Bulldogs, Gophers in Friday's West Regional

Bulldogs, Gophers in Friday's West Regional

Yale Has 3rd Meeting With No. 1


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NEW HAVEN, Conn. – The Yale men's hockey team makes its sixth NCAA Hockey Tournament appearance as the No. 4 seed at the West Regional in Grand Rapids, Mich. The No. 15 Bulldogs (18-12-3) face top seed University of Minnesota (26-8-5), No. 1/2 in the polls, at 2 p.m. EDT on Friday at Van Andel Arena. The contest airs live on ESPNU and on AM-1340 (WYBC). This is the second straight game - the third overall this season - that Yale has faced a No. 1 ranked team.

The other Friday matchup in the West Regional pits No. 2 North Dakota (21-12-7) against No. 3 Niagara (23-9-5) at 5:30 E.S.T. at Van Andel Arena, the home of the American Hockey League Grand Rapids Griffins and the site of the 2009 NCAA West Regional. Friday's winners meet at 4 p.m. on Saturday for the ticket to the 2013 Frozen Four at Pittsburgh. The University of Michigan and the Western Michigan Sports Commission serve as tournament co-hosts.

The Elis plan to arrive on Wednesday afternoon in Grand Rapids. Thursday practice is from 11:30-12:30 with a 12:45 to 1:15 press conference. Yale skates at 8 AM on Friday.

Yale has won three of its eight NCAA Tournament games. The Bulldogs last played an NCAA Tournament game in Michigan in 1998 at Yost Arena on the University of Michigan campus. Yale went to three straight national tournaments from 2009 to 2011. It came within a game of the Frozen Four twice (2010, 2011), losing to the eventual national champion (Boston College, Minnesota-Duluth) both times.

This will be the first post-season meeting ever. The Gophers and Bulldogs have met 19 times since the first contest at Minneapolis in 1934. Yale won the first two games but Minnesota has taken the last seven, including the most recent clash at the 2002 Mariucci (Dodge Holiday) Classic, and leads the series 13-6.

The Bulldogs finished the regular season 16-10-3, including important non-league wins at Denver and Colorado College and a tie at Boston College, and then swept St. Lawrence in the ECAC Quarterfinals at New Haven. It turns out those two wins at Ingalls Rink were crucial. Yale fell to defending champion Union in the conference semifinals before the top-ranked Bobcats beat the Bulldogs in the third-place game at Atlantic City.

Senior F Andrew Miller (137 gp, 40-110-150) is the 115th captain of Yale men's hockey and an All-America candidate with 16-19-35 overall this season. Miller is 20th in Division I with 1.06 points per game including five in the 2013 ECAC Quarterfinals. Miller is 23rd with .48 goals per game. He had a string of 11 straight games with a point end on Feb. 2, while his 19 assists (16 primary) this season helped him become only the second Bulldog to get 100 career helpers. Miller, a first-team All-ECAC pick and the 2012-13 Ivy League Player of the Year, who is sixth on Yale's career points list, is also among a select group of college players who have more points than career games played. He has been ranked among the top 10 in Division I for assists the last three years and was voted "best passer" by his teammates the last three years. Miller, a 2010-11 first-team All-ECAC pick, had 12-33-45 that season and was fourth in the nation in assists. More impressive was that 22 of his 33 assists were primary. The 33 helpers were second best at Yale and a sophomore school record. His best offensive weekend as a collegian came in Feb. 2011 when he hit the net three times vs. Colgate/Cornell. As a freshman, Miller (Bloomfield Hills, Mich.), was 12th in the nation in points and registered the most (34) points by a Yale rookie in 25 years. The speedy forward was the 2008-09 USA Junior Player of the Year and 2007 Michigan High School Mr. Hockey.

