BULLDOGS PLAY 4:30 SEMIFINAL
NEW HAVEN, Conn. –The Yale men's hockey team (25-6-1, 17-4-1 ECAC), coming off a 2-1 ECAC Hockey Quarterfinal Series win over St. Lawrence last weekend, heads to Southern New Jersey to compete in Atlantic City's inaugural conference championship weekend at Boardwalk Hall (9,800). The Bulldogs, ranked No. 1 in the PairWise System and No. 3 in the USA Today/American Hockey Magazine and uscho.com polls, take on league giant slayers Colgate (11-26-3), coming off successive road series victories at Rensselaer and top-seeded Union. The opening drop of the puck is set for Friday at 4:36 p.m. and can be seen live on CBS College Sports. The winner of this contest takes on the Cornell-Dartmouth (7:36 pm) survivor.
WATCHING THE GAMES
Both semifinal contests and Saturday's championship game (7:36 pm) air live on CBS College Sports (DirecTV 613, Dish Network 152, various cable outlets). Matt Shepard, Dave Starman and Shireen Saski provide the commentary. Saturday's third-place contest will be streamed live on America One.
The semifinals and championship game require 20-minute, sudden death overtimes to determine winners after regulation ties. The third-place game would have the standard, five-minute extra session. The title winner earns an automatic berth in the 2011 NCAA Tournament.
YALE IN ECAC PLAYOFFS
The Blue has played 69 ECAC Playoff contests since the first in 1967 and are 20-44-5 overall. Yale, winners of seven of its last 10 conference playoff games, has won two straight. The longest Eli win streak is four games, which happened during the school's only conference tournament title run in 2009. Yale hosted the ECAC Quarterfinals nine times (last 3 years straight) and is 10-7-3 in those games while advancing to the conference championship weekend five times. The Blue played in two ECAC championship weekends at the Boston Garden in the 1980s, skated at Lake Placid in 1998 and won the title at Albany in 2009.
The Raiders hold a 45-38-5 advantage in a series with Yale that began in 1916-17, though the Elis are 5-1-2 in the last eight games. Colgate has had the upper hand in the playoffs with a 6-1 mark against the Blue in ECAC post-season games. This is the first meeting during the conference championship weekend.
THIS YEAR VS. RAIDERS
GAME 1: Yale beat Colgate 6-4 at Starr Rink on Nov. 20. Antoine Laganiere had a goal and three points while Kenny Agostino, Andrew Miller and Jesse Root each had a goal and one assist. The Elis had a slight (34-33) advantage in shots, but got 29 saves and some big plays from senior Ryan Rondeau. He needed 14 of those stops in the final period to keep the Raiders from making a comeback. Colgate, which dominated on the dots with a 46-28 advantage on faceoffs, got 28 saves from Eric Mihalik, making his second start of the year.
GAME 2: Yale outshot Colgate 40-32 but had to settle for a 1-1 tie before a sold-out Ingalls Rink on Feb. 25. This was a classic battle of veteran vs. newcomer in the nets. Yale senior Ryan Rondeau stopped 31 shots and stood on his head at times to keep the Elis unbeaten at home. Eric Mihalik, a freshman, turned aside 39 shots, including 22 over the third period and overtime combined. Both goals came in the second off the sticks of Yale's Andrew Miller and Austin Mayer of Colgate. The teams were blanked on a combined seven power plays.
Andrew Miller has two goals against Colgate this season and three overall, but he is not the active scoring leader against the Raiders; Broc Little is with four. Brian O'Neill and Kevin Limbert each have a pair. Ryan Rondeau is 1-1 against the guys from Hamilton with three games started. The senior goalie got the starting nod (but did not finish) in the 5-4 OT win at Starr Rink in 2008-09 when the Elis erased a 4-0 third-period deficit.
Yale and Dartmouth have met 197 times since 1907 with Yale leading 102-84-12. The Bulldogs swept the series last year and have taken the last six straight, including three this season. Cornell and Elis have played since the turn of the 20th century and Cornell has a 75-57-5 lead. Yale, however, has taken the last seven straight.
