Yale, Harvard in ECAC Quarterfinal Series

(photo by Don Clark, Yale Sports Publicity)
(photo by Don Clark, Yale Sports Publicity)


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NEW HAVEN, Conn. –  The Yale men's hockey team, 5-1-1 over its last seven games, has a second straight rivalry playoff series this weekend at Boston. The Bulldogs, coming off a first-round ECAC series win over Princeton at the Whale, take on Harvard (10-8-11) in this week's conference quarterfinal, best-of-three series at  Bright Hockey Center.  The first puck is dropped Friday at 7, and all the action can be seen live on America One.

The winner of this series advances to next weekend's conference championships at Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City. Yale, the No. 6 seed and two-time tournament champion, took home the trophy at Atlantic City last March, its second in three years.  No. 3 Harvard last advanced to the championship weekend in 2006 and beat Cornell in the title game. The Crimson have captured eight ECAC Tournament titles overall.

The team that advances from Boston this weekend keeps its NCAA Tournament hopes alive. Based on the power rankings alone (Harvard 21st, Yale  not listed), neither squad has a shot at an at large invitation.

There have been 232 meetings, 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 teams split this year's regular season encounters with the home teams winning.  Harvard won 4-3 at Boston on Jan. 27, Yale took a 7-1 decision at New Haven on Feb. 18. Yale has taken five of the last seven, but Harvard leads the overall series, 136-78-18.

Eight different Bulldogs scored against Harvard this year. Kenny Agostino and Kevin Limbert were the only skaters with two as Yale outscored the Crimson 10-5 in two games. The Blue also had the edge in shots (76-61) while scoring three times on 12 power plays (Harvard 1/8). Jeff Malcolm (31 saves) was in net at Boston, Nick Maricic (25) had the win at home.

In last week's first-round series, Yale opened with a 4-2 win before falling 5-4 in OT on Saturday night. The Elis won the decisive game 7-3 on Sunday. The Bulldogs outshot the Tigers 117-88 and went six for 18 with the man advantage (Princeton was 3-20). Nine different Yalies found the net including Antoine Laganiere (5 goals) and Brian O'Neill (2-3-5), while Anthony Day had two goals and Kenny Agostino pitched in four assists.

Harvard earned a bye last week and home ice this week by sweeping St. Lawrence and Clarkson at home on the final weekend of the regular season. The Crimson erased a 2-0 deficit with three straight goals to beat the Golden Knights on the final night. Sophomore Raphael Girard (2.39, .922) stopped 27 of 29 shots to earn the win in net while David Valek notched the last two goals. Girard made 31 saves the night before against SLU. Alex Killorn leads the Cantabs with 18 goals and 36 points, while freshman Steve Michalek (3.19, .894) has most of the action between the pipes.

The Blue had one SHG (Chad Ziegler Jan. 7) through the first 28 games of the season. Yale has three (Jesse Root 2, Antoine Laganiere)shorthanders over the last four contests. Three of the four this season have come against Princeton… Other than the goalies, Yale went with the same lineup all three nights last weekend…  Six seniors got a victory in their final game at the Whale on March 4... The Elis have played 10 one-goal games this season and have just two victories in those contests. Three of the losses were in overtime (two on power-play goals, at Clarkson/vs. SLU), where the Blue is 1-3-2 this year.

Yale has outshot opponents by 158 (35-30 average) this season while having 23 more goals. The Elis have had the edge in shots in 11 of the last 13 games.  Yale's most shots on goal (53) this year came in a 7-6 loss to Sacred Heart.

Yale is 7-2 when getting two or more power-play goals and has a man-advantage unit that ranks fourth in Division I at 24.4 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 (3-2 L) and then reeled off another eight-game streak. The current streak is at three (6 goals combined).