Senior Antoine Laganiere (Ile Cadieux, Que.) has more goals (33) than any other Bulldog over the last two seasons and is third on the team with 14 this winter. Only two other players in the conference have more goals than Laganiere over the last two years. He was ECAC Player of the Week after getting 2-3-5 against Harvard/Dartmouth on Jan. 18-19. One of the most improved Bulldogs last year, he had his best campaign with 19 goals and 33 points. Laganiere (115 gp, 45-38-83), a second-team All-Ivy pick this year, got hot when the Blue needed it most; he had nine goals over the final nine games, including his first collegiate hat trick in game three of the Princeton 2012 ECAC playoff series. He scored shorthanded, on the power play and even-strength against the Tigers. He also had Yale's best 2011-12 weekend with five goals over three games, which earned him his first ECAC Hockey Player of the Week honor.
Yale junior forward Kenny Agostino (Flanders, NJ) is an All-America candidate who leads the team with 37 points and is 17th in Division I with 1.12 points per game (19th in assists, .67). Agostino impacted four (1-3-4) of the six goals on the last weekend of the regular season and then had four points in the quarterfinal series against SLU. His four-point road weekend at SLU/Clarkson earned him ECAC Player of the Week. Agostino's biggest goal of the year beat No. 2 Denver in OT on Nov. 23. Agostino, a second-team All-Ivy pick this winter, had 14 goals and 34 points in 2011-12, while he earned ECAC Player of the Week honors for his three-goal, Feb. 17-18 weekend. Agostino (95 gp, 40-56-96) has scored other significant, late goals. Last winter, he scored goals in consecutive games with under 35 seconds left in regulation (win, OT loss). Agostino beat Dartmouth at Hanover with 34.8 ticks remaining, followed by a GTG against SLU with 34.2 left at home. His season-high was 2-2-4 against both UConn and Harvard at Ingalls in 2011-12. Agostino became the first Yale newcomer in 30 years to record five points in one game on Jan. 2, 2011. He notched 3-2-5 against Holy Cross and became the school's first freshman to tally five points in 27 years. Yale's rookie of the year in 2010-11, Agostino had 11 goals and 25 points and 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 among D1 rookies with .86 points per game.

Minnesota, regular season co-champions of the WCHA, are 52-34 in NCAA Tournament play entering its 34th opportunity. The Gophers have won five national titles (1974, 1976, 1979, 2002, 2003) and appeared in 20 Frozen Fours. This year's squad, which includes 15 NHL draft picks and four All-WCHA selections, fell to Colorado College in the conference semifinals at St. Paul, Minn.

Three Bulldogs will skate for the first time in their home state as collegians. Senior Andrew Miller (Bloomfield Hills), junior Clinton Bourbonais (Dexter) and freshman Ryan Obuchowski (West Bloomfield) are Yale's Great Lakes State representatives. Miller was the 2007 Michigan High School Mr. Hockey playing for Cranbrook Kingswood. Bourbonais was two-time all-state for Orchard Lake St. Mary's Prep, while Obuchowski was an all-state pick at Catholic Central.

Sophomore forward Nicholas Weberg (Oslo, Norway) has missed all of Yale's post-season games with an injury, but he can still tell his current teammates about two former Shattuck St. Mary's teammates, Mike Reilly and Erik Haula. Yale freshman blueliner Mitch Witek (Downers Grove, Ill.) and sophomore forward Anthony Day (Buffalo, N.Y.) skated with UM's A.J. Michaelson in Waterloo (USHL), while rookie forward Stu Wilson (Pittsford, N.Y) and Tommy Fallen played with Gopher Sam Warning at Cedar Rapids. The only Minnesota native on the Yale roster is Fallen (Plymouth), who skated with or against (8/15) all of the 23 (27 on roster) Minnesota natives on the Gopher roster at some point during his pre-college career.

Six Yale seniors played their last games at home in the ECAC Quarterfinals. They've been part of 83 victories, three NCAA Tournaments, two ECAC titles and three Ivy championships while having their hands in two of the three most successful teams in Yale hockey history. The class of 13 experienced a 2010 conference regular season title, a 2011 ECAC Tournament Championship in Atlantic City and NCAA Regional victories over North Dakota and Air Force. Five of the six were in uniform as rookies when the Elis stunned the Fighting Sioux at Worcester in arguably the most significant victory in program history.  The same five wore the home white jerseys at Bridgeport a year later when the Blue, the No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament, beat the Cadets in overtime.

The Bulldogs finished third in ECAC Hockey with a 12-9-1 mark and earned a bye in the first round of the playoffs. They have won two conference tournament titles and two regular-season championships. Yale (8-2-0) won its third Ivy League title in four years by defeating Princeton on Feb. 23. The Elis have won 11 Ivy championships, including five under Keith Allain.
All four classes are now in double figures. Yale has a team-high 33 goals from its senior class. The juniors, who have the most points on the team, are second with 28 tallies. The sophomores are third with 19 while the newcomers have hit the net 12 times.

