Yale Preparing For Ultimate Goal

Yale Preparing For Ultimate Goal


NEW HAVEN, Conn. -- The Yale men’s hockey team (20-9-3, 15-5-2 ECAC Hockey) got what it deserved after winning the conference regular season championship and being ranked among the nation’s top 10 for most of the year. The No. 9 ranked Bulldogs (20-9-3), despite falling short in the ECAC Hockey Tournament, earned the opportunity to compete for a national championship with an invitation to the NCAA Northeast Regional. Yale, the No. 3 seed, will take on fourth-ranked North Dakota (No. 2 seed, 25-12-5) at 5 p.m. ET on Saturday at the DCU Center in Worcester, Mass. The other game, at 1:30 on Saturday, pits Boston College (No. 1, 25-10-3) against Alaska-Fairbanks (No. 4, 18-11-9). The winners play Sunday at 5:30 p.m for a trip to Detroit’s Ford Field and the 2010 Frozen Four.

All session ticket packages, admission to all three games, are available for $85.00. Tickets priced at $47.50 for individual days (Saturday or Sunday) will be available on Monday, March 22, at 10 a.m. Tickets may be purchased at the DCU Center Box Office, all Ticketmaster locations, by phone at 800/745-3000 and online at ticketmaster.com. Tickets will also be available this week at the Yale Ticket Office.

YALE STUDENT OFFER:  The Department of Athletics, in conjunction with the President’s Office and the Dean’s Office, will subsidize the cost of an all-session ticket for Yale students.  All-session tickets will go on-sale directly through the Athletics Ticket Office (20 Tower Pkwy.) at 2pm on Tuesday, March 23 for $35.  The all-session ticket provides admission for all three games.  Tickets for Yale students will be available on a first-come, first-served basis.  Bus transportation (Saturday 11:30 a.m. departure) will be provided free-of-charge for students who purchase a game ticket.  The buses will return immediately after the Yale game. A similar plan (to be announced) is in place for Sunday should Yale advance to the championship contest. 

The Yale-UND game airs live on MyTV9/WCTX (Hartford), MASN (Mid Atlantic Sports Network) and on FSN North (Fox Sports Net North). All the action at Worcester can be seen live on ESPN360.com, which is soon to be ESPN3.com in April. Dan Parkhurst and Damian DiGiulian call all the games. Saturday’s games re-air on ESPNU at noon on Sunday.

Here are the game averages for the Bulldogs and Fighting Sioux and where they rank in Division I.
                                              YALE                          UND
             Offense                    4.09 (1st)                      3.29 (13th)
             Defense                    2.94 (32nd)                  2.10 (4th)
             PIM                          12.9 (38th)                  18.4 (5th)
             Power Play               23.5 (2nd)                    21.0 (9th)
             Penalty Kill              81.8 (29th)                   86.9 (6th)

Yale’s regional games can be heard live on WYBC Radio (AM-1340) and on wybc.com. Michael Dunn ’10 and Rich Scudellari ’10 call the action on Yale’s student station.

The Fighting Sioux have taken all five meetings with Yale dating to the first game in 1960. Here are the five contests:

Date                          Score               Site
Jan. 1, 1960               15-0                 at RPI Tournament
Nov. 30, 1986           6-4                   at Grand Forks
Nov. 2, 2002             7-3                   at New Haven
Oct. 31, 2003            8-4                   at Grand Forks
Nov. 1, 2003             10-0                 at Grand Forks

UND and Yale share two opponents from 2009-10, Cornell and Wisconsin. The Sioux split a weekend series at Lynah Rink in late January, while the Blue took both meetings with the Big Red. Yale tied Wisconsin in the finale of the Badger Showdown in early January. In early December, the Sioux tied and lost to the Badgers at Grand Forks.

Boston College has a 41-11 mark against the Bulldogs. The first meeting was in 1922 and the last was in 2005, a 1-0 Eagles victory at Ingalls Rink. Yale and Alaska-Fairbanks played four times between 1987 and 1992 and the Nanooks have taken each contest. The first came at the Phoenix Mutual Classic in Hartford, Conn., and the last was at the Great Alaska Face-off in Fairbanks.

Three other regional sites in New York, Indiana and Minnesota get underway this weekend. The East (Albany) and West (St. Paul) play Friday and Saturday. The Midwest (Fort Wayne) has the same schedule as Worcester.