Yale's captain, Brian O'Neill (135 gp, 69-93-162) is piling up the awards while moving toward the top of the school's career scoring records. O'Neill, the 2011-12 Ivy League Player of the Year (Yale's 2nd in 3 years), was also named ECAC Hockey Player of the Month for both January (8-6-14) and February (6-9-15). O'Neill, who leads the squad with 21 goals and 45 points, is second (Jack Connolly, UMD, 31) among active Division I players with 27 more points than career games played. He 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 second in points, second in assists and sixth in goals on the school's career list. O'Neill ranks eighth in the nation and second in the ECAC (.66) in goals per game, he is sixth (1.41) 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.

Junior F Andrew Miller (101 gp, 24-89-113) ranks seventh in Division I with .87 assists per game and is 30th in points (1.10). He is one of college hockey's premier  offensive catalysts. Miller, not known for his goal scoring, leads the team with 27 assists (more than half primary) and is fifth 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 was that 22 of his 33 assists were primary. 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 sophomore forward Kenny Agostino (Flanders, NJ) is one of the hottest Bulldogs over the last five weeks with five goals and 15 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 13-20-33. His best game this year was 2-2-4 against both UConn and Harvard at Ingalls. 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 (11-14-25), 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.

Junior F Antoine Laganiere (Ile Cadieux, Que.) enjoyed his first collegiate hat trick in game three of the Princeton series. He scored shorthanded, on the power play and even-strength to get the school's first post-season hat trick since Mark Arcobello had three on March 28, 2010, against Boston College in the NCAA regional final. He also had Yale's best weekend with five goals over three games, which earned him his first ECAC Hockey Player of the Week honor. Laganiere, the tallest Yale player at 6-foot-4, has elevated his game each season as a Bulldog. He has a career-best 17-13-30 this season, including eight goals in the last six games.

Junior Nick Maricic (Alta Loma, Calif.) helped the Blue go 4-1-1 through last Saturday before being replaced on Sunday night.  He was in net for the 3-0-1 run to close the regular season and stopped 66 of 70 shots the final weekend on the road. The weekend before against Dartmouth and Harvard he saved 52 of 56 shots and held opponents scoreless on 10 of 11 advantages. Maricic (2.95, .903, 5-3-1), who has wins over Dartmouth (twice), Harvard and Princeton (twice), had a career-high 40 saves in the 2-2 tie at Quinnipiac on Feb. 25.   

Junior Jeff Malcolm (2.71, .910, 10-11-2), the Yale goalie with the most minutes and saves this winter, got the win in the Princeton series finale with 27 saves. 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.  

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 4-16-20, while his .62 points per game rank 31st among Division I defensemen. Senior Kevin Peel (Onoway, Alb.) has 5-8-13 and is 10th on the school's career scoring list for defensemen with 50 points. Classmate Nick Jaskowiak (Bloomington, Minn.) is third with 3-10-13. Junior Colin Dueck (Calgary, Alb.) also has chipped in 13 points. Sophomore Gus Young (Dedham, Mass.), the only Bulldog from Massachusetts, has 3-9-12. Rookies Matt Killian (Basking Ridge, NJ), who has 1-5-6, and Bennett Carroccio (Armonk, NY) have also made contributions.   

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.

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 have unique majors among teammates: Clinton Bourbonais (biomechanical engineering), Kevin Limbert (mechanical engineering), Nick Maricic (philosophy) and Colin Dueck (psychology).

The 2012 NCAA East Regional , co-hosted by Yale and Fairfield, takes place March 23-24 at Webster Bank Arena in Bridgeport. The semifinals begin at 3 p.m. that Friday, the championship is 6:30 p.m. Saturday. 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.  
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 (10-7 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 50-16-3 over the last four seasons at the Whale and 14-11-3 in home ECAC playoff games all time.

There are 23 former Yale hockey players skating professionally, including eight from the class of 2011. Broc Little has 35-31-64 in 66 games in Sweden. Chris Higgins has 12-20-32 in 55 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)

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).

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.

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 Publcity Director