There are seven defensemen on the Yale roster, including one senior, one junior, two sophomores and three freshmen. Senior Colin Dueck (Calgary, Alb.) has the most experience (119 games) with junior Gus Young (Dedham, Mass.) second at 73. Sophomore Tommy Fallen (Plymouth, Minn), who leads the defenseman with 7-15-22 and was the team's rookie of the year in 2011-12. He ranks 20th among Division I defensemen with .67 points per game. Classmate Matt Killian (Basking Ridge, NJ) has also been key contributor this year. Newcomers Rob O'Gara (Nesconset, NY) and Ryan Obuchowski (West Bloomfield, Mich.) have been regulars in 2012-13, classmate Mitch Witek (Downers Grove, Ill.) has also seen some action. The Blue blueliners have contributed 12 goals.    

Senior Jeff Malcolm (career: 2.70, .904, 32-21-4), a two-time ECAC Goalie of the Week this season, started 12 straight games before suffering an injury on Feb. 1 against Princeton in the third minute of the first period. He did not dress for five straight games until Feb. 23 in the re-match at Princeton. Malcolm returned that night to stop 17 shots in the 4-3 win, the first of five straight Yale victories. He made it three in a row with 48 saves in a sweep of Colgate/Cornell on March 1-2 and then helped the Blue sweep SLU by stopping 29 of 30. His season-high is 36 saves at St. Lawrence in a 5-3 win, while his longest scoreless streak is 111:39. His best game may have been 32 saves in the 2-1 OT win at No. 2 Denver on Nov. 23. Before that, Malcolm stopped 59 of 63 shots on Nov. 9-10 and did not give up a goal on 11 penalty kills. The Yale goalie with the most minutes and saves in 2011-12 was in net for two of the more memorable events of the season: he made 27 saves in the win over Princeton in the playoff series finale and notched a shutout streak of three (Colgate, RPI, Union) games and 226:39 minutes (5 games) in November. Malcolm (Lethbridge, Alb.) earned ECAC Hockey Goalie of the Week honors after stopping all 72 shots in wins at No. 8 Union and RPI last winter. The three straight SHOs tied the school record but fell short of the Yale record (240:53 by Ryan Rondeau '11) scoreless streak. His career-high is 45 saves against Union on Nov. 12, 2011, and his five career SHO are second at Yale.

Senior Nick Maricic (Alta Loma, Calif.) got three starts while Malcolm was out, including a 31-save effort in the 1-0 loss at Brown. He entered the Feb. 1 game vs. Princeton in the third minute after Malcolm was injured. He stopped 20 of 21 shots to earn the win that night, while making 21 saves in the first two periods the next night against Quinnipiac. He got his first start and victory in a 4-2, 25-save effort against Cornell in the fourth game of his freshman season. Since then he has compiled 917 saves and 15 wins. He had nine saves (no goals allowed) over the last 29 minutes of the 6-5 win at Colorado College on Nov. 24. He also had some big ones down the stretch last year that helped the Blue go 3-0-1 to close the regular season. He stopped 66 of 70 shots the final weekend on the road. He saved 52 of 56 shots and held Dartmouth/Harvard scoreless on 10 of 11 advantages the week before. Maricic (2.94, .897, 15-12-4) had a career-high 40 saves in the 2-2 tie at Quinnipiac on Feb. 25, 2012.  

Six freshmen have been used in a game on many occasions this season, including three on defense and three at forward. The eight new Bulldogs come from five different states and one province, and bring experience from the USHL (3), EJHL (2), BCHL, AJHL and a New England prep school. Some have already distinguished themselves since arriving in New Haven: Stu Wilson, the son of RIT head coach Wayne Wilson, has earned conference rookie of the week honors twice and ranks 11th among ECAC rookies with .41 points per conference game.

Boston College, Colorado College and Denver were common 2012-13 opponents for the Gophers and Bulldogs. Yale went 2-0-1 against them, while UM was 3-2-1 playing the Eagles once and their WCHA foes from the Rocky Mountain State five times including the post season… Yale assistant coach Dan Muse, who served as video coordinator for the gold medal winning U.S. Junior National Team at the IIHF World Championships in Russia this past winter, has been named to the same post for the 2014 tournament in Sweden… Yale may be the only team ever to play two straight games without a penalty-kill. The Bulldogs finished the regular season with a 2-1, penalty-free win over Cornell before opening the 2013 conference playoffs with a penalty-kill free (2 matching penalties) win over SLU.