IMPROVING ONE GAME AT A TIME
The penalty minutes (18, 32, 56) increased each night of the three-game series against St. Lawrence, which ultimately helped Yale tally six power-play goals on the way to winning the last two contests. The Bulldogs also played better each night and ended up outscoring the Saints 12-6 while having a 109-81 shots advantage. Eight different Elis found the net, while Yale goalie Ryan Rondeau stopped 75 of 81 shots and 13 of 15 man-advantages. The line of Broc Little (2-5-7), Denny Kearney (2-4-6) and Kevin Limbert (2-2-4) contributed six goals and 17 points over three days, while the names Brian O'Neill (1-2-3) and captain Jimmy Martin (2-2-4) were often on the box scores.
Yale had three straight goals to erase a 1-0 deficit in game one last weekend before breaking open a 1-1 game with three consecutive on the second night. In game three, a trio of tallies put the game out of reach before a clinching goal was added.
Seniors Jimmy Martin and Denny Kearney became Yale's career leaders in games played when they skated in their 134th Sunday against SLU. They both passed Mark Arcobello '10 (131 gp) last weekend.
Colgate, which finished at the bottom of the league standings, knocked off two of the big guys – both in three games with overtime in the finales - to get to Atlantic City. The Raiders lost the first game of both series and came back to take two straight, first at RPI and then at Union. Senior defenseman Wade Poplawski scored his first goal of the year at 12:52 of the OT on Sunday to give the Raiders a 4-3 win at Achilles Rink. Freshman goalie Eric Mihalik played all three games and made 99 saves.
Yale's 35 ECAC points tie the school record established by the 1997-98 Bulldogs, who won the regular season title, lost in the conference semifinals at Lake Placid and then fell to Ohio State in the NCAA West Regional at Ann Arbor.
The 25 wins are a Yale record and are one better than the 2008-09 Elis who went 24-8-3 while winning the ECAC regular season and tournament titles before falling to Vermont at the NCAA East Regional at Bridgeport. Yale's 17 ECAC wins equal the record reached by the 1997-98 team with an identical 17-4-1 mark.
The NCAA's power ranking system used to compare teams for tournament time is called PairWise. It uses four criteria: record against common opponents, head-to-head competition, record against other teams under consideration and the RPI ranking. Yale is currently first with 29 points followed by North Dakota (28) and Boston College (27).
FIRST OT, TIE
The Elis almost went the entire regular season without seeing overtime or a tie. The 1-1 decision with Colgate on Feb. 25 was the first OT game and tie of the 2010-11 season. The last time Yale went without a tie was the 2003-04 campaign; the Blue last went a season without OT in 1967-68.
The Bulldogs are not looking past the conference playoffs, but the governor of Minnesota might be. Mark Dayton '69, former Yale hockey goalie and two-year letterman, would love to see his alma mater in St. Paul's Xcel Energy Center for April's Frozen Four… assuming one of the home state schools also advances. Former Yale player Jack Dalrymple '70 (lettered in 1968) might also have a two-team rooting interest as governor of North Dakota.
LEAGUE WITHIN A CONFERENCE
Six members of ECAC Hockey compete for the Ivy League's Hobey Baker Trophy, which is all that is on the line in this race. Yale won its third straight Ivy title by going 9-1 and having 18 points. Dartmouth was second with 13 points.
Sophomore F Andrew Miller (66 gp, 16-58-74), voted "best passer" by his teammates, is No. 7 in the nation with .91 assists per game (tops in ECAC). More impressive is that 19 of his 29 assists are primary ones. Miller leads the team with 29 helpers (8th best at Yale) this year while his 40 points are tied for the most. He probably had his best offensive weekend as a collegian on Feb. 25-26 when he hit the net three times against Colgate/Cornell combined. Miller (Bloomfield Hills, Mich.), who is 20th in the nation with 1.25 points per contest, registered the most (34 last year) points by a Yale rookie since Tom Walsh set the bar with 41 in 1984-85. The speedy forward was the 2008-09 USA Junior Player of the Year and 2007 Michigan High School Mr. Hockey. Last winter, he was second among conference rookies with one point per game, which also put him fourth in the country for newcomers. He ranked eighth in Division I last year with .85 assists per outing.
