March 2, 2012

Tigers, Bulldogs in Round One This Weekend

OLD FASHIONED RIVALRY IN SERIES AT WHALE

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NEW HAVEN, Conn. – The Yale men's hockey team, hosting ECAC Hockey Tournament games for a fifth straight year, battles Princeton this weekend in a best-of-three, first-round series at Ingalls Rink. The No. 6 seeded Bulldogs (13-13-3, 10-10-2) and Tigers (No. 11, 8-14-7, 6-12-4), hoping to advance to the quarterfinals and then the championship weekend at Atlantic City, square off on Friday and Saturday with a Sunday night meeting if needed. All puck drops are scheduled for 7 p.m. Tickets are available for all games, which are streamed live on America One.

ECAC
Yale is hosting one of the four first-round playoff series this weekend. The others are No. 12 Brown at No. 5 Quinnipiac, No. 10 Rensselaer at No. 7 Clarkson and No. 9 Dartmouth at No. 8 St. Lawrence. The winners advance to the best-of-three quarterfinals, which will be hosted by Union (1) , Cornell (2), Harvard (3) and Colgate (4). Four schools advance to the March 16-17 ECAC Champiobnship weekend at Atlantic City.

YALE IN ECAC PLAYOFFS
The Blue has played 71 ECAC Playoff contests since the first in 1967 and are 22-44-5 overall. Yale, winners of nine of its last dozen conference playoff games, went 4-1 on the way to a tournament title in 2011. The Elis have two (2009) ECAC Tournament Championships. Yale has advanced 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 titles at Albany (2009) and Atlantic City (2011).

VS PRINCETON
The Elis went 2-0-1 against the Tigers during this regular season. The teams skated to a 2-2 tie on opening night this season in a non-league game before the Blue won 6-2 at New Haven last month. Last week at Old Nassau, the Elis took a 5-2 decision. Yale outshot Princeton in all three games this year and scored four power-play goals while allowing just one by the Tigers. Brian O'Neill and Kenny Agostino each had three goals for the Bulldogs. Jeff Malcolm was in goal for the tie and the home win, while Nick Maricic was in the net last week at New Jersey. Yale now leads the series 130-101-9 heading into the 251st contest.

TIGERS
Princeton finished last weekend with a 2-2 OT tie against Brown at home. Sophomore F Andrew Calof, who scored both goals against Yale, leads the Tigers with 13 goals and 25 points. Mike Condon (.919, 2.81) was in net in two of the three games against Yale, Sean Bonar (.901, 2.94) had one of the games.

LAST WEEKEND
Yale outscored last week's opponents 7-4 while having the edge in shots, 73-70. The Blue scored once on eight advantages while killing off eight of 10 power plays.

BULLDOGS GET BY TIGERS
Brian O'Neill had a hand on four of his squad's five goals in the Bulldogs' 5-2 win at Princeton last Friday. The Elis broke open a 2-2 game in the second period with three straight goals while outshooting the Tigers 43-28. Antoine Laganiere hit the net twice, while Gus Young (2 points) and Anthony Day (empty-netter) also scored. Yale's Nick Maricic stopped 26 of 27 shots and all four Princeton advantages.

YALE, BOBCATS IN OT DRAW
Jesse Root had a career-high two goals and Nick Maricic had a career-best 40 saves in last Saturday's 2-2 OT tie at Quinnipiac to end the regular season. The Bobcats scored both times with the man-advantage, while Yale notched a shorthander.


FEBRUARY
Yale, which went 5-3-1 in February and scored 31 goals in the nine games, had some outstanding offensive performances from a Bulldog trio. Brian O'Neill, a candidate for conference player of the month, had six goals and 15 points. Kenny Agostino (5-6-11) and Antoine Laganiere (5-3-8) also had a good month.

BULLDOG BITES
Senior F Charles Brockett was named an ECAC Student-Athlete of the Year finalist…Yale is 2-3 against ranked teams this year… One of Jesse Root's two goals was a shorthander, the first man-down goal for Yale this year… Freshman defenseman Alex Ward was in the lineup for the first time this year at Quinnipiac. He replaced classmate Bennett Carraccio from Friday's pairings. The other change was Trent Ruffolo for Nicholas Weberg at forward… Yale has a home playoff series for the fifth straight year. This is the first time in four years that it won't include a first-round bye.

ONE-GOAL GAMES
The Elis have played nine one-goal games this season and have just two victories in those contests. Two of the losses were in overtime (both on power-play goals, at Clarkson/vs. SLU) where the Blue is 1-2-2 this year.

SHOTS
Yale has outshot opponents by 129 (34-30 average) this season while having 18 more goals. The Elis have had the edge in shots in eight of the last 10 games.  Yale's most shots on goal (53) in a game this year came in a 7-6 loss to Sacred Heart.

ADVANTAGE
Yale is 6-1 when getting two or more power-play goals and has a man-advantage unit that ranks eighth in Division I at 23.2 percent efficiency. Yale was among the top three in Division I for most of the first half of the season. The Elis hit the net with the advantage in each of the first eight games, got stopped against Boston College and then reeled off another eight-game streak. However, the Blue had just four PPGs over eight outings heading into the Feb. 17-18 weekend, and now have seven over the last four games.

NATIONAL RANKS
Yale ranks eighth in scoring offense (3.4) and 33rd in defense (2.8) in Division I. The Bulldog penalty-kill is fifth (86.5), while the Elis are 29th in penalty minutes (13.3). Yale's power play is eighth at 23.2.