The Bulldogs, tied for 14th with Wisconsin in the uscho.com Pairwise Rankings, were as high as No. 5 a few times this season. The uscho.com media poll has the Elis at No.15 this week.

Yale is on TV for the eighth time this season. The Blue is 3-4 on the tube this season, including a Fox College Sports showing last Friday. The Jan. 18 Harvard (4-0 W) game, the Jan. 25 game at Cornell (3-2 W) and the Feb. 22 Quinnipiac contest (4-1 L) aired live on the NBC Sports Network. The exhibition against the Red Stars (10-2 W) aired on CPTV Sports, which had live coverage of the Feb. 2 home Quinnpiac (6-2 L) contest. Yale was on Time Warner Cable at Union (4-2 L) on Feb. 15.

Yale has played 11 games (6-3-2) against teams ranked at the time in one of the national polls. Four (Harvard, Denver, Colorado College, Cornell) of the wins have come on the road. The other road game was at Boston College (tie), while the Elis had home contests against St. Lawrence (win), Union (tie) and Dartmouth (win). Yale is 1-4-2 against teams currently in the uscho.com top 20 poll.
The current Yale roster comprises leaders and scholars. Here are some examples..
21        Captained a hockey team before coming to Yale
18        Captained another sports team
20        Won a scholar-athlete award
14        Graduated in top 10% of their class
10        National Honor Society Members
 4         Class Presidents
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 in 2010-11, finished 10-7 last year. The Bulldogs are 10-3-1 this year, 60-20-4 over the last four-plus seasons at the Whale and 16-11-3 in home ECAC playoff games all time.

The Yale players were surveyed about each other, and here are the results:
Strongest player (pound for pound):                              8 Josh Balch
Fastest on skates:                                                                 22 Tommy Fallen
Hardest Shot:                                                                   28 Antoine Laganiere
Best fore-checker:                                                           20 Jesse Root
Best Passer:                                                                      17 Andrew Miller
Best Singer:                                                                       21 Colin Dueck
Sense of Humor:                                                                 20 Jesse Root
Biggest Appetite:                                                             15 Clint Bourbonais
Most Soft Spoken:                                                          21Colin Dueck
Most Talkative:                                                                  20 Jesse Root
Player you would want your sister to date:                        21 Colin Dueck
Best Dressed:                                                                    17 Andrew Miller
Most Likely to be a Head Coach:                                      2 Gus Young
Most Unique Hobby:                                                      17 Andrew Miller (Fabrics)

Yale celebrated the re-dedication of Ingalls Rink (3,500) 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.
Next March, the conference championships are back in Lake Placid at the 1980 Rink (Brooks Arena), the site of ECAC Championships from 1993 to 2002. Yale has won a pair of conference tournament titles - 2009 at Albany and 2011 at Atlantic City.

The Prudential Center in Newark, N.J., announced last week that it will host the Liberty Invitational in October, 2013, with Princeton, Dartmouth, Brown and Yale competing in the two-day event on the home ice of the N.J. Devils. Over the next three years, the Bulldogs and Tigers will stay in the event and be joined by different Hockey East squads.

The Yale roster includes players from 12 different states, two provinces and Norway. New York and New Jersey are represented by four players from each state, while Alberta and Michigan contribute three players and Illinois has a pair.

The United States Hockey League contributed nine players to the Bulldog roster. There are three from the British Columbia Hockey League, two from the Eastern Junior Hockey League and one from the Atlantic Junior Hockey League.  Eleven Yale student-athletes came directly from prep schools.

Yale and Fairfield co-hosted three (2009, 2011, 2012) of the last four NCAA East Regional Tournaments at Webster Bank Arena in Bridgeport. The Bulldogs competed in two (2009, 2011) of the three at the arena. The two schools have another in 2014.
The Bulldogs are wearing a sticker with a ribbon on the back of their helmets in memory of those lost in the Sandy Hook (Newtown) School shootings. Equipment manager Jeff Torre added them to the head gear prior to the game at Boston College.

filed by Steve Conn, Yale Sports Publicity Director