The semifinals and final of the 2010 NCAA Division I Men’s Ice Hockey Championship will be conducted at Ford Field in Detroit. The Central Collegiate Hockey Association and Detroit Sports will serve as hosts for the championship. The semifinal games will be played Thursday, April 8, at 5 and 8:30 p.m. E.T.. The championship game will be played Saturday, April 10, at 7 p.m.

Yale has three NCAA post-season hockey appearances and four games (1-3-0) overall. The first came in 1952 at Colorado Springs, Colo., when Yale fell to Colorado College, 4-3, in the semifinals. The Elis and St. Lawrence were selected that year to represent the East at the final four. The Bulldogs beat the Saints 4-1 in the consolation game. Yale’s second NCAA playoff contest was a 4-0 loss to Ohio State at Ann Arbor, Mich., in the 1998 West Regional when the Elis were the No. 5 seed in the West and there were only 12 teams picked overall. The most recent endeavor was the 2009 East Regional at Bridgeport’s Arena at Harbor Yard, a 4-1 loss to Vermont.

This is Yale’s second straight appearance in the NCAA Tournament, UND has gone to eight straight national championship events. The Bulldogs lost to Vermont, 4-1, on day one of the East Regional at Bridgeport a year ago, their third trip to the NCAA Tournament. North Dakota, currently ranked No. 5 nationally, has won seven NCAA hockey championships. At the 2009 Northeast Regional in Manchester, N.H., the Sioux fell to New Hampshire in the first round.

The Bulldogs won their first ECAC tournament title ever in 2009. They have played in just four conference semifinals in 49 years of ECAC affiliation. Yale is 18-43-5 in conference playoff games, 1-3-0 in the NCAAs and 19-46-5 overall. The Bulldogs had won four straight conference playoff games before falling 2-1 in the best-of-three quarterfinal series to Brown on March 12-14 at New Haven.

Yale’s Feb. 26 win at Princeton clinched the ECAC regular season championship, the second in a row for the Bulldogs. It’s the first time a Yale hockey team has ever won consecutive titles (the Elis also took Ivy League titles the last two years). The 2009-10 squad is the first to have back-to-back NCAA appearances as well.
The Fighting Sioux, who have won 12 of their last 13 games, are coming off Saturday’s WCHA Tournament title, a 6-5 win over St. Cloud State at St. Paul. Jason Gregoire leads UND with 20 goals, while Chris VandeVelde (16-24) has a team-high 40 points for a squad that has six double-digit goal scorers. Brad Eidsness (.915, 2.18, 24-9-4) has most of the work in net.

The PairWise system is a ranking established by uscho.com that tries to imitate the NCAA Selection Committee’s ordering of teams for the tournament. Yale is currently No. 9, UND is fifth.

Yale’s back-to-back ECAC and Ivy titles are the first consecutive championships of any kind for a Bulldog hockey team.  Yale is the first ECAC Hockey squad to win consecutive regular-season championships since Cornell in 2001-02 and 2002-03; the Big Red were the last ones to take two straight (2003-04, 2004-05) Ivy crowns as well.

Keith Allain ‘80, Yale’s Malcolm G. Chace Head Coach of Hockey, won his 70th game in four seasons as leader of the Bulldogs on Feb. 26 at Princeton. Only four other Yale hockey head coaches have more wins, and none reached the 70-win mark faster than Allain. The former Yale goalie has led the Blue to three Ivy League titles, two ECAC regular season championships and a 2009 NCAA Tournament appearance. Allain, who played and worked for Tim Taylor at Yale, had an eye on the Olympics because of his connection to team USA. He worked with 13 of the 22 on the roster, either in the National Hockey League or at the 2006 Winter Games. In 2008-09 Allain earned the Tim Taylor Award as the ECAC Hockey Coach of the Year by leading 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 were a few reasons why the coaches picked him. College Hockey News named him 2008-09 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.

Keith Allain is not only a Worcester native, his parents and six brothers still live in the Central Massachusetts city. Allain attended St. Peter’s High School and played his home games at Holy Cross’ Hart Recreation Center his senior season. In addition, he served as an assistant coach with the AHL Worcester Ice Cats for three seasons.

Yale moved up one spot to No. 8 in both major polls for the final week of voting. The Elis earned their best-ever ranking of No. 4 in the USA Today/USA Hockey Magazine Poll on Feb. 22. The Bulldogs are 3-1-1 against top 15 teams in the current USA Today rankings and 4-1-2 vs. the USCHO’s top 20. Yale is 6-2-1 against teams that were ranked on game night.