CAPTAIN O'NEILL
Yale's captain, Brian O'Neill (132 gp, 67-90-157) had six goals and 15 points in February.  He was named ECAC Hockey Player of the Month for January after netting eight goals and 14 points in nine games. O'Neill, who leads the squad with 19 goals and 40 points, continues to climb over some old Bulldogs and former NHL players on the school's career stats list. Yale's Hobey Baker Candidate is now fourth in points, fourth in assists and seventh in goals on the school's career list. O'Neill ranks sixth in the nation and second in the ECAC (.68) in goals per game, he is eighth (1.38) 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 three 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 previous high of three goals at Clarkson on Feb. 12, 2011. He ranked 15th nationally with 1.29 points per game last year. 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.

MILLER
Junior F Andrew Miller (98 gp, 23-87-110) ranks seventh in Division I with .89 assists per game and is 29th in points (1.11). He is one of college hockey's premier  offensive catalysts. Miller, not known for his goal scoring, leads the team with 25 helpers and is sixth 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 (4th in the nation with .97 assists per game). 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.

AGOSTINO
Yale sophomore forward Kenny Agostino (Flanders, NJ) was one of the hottest Bulldogs over the last month with five goals and 11 points. He earned ECAC Player of the Week honors for his three-goal Feb. 17-18 weekend. Agostino, who came within a step of making the U.S. National Junior Team this winter, has a rare accomplishment this season: He scored goals in conseutive games with under 35 seconds left in regulation, one for a win and another to send it to overtime. Agostino beat Dartmouth at Hanover with 34.8 ticks remaining, followed by a GTG against SLU with 34.2 left at home. He is the top scoring Eli sophomore with 13-16-29. His best game this year was 2-2-4 vs. UConn and at home against Harvard. 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.

LAGANIERE
Junior F Antoine Laganiere (Ile Cadieux, Que.), the tallest Yale player at 6-foot-4, has elevated his game each season as a Bulldog. He has a career-best 12-13-25 this season, including two goals in the last three games. Laganiere finished the ECAC regular season with 10 goals and 20 points in 22 games.

MARICIC
Junior Nick Maricic (Alta Loma, Calif.), who has been in goal for the 3-0-1 run to close the regular season, stopped 66 of 70 shots last week. The weekend before against Dartmouth and Harvard he saved 52 of 56 shots and held opponents scoreless on 10 of 11 advantages. Maricic (2.80, .909, 4-2-1), who has wins over Dartmouth (twice), Harvard and Princeton, had a career-high 40 saves in the 2-2 tie at Quinnipiac on Feb. 25.   

MALCOLM
Junior Jeff Malcolm (2.70, .911, 9-11-2), the Yale goalie with the most minutes and saves this winter, 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.  

WILSON
Freshman Connor Wilson (Cary, NC) made his collegiate regular reason debut by playing the last 34 minutes of the Feb. 11 Cornell game. Wilson made seven saves and allowed one goal at Ithaca. He stopped 11 of 12 shots in one period of work in the exhibition against the Russian Red Stars on Dec. 28.

BLUE LINE
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 4-14-18, while his .62 points per game rank 31st among Division I defensemen. Senior Kevin Peel (Onoway, Alb.) has 4-7-11 and is 10th on the school's career scoirng list for defensemen with 48 points. Classmate Nick Jaskowiak (Bloomington, Minn.) is third with 2-9-11. Junior Colin Dueck (Calgary, Alb.) has chipped in nine points. Sophomore Gus Young (Dedham, Mass.), who had a goal and an assist at Princeton has 3-7-10. Rookies Matt Killian (Basking Ridge, NJ), who has 1-5-6, and Bennett Carroccio (Armonk, NY) have also made contributions.   

LOOKING AHEAD
Either Yale or Princeton advances to next weekend's quarterfinal series that would take place at one of the top four seeds.

ACCOMPLISHED LEADERS
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

SURVEY SAYS
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)

GEOGRAPHIC BALANCE
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.

FROM WHENCE THEY CAME
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.

POLITICAL BULLDOGS
Of the 18 Yale players who have decided on majors, 12 of them will earn degrees in political science. There are a pair of economics majors. Four Elis don't have any teammates sharing majors: Clinton Bourbonais (biomechanical engineering), Kevin Limbert (mechanical engineering), Nick Maricic (philosophy) and Colin Dueck (psychology).

HARBOR YARD
The 2012 NCAA East Regional , co-hosted by Yale and Fairfield, takes place March 23-24 at Webster Bank Arena in Bridgeport. The Bulldogs and Stags co-hosted the 2009 and 2011 East Regional Tournaments in Bridgeport, so this will be the third such arrangement. The Yale hockey team was a participant in the first two regionals.  
 
INGALLS
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.

WHALE OF A TIME
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 (8-6 this year). That was the most wins ever in New Haven for a Yale team (The Blue went unbeaten at New Haven in 1928-29). The Bulldogs are 48-15-3 over the last three-plus seasons at the Whale and 12-10-3 in home ECAC playoff games all time.

BULLDOGS IN THE PROS
There are 23 former Yale hockey players skating professionally, including eight from the class of 2011. Broc Little has 23-24-47 in 39 games in Sweden. Chris Higgins has 11-20-31 in 52 gp for Vancouver, while Brad Mills has played 27 games for the NJ Devils. 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)

CURRENT NHL CONNECTIONS
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).

YALE HOCKEY BROADCASTS
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.

ATTENTION MEDIA
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 Publicity Director

 

Yale-Princeton image by Sam Rubin '95

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