WHALE OF A TIME
The Whale (Ingalls Rink) has been a tough place for visitors this season. Yale, which enjoyed its first undefeated (15-0-1, only Division I team to do that this year) regular season at Ingalls, finished 17-1-1 at home. The Elis never won that many games in a season at New Haven. Yale last went unbeaten at New Haven in 1928-29. The Bulldogs are 40-10-3 over the last three seasons at the Whale and 12-10-3 in home ECAC playoff games all time.
Despite having close to 9,000 in attendance last weekend, Yale's streak of home sellouts ended at 12. The largest crowd was 3,314 on Saturday night though the building looked close to capacity (3,500) all three nights.
ENGINE NO. 9
Junior F Brian O'Neill (99gp, 46-65-111), who had three points last weekend, leads the Blue with 18 goals and 40 points. That includes a career-high three goals at Clarkson on Feb. 12. O'Neill ranks 20th nationally with .56 goals per game and 1.25 points. O'Neill began 2010-11 with a 3-2-5 weekend in the two wins including 2-1-3 and the GWG against Dartmouth on Oct. 30. Last winter he led the Elis with 29 assists and 45 points while ranking seventh in the country with 1.32 PPG. O'Neill (Yardley, Pa.), who was voted "most humorous" by his teammates, made the 2008-09 CHN (national) and ECAC Hockey All-Rookie teams after going 12-14-26 in 2008-09.
A year after four goalies shared the Yale net, Ryan Rondeau (Carvel, AB) has started 30 of the 32 games and has been named ECAC Hockey MLX Skates Goalie of the Week three times this year. He tied Alec Richards' (2008-09) school record with his fourth shutout of the year (Colgate, Game 3). The three other blankings include Harvard (season-high 34 saves), Union and Vermont. Rondeau had a 141:29 scoreless streak and consecutive shutouts (first time for a Yalie since 1998) in December. His 24 wins this year are also a school record. He ranks second in GAA (1.87) and third in SP (.928) in Division I. Rondeau's career-high is 40 saves at Princeton in 2009. The senior, who owns a 29-9-1 career record, has been in net for seven wins over ranked teams including a 3-2 decision with North Dakota at the 2010 NCAA Northeast Regional semifinal.
Denny Kearney (Hanover, NH), who shares the career games played (134) record with Jimmy Martin, is third on the team with 15 goals and fourth with 36 points. His assist total (21) includes 16 that were primary helpers, including all four last weekend against SLU. Kearney notched eight points over the first two games (Brown, Dartmouth on Oct. 29-30) and was ECAC Hockey's Player of the Week. That included his first collegiate hat trick (natural) and a game-winner during the most prolific weekend of his collegiate career. In addition, all four assists were primary ones. Kearney (134 gp, 44-82-126), who was voted by his teammates as the "best dresser" and "most talkative" among the Bulldogs, is Yale's active career assist leader (5th best at Yale) and is eighth in points. However, he may not be the best athlete in his family. His sister, Hannah Kearney, won an Olympic gold medal in mogul skiing at the 2010 Games and is the top ranked American in that event.
LOTS OF LITTLE
Yale senior forward Broc Little (Rindge, N.H.) is second on the team with 17 goals and is third with 39 points. Little, fifth on Yale's career goals list, had his third career hat trick (3-1-4) against Holy Cross on Jan. 2. Twelve of his 22 assists have been primary ones. He was named one of the 20 candidates for the Lowe's Senior CLASS Award in hockey, which honors student-athletes who excel both on and off the ice. Little (126 gp, 70-68-138), who has 12 more points than games played, led the 2009-10 Bulldogs with 27 goals, a Yale record for juniors, while leading all of Division I in goals per game (.79). He was second on the team with 41 points and garnered numerous post-season honors, including RBK Second-Team All-America, first-team All-ECAC, All-Ivy and All-New England. Little, a political science major, has shown the same dedication in the classroom with a 3.1 GPA and three-time ECAC Hockey All-Academic Team status.