Senior F Mark Arcobello (11-18-29), who has been over 20 points in each of his four seasons, is the Yale career games played leader with 129, which are four more than Jeff Hamilton ’01 and Jeff Hristovski ’06 who had been tied for the record. Arcobello  has 109 career points including 45 goals. His top game of 2009-10 was a two-goal performance at Dartmouth. He scored his first collegiate SHG before tallying the winner. Arcobello added his second SHG against Dartmouth at home this winter. He was a 2008-09 second-team All-American after recording 17-18-35.

F Sean Backman (21-14-35), who missed the conference playoffs with an injury and is unlikely for the NCAA Tournament, is a first-team All-ECAC pick and the Ivy League Player of the Year. He is alone at No. 7 on the school’s career points list with 126. His 77 career goals are fourth best at Yale and put him one behind Bob Kudelski for third. His 126 points in 122 games puts him in a select class of current Division I players who have over 100 games and as many points as games played. Backman, who was named to the College Hockey News (CHN) 2009-10 Pre-Season All-America squad, lived up to the billing. He has a point in 19 of 29 outings this winter and is third in Division I with .72 goals per game. He was second-team All-ECAC last year after leading his team with 20 goals. Backman, a four-time, first-team All-Ivy selection, was 2009 conference tournament MVP.

Yale Career Goals                                                             Yale Career Points
Ding Palmer            87            1927-30                              Jeff Hamilton             173          1996-01
Jeff Hamilton          80            1996-01                              Mark Kaufmann         160          1989-93
Bob Kudelski         78            1984-87                               Bob Kudelski             158          1983-87
Sean Backman        75            2006-Pres.                          Bob Brooke                155          1979-83
                                                                                           Randy Wood               141          1982-86
                                                                                                 Dan Poliziani             131          1978-82
                                                                                                 Sean Backman          126          2006-Pres.
                                                                                                 Bob Logan                122          1982-86
                                                                                                 Jack Morrison           119          1964-67

Senior D Tom Dignard (6-20-26), who was named second-team All-America by collegehockey247.com, earned second-team All-ECAC honors for the second straight year. He was first-team All-Ivy this winter and ranks fourth among Division I blueliners and No. 1 in the ECAC with .96 points per game. He has 19 career goals, which is fourth on the school charts and 10 shy of the record set by Dave Baseggio ‘89 (29-79-108). Dignard needs three goals to catch Darcy Ryan and Ray Giroux (22) and tie for second. He is fourth among Yale blueliners in career points (75) surpassing Jack Duffy ‘93. Dignard, who has a 3.71 GPA in economics and math, is Yale’s candidate for ECAC Hockey’s Student of the Year Award.

Yale Defensemen Career Points
Dave Baseggio          29-79-108               1985-89
D’Arcy Ryan          22-62-84                 1971-72, 73-75
Ray Giroux              22-62-84                 1994-98
Tom Dignard          19-56-75                 2006-Pres.
Jack Duffy              16-55-71                 1989-93
Jeff Dwyer              14-55-69                 2000-04

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 has surpassed that mark in points with nine. The defensive-blueliner (5-19-24 career) is a political science major who was recognized as a conference all-tournament selection as well as a member of the ECAC All-Academic team in 2009. Last summer he skated in the Vancouver Canucks’ free-agent camp.

Junior F Denny Kearney (9-25-34) is one of the premier set-up men in college hockey. He ended the regular season with a 2-1-3 weekend that included two goals at Quinnipiac and added 1-3-4 in the conference playoff series. He has a point in 24 of 32 games. Kearney has 26 career goals and 87 points in 100 games, but may be equally famous for having an Olympic gold medal winning sister, Hannah Kearney, who won the 2010 mogul competition two hours after the Bulldogs beat Cornell on Feb. 13. He and many of his teammates were glued to a computer monitor watching the live coverage on the bus ride back from Ithaca. Hannah, during a Feb. 14 Bob Costas interview on NBC, mentioned being a hockey fan because her brother plays for Yale.

Junior F Broc Little (26-14-40), a first-team All-ECAC and Ivy League selection, was named the Player of the Month (Feb.) by the Hockey Commissioner’s Association. He leads Division I players with .81 goals per game and seven game-winning goals. His 26 goals (32 games) are the most by a Bulldog since Jeff Hamilton ’01 had 27 in 1997-98. He has one SHG this year after leading Division I with five in 2008-09. Little’s nine-game point streak to start 2009-10 is a team best. He has 52 goals and 98 points in 93 career games and is the only Bulldog with a hat trick (Clarkson, Feb. 20) this season.

