4 spot, was named to the College Hockey News (CHN) 2009-10 Pre-Season All-America squad. Ding Palmer's 87 career goals between 1927-30 are a long way off. Backman has a point in 13 of 19 outings this winter and is 13th in Division I with .63 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.
Senior defenseman Tom Dignard (4-15-19) 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 sixth among Yale blueliners in career points with 68, one behind Jeff Dwyer ‘04 (69) for fifth. The current Bulldog ranks No. 3 in the nation among blueliners and 25th overall with 1.19 points per game.
On one hand, the Bulldogs lose three of their top five point producers (126 career goals) to graduation after the 2009-10 season. On the other hand, Yale returns seven of its top 10 point scorers and three of the four goalies next season.
Senior F Mark Arcobello has 116 career games played. Most Eli seniors don't get a glimpse of triple digits until late in their final campaigns. Teammates F Sean Backman (112) and D Ryan Donald (108) recently followed Arcobello. All three could break the record of 125 games shared by Jeff Hamilton ‘01 and Jeff Hristovski ‘06. The Elis have a minimum of 14 games left.
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 skater has already tied his career-high for goals (2) in a season and is one shy of that mark in points (8). The defensive-blueliner (5-18-23 career) 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 is a political science major who 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 13-5-1 with 64 goals. The current Bulldogs have two fewer victories in their first 19 but have hit the net 79 times. The Elis were 3-1 against ranked teams in the first 19 last year, they are 4-2-1 this season.
In the Polls
Yale fell two spots to No. 7 on the USA Today/USA Hockey Magazine national poll while staying No. 6 on the USCHO.com list this week. Yale has been No. 5 for two weeks this year which matches the school record. The Bulldogs are 2-1-1 against top 15 teams in the current USA Today rankings and 2-2-1 vs. the USCHO's top 20. Yale is 4-2-1 against teams that were ranked on game night. The PairWise Rankings have the Elis tied for 17th with Michigan.
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 four 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 back 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 goalie and three as an assistant coach in the 1980s.
Allain AFTER SLU GAME
"I give St. Lawrence a lot of credit, that is a very good hockey team. We played really hard, but we were not as smart as we needed to be in several situations. We have work to do in those areas, and we will start with them first thing in the morning."
The junior class has contributed 29 goals this season, the seniors have 25. The sophomores are third with 15 while the newcomers have 10 goals.
Ed Maturo, in his 33rd year as Yale's Director of Equipment Services, will be retiring at the end of the 2009-10 season. Maturo, who began working with Yale hockey teams in 1977-78 and was nicknamed "Fox" because of his silver-colored hair many years ago, missed the 1993-94 and 2005-06 seasons to work for U.S. Teams at the winter Olympic games. He has worked 937 Yale men's varsity hockey games.
BULLDOGS IN THE PROS
Fourteen former Yale players are skating professionally this winter. Here are the details on each. Alec Richards '09 (Rockford Icehogs, AHL), Brennan Turner '09 (Elmira Jackals, ECHL), David Meckler '09 (Manchester Monarchs, AHL), Blair Yaworski '08 (Wheeling Nailers, ECHL), Matt Cohen '07 (Trenton Devils, ECHL), Brad Mills '07 (Lowell Devils, AHL), Chris Brooks ‘06 (Bakersfield Condors, ECHL), Joe Zappala ‘06 (Bossier-Shreveport Mudbugs, CHL), Chris Higgins '05 (New York Rangers, NHL), Joe Callahan '05 (Worchester Sharks, AHL), Stacey Bauman '03 (Rio Grande Valley Killer Bees, CHL), Jeff Hamilton '01 (Lugano, Swiss-A), Ray Giroux '98 (St. Petersburg SKA, KHL) Alex Westlund '98 (Linz EHC, Austria).
The Yale hockey program celebrated the re-dedication of Ingalls Rink on Jan. 16 with a ceremonies on and off the ice. The rink has been modernized in many ways while adding 13,000 square feet of varsity operational space. The additions include locker rooms and space for strength & conditioning (including skating treadmill), student-athlete study area, medical & training, officials, video, coaches, equipment, reception (Schley Room) and more. There are new historical displays and concession stands 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.
SKATE WITH THE BULLDOGS
The YUAD invites Yale hockey fans to an Ingalls Rink open skate with the men's and women's teams from 2:15 to 3:30 on Sunday, Feb. 7. Facility tours will also be available.
Report filed by Steve Conn, Yale Sports Publicity Director
Brendan Mason image vs. Union by Sam Rubin '95