Elis Head To Boston, Hanover

Kevin Limbert. (photo by Sam Rubin '95, Yale Sports Publicity)
Kevin Limbert. (photo by Sam Rubin '95, Yale Sports Publicity)


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NEW HAVEN, Conn. - The Yale men's hockey team has an opportunity to take a leap in the ECAC Hockey standings with a key road trip to Boston and Hanover this weekend. The Bulldogs are at Bright Hockey Center to face Harvard (4-6-8, 3-4-6) on Friday for a 7:40 p.m. faceoff that airs live on NBC Sports Network (DirecTV 603, Dish Network 151, most cable companies). Saturday night at 7:00 the Blue is at Thompson Arena to take on Dartmouth (8-8-2, 5-5-1). Yale, currently tied for ninth place in the ECAC standings with Dartmouth, is a point from sixth and two shy of the fourth spot.

They've played 230 times including games in Boston, Buffalo, Detroit, Philadelphia, New York City, Brooklyn, Lake Placid and New Haven. The first meeting was Feb. 26, 1900, in New York, a 5-4 Yale victory. The Elis won both games last year, 4-2 at Boston and 1-0 at New Haven. Yale has taken three consecutive and four of the last five, but Harvard leads the overall series, 135-77-18. Kenny Agostino and Chad Ziegler were among the four Bulldogs who scored at Boston last January as the Blue had a 39-31 edge in shots. Yale may have taken two of the last three meetings at Bright Hockey Center, but the Crimson has dominated (29-4-3) its rival at home since that building opened.

Dartmouth won the first encounter on Jan. 16, 1907. The Bulldogs and Big Green are heading into the 199th meeting with Yale leading 102-84-12. The Elis have taken the last six including a 2-1 win in a non-conference matchup earlier this year at Thompson Arena. Jeff Malcolm stopped 29 of 30 shots and got goals from Chad Ziegler and Antoine Laganiere in late October.

The Yale power play, which had been ranked as high as No. 2 in the nation this month, was blanked on nine chances as the Bulldogs fell to No. 12 Union (3-1) and RPI (2-1) at New Haven last weekend. Senior forward Kevin Limbert and classmate defenseman Kevin Peel had the home team's goals. Junior Nick Maricic made 33 saves against the Dutchmen, while classmate Jeff Malcolm stopped 16 RPI shots the next night.

A night after attempting 66 shots with just 30 reaching the target against Union, Yale attempted 90 shots against RPI and got 46 of them on goal. The Bulldogs were outshot 36-30 on Friday but had a 46-18 advantage on Saturday. This season, the Elis have outshot opponents 10 times and are 5-3-2 in those contests.

Harvard, with the nation's best (33 percent) power play, is 0-3-5 in its last eight games and is coming off a pair of impressive 2-2 ties at Colgate and Cornell.

Dartmouth is coming off a 4-3 loss at Cornell and a 5-4 win at Colgate, both in OT. The Big Green, which scored seven times last weekend but is tied with Brown for the fewest goals scored by ECAC teams, got a goal from Doug Jones midway through the extra session at Hamilton to take two points back to Hanover.

It has been four seasons since a Bulldog missed one of these. Kenny Agostino had his penalty shot against Union stopped by a good leg save. It was the last Yale missed PS since Broc Little '11 came up short on Dec. 30, 2008, against Minnesota State.

Yale ranks 10th in scoring offense (3.26) and 36th in defense (2.84) in division I. The Bulldog penalty-kill is sixth (87.5) in the country, and the Elis are the 11th least penalized team. The Elis' power play unit is seventh (23.6).

Junior Jeff Malcolm started every game this season until last Friday against Union and has all eight wins. He had a shutout streak of three (Colgate, RPI, Union) games and 226:39 minutes (parts of 5 games) in November and was named ECAC Hockey Goalie of the Week after stopping all 72 shots in wins at No. 8 Union and RPI on Nov. 11-12. The three straight SHOs tied the school record set by Ryan Rondeau '11 last winter. His scoreless streak fell short of the 240:53 by Rondeau. His career record is 14-12-2 with a 2.83 GAA and three shutouts.  