WALTER BROWN AWARD
Chris Cahill, Broc Little and Denny Kearney are all among the 15 semifinalists for the 59th annual Walter Brown Award given to the top American born Division I player in New England by the Gridiron Club of Boston each March. A Yale player has never won the award.
Keith Allain '80, Yale's Malcolm G. Chace Head Coach of Hockey, is 97-55-13 as a head coach, including 11-8 in the post season. Only two other Yale hockey head coaches have more wins, and none have reached the 90-win mark faster than Allain. The former Yale goalie has led the Blue to three Ivy League titles, two ECAC regular season championships, three straight 20-win campaigns and a pair of NCAA Tournament appearances. Allain, who played and worked for Tim Taylor at Yale, earned the 2008-09 Tim Taylor Award as the ECAC Hockey Coach of the Year by leading the Elis to the best season in the program's history. A then 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 he was selected. College Hockey News named him 2008-09 national coach of the year. This is Allain's 12th overall year at Yale; he spent four as a student-athlete goalie and three as an assistant coach in the 1980s. Allain, a former NHL (17 years) and Olympics (1992, 2006) assistant, was named the 11th head coach of the Yale men's ice hockey program on April 15, 2006. Allain is the second Yale graduate to take the position and the first since Holcomb York '17 led the Bulldogs from 1930 to 1938 (Lawrence M. Noble '27 coached the Elis from 1928 to 1930). The starting goalie on four Bulldog squads, Allain recorded the second-most (31) wins for a Yale netminder and ranks third at the school with 2,337 career saves. He owns four of the top 10 Yale single-game save totals, including 55 stops in a 7-3 loss at Minnesota on Dec. 28, 1978.
Keith Allain served as head coach of the 2011 U.S. National Junior Team and led the squad to a bronze medal at the International Ice Hockey Federation World Junior Championship in Buffalo, N.Y. The U.S., which won all but its semifinal game, defeated Sweden to take the bronze on Jan. 5. Allain, who helped the U.S. National Junior Team win a second straight medal at the IIHF World Junior Championship for the first time, owns a 13-4-2 overall record as a head coach in the event, giving him the top winning percentage (.736) of any U.S. head coach to have served on multiple teams. Allain was joined on the U.S. team by Yale's hockey strength & conditioning coach Joe Maher. Kyle Wallack, Yale's fifth-year assistant who is in his first season as associate head coach, served as Yale's head coach in Allain's absence.
Yale is 3-2 vs. ranked teams this year. The Elis beat Union, RPI and Dartmouth at home while falling to the Dutchmen and Engineers on the road. The Blue is 8-2 vs. teams currently ranked in the uscho.com poll.
HITTING THE NET
The Bulldogs have 136 goals and are No. 1 in the nation with a 4.25 average after 32 games. Yale hit the 100-goal mark after 23 games. The Blue scored 10 against the Crusaders and had seven goals twice, six three times and five on nine occasions this year. Yale led the nation in scoring in 2009-10 and hit the 100 mark in game No. 25. The school record is 160 goals by the 1985-86, a squad that went 20-10 and lost an ECAC semifinal in OT to Cornell at Boston Garden.
Captain Jimmy Martin (St. Louis, Mo.) is a defensive defenseman who has turned himself into a player with offensive potential. Martin, whose five goals are a career-high, ranks 32nd among Division I blueliners with .62 points per game. He now has 11 goals, including a career-best two in game one of the ECAC Quarterfinals, and 55 career points which rank ninth at Yale. Martin, who attended three different high schools in three states before coming to New Haven, is a political science major who helped the Des Moines Buccaneers make it to the 2007 USHL final four.
A pair of experienced sophomores joins Ryan Rondeau in the net mix. Jeff Malcolm (12 gp, 4.02, .837, 6-4-0) made 16 saves in the 7-4 win over Brown on Oct. 29 before stopping 25 shots in a 4-3 loss at Air Force. The Lethbridge, AB, native has allowed eight goals, including six on the power play and two with a 5-on-3 advantage. Alta Loma, Calif., resident Nick Maricic (16 gp, 2.89, .888, 7-4-2) played the last period against Holy Cross (5 saves) and some of the third at RPI. Maricic has not had a start this winter.