Freshman F Andrew Miller (5-25-30), the Feb. 15 ECAC Hockey Rookie of the Week, is third among conference rookies with .94 points per game, which also put him seventh in the country for newcomers. He is ranked 18th in Division I with .78 assists per outing. The most points by a Yale rookie are 41 by Tom Walsh in 1984-85.

This is the first time in the 115-year history of Yale hockey that three different Yale goalies have at least five wins each. Four Bulldog tenders have a decision this winter, the first time that’s happened since 2003-04. The goalie with the best overall record (7-2), is not the player with the most saves or minutes played on the team. Senior Billy Blase (2.37, .901), who has seven starts, 10 appearances and just 23.4 percent of the goalie time, does not qualify for any of the conference or national rankings. He is the only current Eli netminder with post-season experience and a collegiate shutout. Blase started all three ECAC playoff games and stopped 63 of 70 shots in a win (6-3) and two losses (3-2, 1-0). He started two of the three games in the 2008 ECAC Quarterfinals at Princeton and earned a win (4-3) and a loss (4-0) while making a total of 60 saves. Freshmen Nick Maricic (2.95, .888, 7-4-2), who also has seven wins, and Jeff Malcolm (2.89, .882, 5-2-0) have most of the work in goal this year. Junior Ryan Rondeau (3.84, .880, 1-1-1) has the top save night with 40 at Princeton but has not played since Nov. 21 at Brown.

Sophomore F Brian O’Neill (14-25-39) is second to Little in points on the team. He has points in 24 of 32 games, but his most memorable plays of 2009-10 are easy to recall. He put the puck on Sean Backman’s stick before the OT game-winner at Cornell on Feb. 13, and he had the tying goal in the OT draw in the Badger Showdown title game against Wisconsin on Jan. 3. O’Neill had 2-1-3 in the win over Sacred Heart on Nov. 24 and hit the net twice in game two of the ECAC Quarterfinals. O’Neill’s 1.22 points per game are 17th in Division I. He made the 2008-09 CHN (national) and ECAC Hockey All-Rookie teams after going 12-14-26 last winter. His career numbers are 26-39-65 in 65 games.

Juniors Broc Little and Denny Kearney, senior Sean Backman, sophomore Brian O’Neill, and freshman Andrew Miller have all hit the 30-point mark. It was the third time for Backman (21-14-35), the second for Little (26-14-40) and the first for Kearney (9-25-34), O’Neill (14-25-39) and Miller (5-25-30). Two other Bulldogs are within three points of that mark. The Elis had four players over the 30-point mark last winter.

Yale has seven players who have reached 20 points this season. Last year, during the Elis’ best winter on ice, there were just five skaters over that mark. The last time the Blue had that many 20-point guys was 1991-92 with Mark Kaufmann, John Sather, James Lavish, Jack Duffy, Martin Leroux, Craig Ferguson and Jeff Blaeser.

Yale clinched (16 points) its second straight Ivy League title by winning at Ithaca on Feb. 13 before beating Princeton on Feb. 26 to finish 9-1 for the second straight year. Second-place Cornell had 12 points. The Elis now have nine (12 if you count titles before the league officially formed in 1956) Ancient Eight crowns including three in the four seasons under Keith Allain ’80, Yale’s Malcolm G. Chace Head Coach of Hockey.

Hockey Ivy League Titles (since 1930)
1. Harvard: 25; 2. Cornell: 18; 3. Dartmouth: 14; 4. Yale: 12; 5. Brown: 7; 6. Princeton: 4

Yale has not blanked an opponent this season. Last year, Alec Richards had a school-record four SHO and finished with six, a Yale career record. The Bulldogs have had at least one SHO in seven of the last 10 seasons.

Three (non freshmen) Bulldogs have career-highs for goals this season: Broc Little (26), Brendan Mason (9) and Chad Ziegler (3). Ten players have had their best point output: Little (40), Brian O’Neill (39), Sean Backman (35), Denny Kearney (34), Tom Dignard (26), Jimmy Martin (17), Kevin Peel (14), Mason (14), Jeff Anderson (11) and Ziegler (5).

Yale scored 71 goals at home this year for a 4.4 average while going 11-4-1. The Elis lead the nation in goals per game and have a power play that ranks second in Division I. Two Bulldogs (Sean Backman, Broc Little) are among the top five in the nation in goals per game, while defenseman Tom Dignard is fourth in Division I points per game for defensemen. Yale has scored 44 power play goals and 131 (most since 2002-03) overall. The 1985-86 Bulldogs own the school record for both, 59 and 160 respectively.