Junior F Andrew Miller (88 gp, 21-80-101) went over the 100-point mark for his career last weekend with two assists. He currently ranks fifth in Division I with 1.0 assists per game and is 20th in points (1.22). He is one of college hockey's premier  offensive catalysts. Miller, not known for his goal scoring, leads the team with 18 helpers and is 5th on the school's career list. He is best at creating space, setting up teammates and winning draws. Miller, a 2010-11 first-team All-ECAC pick, was voted "best passer" by his teammates the last two seasons while he had 12-33-45 in 2010-11. He was No. 4 in the nation with .97 assists per game (tops in ECAC). More impressive is that 22 of his 33 assists were primary ones. His team-high 33 helpers (2nd best at Yale and five behind Mark Kaufmann '93) were a sophomore school record while 45 points were second on the team. 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.), was 12th in the nation with 1.29 points per contest and registered the most (34 as a freshman) 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. In 2009-10 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 that year with .85 assists per outing.

Yale's captain, Brian O'Neill (122 gp, 60-79-139), leads the squad with 12 goals and 22 points. He is 10th on Yale's career goals chart and sixth in points. O'Neill ranks 12th (.63) in goals per game and 24th (1.16) in points in the nation this year. He was a 2010-11 first-team All-ECAC selection and has led the team in scoring the last two seasons. O'Neill had a career-high four goals (most by a Bulldog since 2003) this year against Bentley. His four tallies against the Falcons on Jan. 1, 2012, were on consecutive scores. That eclipsed his hat trick at Clarkson on Feb. 12, 2011. He ranked 15th nationally with 1.29 points per game last year. He 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. The year before, he led the Elis with 29 assists and 45 points while ranking seventh in the country with 1.32 PPG. O'Neill (Yardley, Pa.) made the 2008-09 CHN and ECAC Hockey All-Rookie teams after going 12-14-26.

Junior Nick Maricic (Alta Loma, Calif.) got his first start of the year on Jan. 20 against Union and stopped 33 shots in the 3-1 loss. Maricic owns a 2.90 career GAA and an .888 SP. Freshman Connor Wilson (Cary, NC) is looking for his first opportunity. He stopped 11 of 12 shots in one period of work against the exhibition against the Russian Red Stars on Dec. 28.

There are seven defensemen on the Yale roster: two seniors, a junior, a sophomore and three freshmen. Newcomer Tommy Fallen ( Plymouth, Minn.) leads the Yale blueliners with three goals and 14 points (.74 points, 22nd among Division I defensemen). Senior Kevin Peel (Onoway, Alb.) is second with three goals and seven points, followed by Matt Killian (Basking Ridge, NJ) with 1-4-5. Senior Nick Jaskowiak (Bloomington, Minn.), junior Colin Dueck (Calgary, Alb.) and sophomore Gus Young (Dedham, Mass.) are the other regulars on defense.   

Yale sophomore forward Kenny Agostino (Flanders, NJ), who came within a step of making the U.S. National Junior Team this winter, is the top scoring Eli sophomore with 6-9-15. His best game this year was 2-2-4 vs. UConn. Agostino became the first Yale newcomer in 30 years to record five points in one game on Jan. 2, 2011. 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. Yale's rookie of the year last winter after scoring 11 goals and 25 points, Agostino was the HCA National Rookie of the Month for January (8-4-12), the first Bulldog to receive that award. He was ECAC Hockey Rookie of the Week on Jan. 23 (3 goals vs. Clarkson/SLU), becoming the only Bulldog to earn conference rookie honors in 2010-11. The former Delbarton School star had a goal and three assists before the holiday break, and 10 goals and 11 assists after. He ranked 11th nationally among rookies with .86 points per game.

Senior forward Dan Otto battled injuries for three years that prevented from playing in a regular season game, until this season. He finally cracked the lineup on opening night and played in the first 12 games. Otto lifted his team's spirits to new heights when he scored two goals in a November win at Union. However, on Dec. 8 at UMass, Otto suffered season-ending concussion that has likely ended his career. The Lake Zurich, Ill., native has been around the rink to support his teammates and hopes to finish school next December.