Three seniors, two juniors and a sophomore comprise the typical Yale defensive lineup this season. These six players, who have 15 goals between them in 2010-11, have a combined 545 career games played. Two seniors with 34 points combined this winter, Jimmy Martin and Mike Matczak (Sewell, N.J.), have produced nine goals this season.
Chris Cahill (North Andover, Mass.) is enjoying his best collegiate season on offense with a career-high 13 goals and 31 points, including four different two-goal games and a trio of three-point outings. None of his goals were bigger than the one he scored to win the Feb. 20 game at Princeton with less than two minutes left. Cahill was named ECAC Hockey Player of the Week on Dec. 6 after leading Yale to a pair of wins over nationally ranked teams with three goals and four points. The senior forward is fourth on the team in goals and has career numbers of 29 goals and 72 points in 122 games.
Yale freshman forward Kenny Agostino, named HCA National Rookie of the Month for January (8-4-12), is the first Yale freshman to receive that award. He was ECAC Hockey MLX Skates Rookie of the Week on Jan. 23 (3 goals vs. Clarkson/SLU), becoming the only Bulldog to earn conference rookie honors this season. The former Delbarton School star had a goal and three assists before the holiday break, and has nine goals and 11 assists since. The leading scorer (10-14-24) among Yale freshmen, he ranks ninth nationally among rookies with .89 points per game. Agostino became the first Yale newcomer in 30 years to record five points in one game on Jan. 2. He notched three goals and two assists against Holy Cross and became the school's first freshman to tally five points since former Olympian and NHL star Bob Brooke '83 established the school rookie record against Dartmouth in 1980.
The class of 2014 includes four forwards and one defenseman. All five competed in the Northeast during 2009-10. Three of the new Elis played in the juniors (Eastern, North Atlantic) last winter while two came to Yale from New England prep schools. F Clinton Bourbonais (Colchester, Conn.), F Kenny Agostino (Flanders, N.J.) and F Jesse Root (Pittsburgh, Pa.) have all found the net this season. D Gus Young (Dedham, Mass.), who has been fighting injuries, has an assist in three games played, while F Brad Peltz (Mount Kisco, N.Y.) is looking for his first regular season action. Agostino (2), Root and Peltz combined for four of Yale's five goals in the Dec. 29 win over the Russian Red Stars. Agostino tied a school rookie record with five (3-2) points against Holy Cross.
The Yale roster includes players from 12 different states and three provinces. Illinois, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania are represented twice each while six hail from Alberta, including a Calgary pair.
FROM WHENCE THEY CAME
Northeast prep schools and the United States Hockey League each contributed nine players to the Bulldog roster. Six former British Columbia Hockey League skaters are at Yale while the Atlantic Junior Hockey League has a pair. One Eli played in the Eastern Junior Hockey League and another came from a private school.
The Bulldogs have outshot 29 of 32 opponents (by 309 combined) this year after having the advantage in 26 of the 34 games last year. Vermont (32-30), Union (34-30) and Princeton (40-32) are the only squads to outshoot the Blue this season. Vermont was the only team to outshoot the Blue at Ingalls.
After opening the season with five straight wins, the Blue stumbled on Nov. 14 at Air Force before bouncing back with a road win at Cornell on Nov. 19. That was the first of 10 straight wins that carried through to the Jan. 15 victory over Brown at Ingalls. Division I's longest win streak this year came to an end the next day at Brown.
Yale's streak of 57 straight ECAC games without consecutive losses came to an end during the Union/RPI trip in late January.
A CLASS OF ITS OWN
The Class of 2011 became the winningest in Yale men's hockey history after beating Holy Cross on Jan. 2. The current seniors have amassed 86 victories, surpassing the total (72) reached by the Class of 2010. In addition, the Class of 2011 is the first at Yale to have four winning seasons since the Class of 1954.
Eight members of the senior class have accounted for 62 goals. The juniors (6) have hit the net 41 times. Yale sophomores (4) have tallied 17 goals, while the freshmen (4) have added 16.