There are five seniors on the Yale roster: Mark Arcobello, Sean Backman, Billy Blase, Tom Dignard and captain Ryan Donald. They have accumulated 146 career goals and 336 combined points in 528 games. A few other classes have produced more offense -- all with at least two more skaters -- including 1993 (Mark Kaufmann, James Lavish, Yannick Chiasson, Jack Duffy, Peter Allen, Dean Malish) which had  170 goals and 431 combined points.

The current Elis are a true mix of experience. The last lineup included six juniors, five sophomores, four seniors and five freshmen, including two goalies. No class has been common for any one Bulldog line or defensive pairing.

The crowd of 3,500 for the Feb. 20 Clarkson game marked the ninth sellout at Ingalls this year and the seventh straight. Yale students were on Spring Break during the ECAC Playoffs, so none of the three games (2,688 average) had full houses. Yale had six sellouts in 2008-09.

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 26 of the 32 games and are 19-5-2 in those outings. The Elis average 40 shots and give up 26 while having a 402 shot advantage overall. Yale outshot Clarkson 56-26, a margin that has not been seen since the Blue had a 50-15 game against Harvard last February.

Yale potted a pair of shorthanded goals on Feb. 5/6 and has four this year. Mark Arcobello has two this winter, Sean Backman and Broc Little have the others. Little led the country with five last year while the Elis had nine overall.

It’s been an up-and-down special teams season; the power play has been up - most of the time - and the penalty kill has been good - some of the time. Yale is second in the nation on the power play with a 23.5 mark. However, the Elis went one for 19 over three games during the middle of the campaign. The Blue, 12-0 when tallying at least two PPG, was just over 11 percent after the first six games but went on a tear. The best night was 5-for-8 against Brown on Jan. 16, the most productive PP day since Nov. 13, 1992, when the Blue went 5-for-7 in a 10-6 win over Colgate at Hamilton. The penalty-kill unit is at 81 percent, which is fourth in the ECAC.

The Bulldogs won the conference regular season championship but did not garner any of the post-season individual honors. The last time an ECAC team won the season title and did not have a player or coach earn a post-season conference honor was Clarkson in 1999.

All seven members of the class of 2013 have been in the lineup at times this year, combining for 14 goals and 51 points. Antoine Laganiere leads the newcomers with seven goals, while Andrew Miller has 30 points and is ranked seventh among Division I rookies and third among ECAC newcomers with .94 points per game. The two goalies, Nick Maricic and Jeff Malcolm, who have contributed a combined four assists to the offense, own 20 of the 32 decisions and 12 of the 20 wins.

Yale’s only game ever at Worcester came in November of this season, an 8-3 win over Holy Cross… Yale’s longest win streak was eight games this season, which came to an end the last game of the regular season at Quinnipiac… Brian O’Neill, Denny Kearney and Andrew Miller – players from three different classes – all have 25 assists… The Yale junior class has 115 career goals and 308 points… Yale goalie Billy Blase has 43 career games played; the other three goalies average 11 career outings… The Bulldogs have four double-digit goal scorers this year and 12 who have 10 or more points… Yale’s third-period comeback against Clarkson was just the second time this season the Elis have erased a deficit to win in the final frame; Yale is now 2-9-3 when trailing after 40 minutes… The junior class has contributed 52 goals this season, the seniors have 40. The sophomores are third with 25 while the newcomers have 14 goals… ECAC Hockey teams have won NCAA Tournament games four of the last five years

On one hand, the Bulldogs lose three of their top five point producers 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 broke the school record for games played with his 129th against Brown. Teammates F Sean Backman (122) and D Ryan Donald (121) recently followed Arcobello to the century mark. The old record was shared by Jeff Hamilton ‘01 and Jeff Hristovski ‘06.

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 is about a season and a half shy of working 1,000 Yale men’s varsity hockey games.

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 (Calgary Flames, 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).  Higgins has played 67 games between the New York Rangers and the Flames and has eight goals and 17 points. Hamilton has 22 goals and 46 points in 46 games for HC Lugano this winter.

The 2010-11 Yale schedule includes non-league home games against Brown, Sacred Heart, Vermont, Holy Cross and either Princeton or Dartmouth. The road games in place for next year are Air Force and Colorado College.

The Yale hockey program celebrated the re-dedication of Ingalls Rink on Jan. 16 with 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.



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Preview filed by Steve Conn, Yale Sports Publicity Director


Image by Jack Warhola