Yale's highs in 2011-12 included four straight wins, three straight shutouts and multiple weeks as a top 10 ranked team. Some of the lows have not been experienced in a number of years. Last weekend was the first time Yale had been swept at home in the ECAC since January 2008. The current three-game skid is the most since that season, while the two goals scored by the Elis combined last weekend were the fewest by a Bulldog team for an ECAC set since February of 2005.
Last Sunday at Ingalls, the team did a "skate with the players" event for kids who wanted to get on the ice with the Bulldogs... Nick Maricic's start last Friday was his first since Feb. 27, 2010, at Quinnipiac... Yale is 7-1-1 when leading after 40 minutes and 1-5-1 when trailing heading into the third... The Elis have scored the first goal in eight of 19 games... The Blue has outscored opponents in the first and third periods but has been outscored by two in second frames... Yale has outshot opponents in every period this year... This Friday marks the second national TV appearance for Yale hockey this season; CBS Sports Network aired the Nov. 4 game with Cornell at New Haven. The Elis are on NBC again on Feb. 17 when Dartmouth comes to Ingalls.

Assistant coach Dan Muse is in his third season season under Keith Allain. He joined the Bulldog staff when C.J. Marottolo left to take the top job at Sacred Heart. Former University of New Hampshire star Eric Lind has been with Allain every season at Yale. There is one new face on the Yale bench this season, Dennis "Red" Gendron, who replaced Kyle Wallack as the Bulldogs' associate head coach. Gendron, an assistant at the University of Massachusetts the last six seasons and a former University of Maine coach from 1990 to 1993, helped the Black Bears win a 1993 NCAA Championship.

The Bulldogs are back at the Whale next weekend to host St. Lawrence and Clarkson in a pair of 7 p.m. games, the second to last home regular-season set.

The current Yale roster is comprised of leaders and scholars. Here are some examples.

22  were captains of hockey teams before coming to New Haven
13 captained another sports team
17 won a scholar-athlete award
14 graduated in top 10 percent of their senior class

The Yale players were surveyed about each other, and here are the results:

Best Passer:              Andrew Miller (Jr, F)
Fastest on Skates:         Brian O'Neill (Sr, F)
Hardest Shot:             Antoine Laganiere (Jr, F)
Best Forechecker:         Chad Ziegler (Sr, F)
Strongest:             Josh Balch (Jr, F)
Most Likely to become a coach:     Josh Balch  
Best Singer:             Colin Dueck (Jr, D)
Most Unique Hobby:         Brian O'Neill (model airplanes)
Best Sense of Humor:         Charles Brockett (Sr, F)
Biggest Appetite:         Charles Brockett
Best Dresser:             Andrew Miller
Want your sister to date:         Anthony Day (Fr, F)
The Yale roster includes players from 13 different states and three provinces. New York and Minnesota are represented by three players from each state while Alberta brings in four players.

The United States Hockey League contributed 10 players to the Bulldog roster. There are four from the British Columbia Hockey League, one from the Atlantic Junior Hockey League and another from the Eastern Junior Hockey League. Ten Yale student-athletes came directly from prep schools.

There are 23 former Yale hockey players skating professionally, including eight from the class of 2011. Here are the Bulldog pros, youngest to oldest:

Chris Cahill '11 (Cincinnati Cyclones, ECHL)
Denny Kearney '11 (Trenton Titans, ECHL)
Broc Little '11 (HockeyAllsvenskan, VIK Västerås HK, Sweden)
Jimmy Martin '11 (Florida Everblades, ECHL)
Brendon Mason '11 (Nybro Vikings, Sweden)
Mike Matczak '11 (Kalamazoo Wings, ECHL)
Ryan Rondeau '11 (Laredo Buck, CHL)
Ken Trentowski '11 (Brooklyn Aviators, FHL)
Sean Backman '10 (Bridgeport Sound Tigers, AHL)
Ryan Donald '10 (Florida Everblades, ECHL)
Mark Arcobello '10 (Oklahoma City Barons, AHL)
Billy Blase '10 (Neuilly-sur-Marne, France)
Tom Dignard (Belfast Giants, EIHL)
Alec Richards '09 (Rockford Icehogs, AHL)
Brennan Turner '09 (Dundee Stars, EIHL)
David Meckler '09 (Manchester Monarchs, AHL)
Blair Yaworski '08 (Utah Grizzlies, ECHL)
Jean-Francois Boucher (Saint-George COOL-FM, LNAH)
Matt Cohen '07 (Fife Flyers, EIHL)
Brad Mills '07 (New Jersey Devils, NHL)
Chris Higgins '05 (Vancouver Canucks, NHL)
Joe Callahan '05 (Hamilton Bulldogs, AHL)
Ray Giroux '98 (ChelyabinskTraktor, KL)

Three players on the current Yale roster have been drafted by NHL teams: Gus Young (Colorado, 7th, 184, 2009); Kenny Agostino (Pittsburgh, 5th, 140, 2010); Brad Peltz (Ottawa, 7th, 190, 2009).