Yale had four shorthanded goals last year and led the nation with nine the year before. The Bulldogs' first goal of 2010-11 was shorthanded by Broc Little, the school's career leader with seven, but the team went 15 games without another. That's when Chris Cahill hit the net down a man against Clarkson at home. The Elis tripled their season output on the Quinnipiac-Princeton road trip with shorthanders by Kevin Limbert, Denny Kearney, Andrew Miller and Charles Brockett.
Yale will wear its home white jerseys this weekend as the top seed… Six of Yale's 12 goals last weekend came in the second frame… The Elis went 3-2 vs. SLU this year… All four ECAC quarterfinal series went to a game three… Junior forwards Kevin Limbert (8-10-18) and Chad Ziegler (7-7-14) are enjoying career-best offensive seasons… Yale has 43 power play goals compared to 26 by opponents… Two NHL draftees have skated for the Bulldogs this winter: Kenny Agostino (Pittsburgh) and Gus Young (Colorado).
On Sunday, the Elis find out where and with whom the NCAA Selection Committee has placed them. The selection show is 11:30 a.m. on ESPN2.
BULLDOGS IN THE PROS
This season, for the first time ever, two former Yale players skated on the same National Hockey League team. Chris Higgins '05 and Joe Callahan '05 have been on the Florida Panthers' roster at times. They played in the same game again on Feb. 13 and Higgins had a goal that night against the Sharks. In other alumni news, Mark Arcobello '10 was named MVP of January's ECHL All-Star Game after netting three goals. Fourteen former Yale players are skating professionally this winter: Sean Backman '10 (Texas Stars, AHL, 46 GP, 6-10-16 ), Ryan Donald '10 (Reading Royals, ECHL), Mark Arcobello '10 (Oklahoma City Barons, AHL), Thomas Dignard '10 (Tulsa Oilers, CHL), Alec Richards '09 (Rockford Icehogs, AHL, 78 GA, 2 SO, 2.63, 11-18-1, .906), Brennan Turner '09 (Binghamton Senators, AHL), David Meckler '09 (Manchester Monarchs, AHL), Matt Cohen '07 (Hamburg Freezers, DEL), Brad Mills '07 (New Jersey Devils, NHL; Albany Devils, AHL), Chris Higgins '05 (Florida Panthers, NHL, 45 GP, 10-11-21), Joe Callahan '05 (Florida Panthers, NHL; Rochester Americans, AHL), Stacey Bauman '03 (Tulsa Oilers, CHL), Jeff Hamilton '01 (HIFK Helsinki, FNL), Ray Giroux '98 (Chelyabinsk Traktor, KHL).
YALE HOCKEY BROADCASTS
The pay-per-view Yale home regular season hockey "TV" broadcasts on yalebulldogs.com are a Yale Athletic Department production that employs students to produce, shoot and broadcast most of the action. Sam Dorward '13 is the producer and Joel Oblizalo '12 does the camera work. Evan Ellis '11 handles most of the calls for the Elis as well as an interview with Coach Allain.
Yale has been on TV seven times this season. The Dec. 5 game against Union and the Feb. 20 contest at Princeton aired live on ESPNU. The YES Network aired the Feb. 5 Dartmouth game. The Elis have also been on CBS College Sports (at Cornell) and Time Warner Cable (at Colgate, Union and RPI).
The Yale student radio station formerly found on AM-1340 and on wybc.com, is only available via internet this season. WYBC does most of the home contests and a pre-game interview with Coach Allain.
Yale hockey celebrated the re-dedication of Ingalls Rink (3,500 capacity) on Jan. 16, 2010, with ceremonies on and off the ice. The rink built in 1958 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 for the building nicknamed the Yale Whale because of its humpback-shaped roof.
NCAAS BACK AT BRIDGEPORT
Yale and Fairfield hosted the 2009 East Regional in Bridgeport at Webster Bank's Arena at Harbor Yard, and the Bulldogs were one of the four teams to participate. The 2011 and 2012 East Regionals are also slated for the Yard. This coming NCAA tourney is March 25-26. Game times on the 25th are 3 and 6:30 with a 6:30 p.m. championship contest on the 26th.
Filed by Steve Conn, Yale Sports Publicity Director