It's not fair to compare recent Yale teams to the 2011-12 Bulldogs, who lost nine standout class of 2011 players. Eight of the graduates are skating professionally. The current squad isn't lacking talent, but nobody re-loads with equal force after losing nine seniors from a championship team. There are seven seniors seeing regular duty, though one of them seeks his first varsity letter. Four of the five sophomores and five of the six juniors have been in almost every game while five freshmen have been needed to fill the largest void.

The Yale men have left a mark on Division I over the last three seasons under Keith Allain '80, the Malcolm G. Chace Head Coach of Hockey. The combined statistics from 2008-09, 2009-10 and 2010-11 make the last three years the best in the history of the sport in New Haven and among the best in the nation over that span.

The Numbers From 2008-11                Accomplishments
Overall Record:            73-25-6 (.729)                Top Winning Percentage in Division I
ECAC Record:            47-14-5 (.749)               Two-time Division I Scoring Leader (2009-10, 2010-11)
Scoring:                405 goals, 104 games (3.89)    Led nation in scoring defense 2010-11
All-Americans:            4                2 ECAC Hockey Tournament Championships (2009, 2011)
All-ECAC:                8                2 ECAC Hockey Regular Season Titles (2008-09, 2009-10)
All-Ivy League:            10                3 NCAA Tournament Appearances
Pay-per-view broadcasts of Yale hockey regular season home games are available on yalebulldogs.com. The Yale Athletic Department production is almost entirely student run: Sam Dorward '13 is the producer; Tom Stokes  '12 and Patrick Ouziel '13 are the cameramen; Evan Ellis '12, the Voice of Yale Hockey, and Max Valenstein '13 are the broadcasters.

Yale and Fairfield hosted the 2009 and 2011 NCAA East Regional Tournaments in Bridgeport at Webster Bank's Arena at Harbor Yard, and the Bulldogs participated in both. The 2012 East Regional is slated for the Yard, which has hosted numerous NCAA events.
Yale hockey celebrated the re-dedication of Ingalls Rink (3,500 capacity) on Jan. 16, 2010. The rink built in 1958 has been modernized  while adding 13,000 square feet of 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 and more. There are new historical displays, concession stands and bathrooms for the building nicknamed the "Whale" because of its humpback-shaped roof.

The Whale (Ingalls Rink) has been a tough place for visitors in recent years. Yale, which enjoyed its first undefeated (15-0-1, only Division I team to do that) regular season at Ingalls last winter, finished 17-1-1 at home (5-5 this year). That is the most wins ever in New Haven for a Yale team (The Blue went unbeaten at New Haven in 1928-29). The Bulldogs are 45-14-3 over the last three-plus seasons at the Whale and 12-10-3 in home ECAC playoff games all time.

Ingalls Rink was sold out for the last 12 games of the 2010-11 regular season and six (Cornell, Colgate, BC, QU, PU, Union) times this year. There are tickets available for the rest of the home campaign, but only G.A. and S.R.O. tickets remain for contests with Harvard and Dartmouth.

Here are some important things to know if you are covering the Bulldogs or just working a game at Ingalls. Interviews: Yale head coach Keith Allain and select players are available on a semi-regular basis each week at Ingalls Rink, typically Thursdays at 2:30 p.m. If you would like to attend these informal media sessions, please contact Sports Publicity Director Steve Conn. Post-game:interviews with Yale personnel are conducted in one of the youth locker rooms at ice level on the home side of the building. Let Steve Conn know who you would like to speak with immediately after the game. Media Gate List: Attendants stationed at the front and back of the rink have a media gate list to check off your name. Parking: The same list is used for PARKING in the garage (entrance off Prospect Street) behind the rink.

filed by Steve Conn, Yale Sports Publicty