ECAC 1st Round Playoffs at Whale This Weekend

RIVALRY IN ECAC PLAYOFFS

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NEW HAVEN, Conn. – The Yale men's hockey team hosts Harvard this weekend at Ingalls Rink in a best-of-three ECAC first-round playoff series. The March 7-9 games, which determines who advances to the quarterfinal round, are each 7 p.m. starts that can be seen on America One and heard live on WYBC-AM 1340. The Bulldogs (15-9-5, 10-8-4 ECAC), coming off a 5-0 win at home over Rensselaer on Saturday, finished tied for fifth in the conference standings. The 11th place Crimson (10-15-4, 6-12-4) comes to the Whale after splitting a road trip.


TICKETS

Tickets are available for all games this weekend. Call 203.432.1400 to order them now. Ticket windows at the rink will open at 5:30 each night.


AMERICA ONE

The 2014 ECAC Hockey Tournament airs live on America One Sports. The call of the Yale-Harvard series will be handled by Ron Vaccaro '04, the voice of Yale football who is also an experienced (TV, radio) hockey play-by-play man.

ECAC
The Bulldogs tied Clarkson for fifth place but lost the tie-breaker and are the No. 6 seed. The top four seeds have a bye this weekend. The middle four host the bottom four before the quarterfinals take place next week. The quarterfinal winners play in two weeks at Lake Placid.

SERIES
The overall series is 138-83-19 in favor of the Cantabs, but the Bulldogs are 4-0-1 since Harvard won two of three at Boston in the 2012 ECAC Quarterfinal playoffs. The Crimson has taken seven of the eight playoff encounters, the blemish being a March 13, 2012, 2-1 OT decision in game one of a three-game series at Boston. The first two games of that series went extra time, including a double-OT game two. There have been 240 Yale-Harvard meetings in eight different cities. The first was Feb. 26, 1900, in New York, a 5-4 Yale victory.

THIS YEAR'S MEETINGS
The ancient rivals have already played three times this season, including a 2-2 OT tie at New Haven in December, a 5-1 Yale win in January at Madison Square Garden and a 5-2 Eli victory in February at Boston.  Three Bulldogs have multiple goals against Harvard this season: Kenny Agostino (2-1-3), Jesse Root (2-1-3) and Cody Learned (2-0-2), the MVP of the Rivarly on Ice at New York. Gus Young (1-3-4) leads all Yale scorers against the Crimson with four points. The Blue went 0-7 on the power play over the first two meetings and then scored three times on four chances in the third.

FINAL REGULAR SEASON WEEKEND
Five different players hit the net and Alex Lyon earned the shutout as the Bulldogs beat Rensselaer 5-0 before a sellout crowd at Ingalls Rink on March 1, giving the Blue a split of the weekend with the Capital District teams. Yale outshot the Engineers 41-18. On a night celebrating the class of 2014, a pair of rookies, Frankie DiChiara and Mike Doherty, had two-point nights. Jesse Root, Anthony Day and Ryan Obuchowski had the other tallies, while Lyon, another freshman, recorded his second shutout by making 18 saves.
YALE'S COMBINED
The Bulldogs outshot (on goal) last week's opposition 90-54 while attempting 155 shots and outscoring them 5-2. The Elis scored all five goals over the last two periods Saturday, including four in the third.

HARVARD
The Crimson, which has played four of its last six on the road, split the last regular season games at Colgate (2-1, W) and Cornell (3-2, L) and are on the road again this week. A pair of sophomores, Jimmy Vesey (13-9-22) and Kyle Criscuolo (11-9-20), is Harvard's goal and points leaders, while junior Steve Michalek is 20th in Division I with a .924 save percentage and 24th with a 2.35 GAA. In conference play, senior Raphael Girard leads the ECAC with a .938 SP, while Michalek is second. Among the team's highlights this season is a pair of victories over Boston University and a win at New Hampshire. Harvard is the least penalized team in the ECAC.

BLUE LINE
Yale defensemen have produced 24 goals and 66 points this winter, including 13 goals over the last six weeks. In 2012-13, Bulldog blueliners had 14-53-67 in 37 games. Senior Gus Young (6-11-17) had a string of three games with goals and points in seven of 10 contests. Sophomore Ryan Obuchowski (5-12-17), who has nine 10 in his last 12 games, had three assists on Jan. 25. Junior Tommy Fallen (7-8-15) scored twice against Brown on Jan. 25 and RPI on Feb. 7.

BULLDOG BITES
Yale has had a dozen games when a player has scored multiple goals this winter. The Elis are 11-0-1 in those games… The Bulldogs finished 5-1-1 in non-league games… Yale is 7-0-0 in games it has multiple power-play scores… The Blue ranks 13th in offense (3.28) among Division I teams; it is 15th in defense (2.41); The Elis have won three straight home playoff games, six of their last eight and nine of 13.

RANKINGS
The Elis are 19th in the PairWise Rankings, a very good indicator of where schools stand for the 16-team NCAA Tournament… As for the voting lists, the Bulldogs are No. 15 in the USA Today/American Hockey Magazine Poll and 16 in the uscho.com poll. Yale has finished among the top 10 four of the last five seasons, including No. 1 in 2012-13. The Elis were 5th in 2008-09, 8th in 2009-10 and 6th in 2010-11.

NCAAs
Yale, 2013 Frozen Four Champions, has earned a spot in the NCAA Tournament four of the last five years, and played in a pair of regional finals.

GEOGRAPHIC BALANCE
The Yale roster includes players from 12 different states, two provinces and Norway. Five players represent New Jersey, Minnesota has three players while Massachusetts, Florida, and Michigan each contribute a pair.

BEFORE YALE
The United States Hockey League contributed nine players to the Bulldog roster. There are three from the British Columbia Hockey League, four from the Eastern Junior Hockey League and one from the Atlantic Junior Hockey League.  Eight Yale student-athletes came directly from prep schools and one came from the US National Team.

BY CLASS
The Bulldogs have just three seniors, including two forwards and a defenseman. There are seven juniors, eight sophomores and eight newcomers. The scoring by class has been very balanced: seniors (32), sophomores (26), juniors (19) and newcomers (18).  As for points, the seniors (76) and sophomores (73) are out in front, while the freshmen (51) have an edge on the juniors (47).



FROSH
Yale's Class of 2017, which has been averaging four forwards in the lineup, has contributed 18 goals (4 GWG) and 51 points while grabbing every minute of playing time between the pipes. Forward Mike Doherty is 19th among Division I rookies with .74 points per game.

INGALLS
"Ice hockey has never had as provocative a setting as Yale's new $1.4 million David S. Ingalls Rink." That's how Sports Illustrated described the famous building also known as the Yale Whale in a 1959 article. And it's just as exciting today. Ingalls (3,500 capacity), re-dedicated on Jan. 16, 2010, was modernized and expanded during a multi-phase project. The original (1958) look remains, but 13,000 square feet of operational space was added along with numerous amenities.

DECORATED DOGS ON D
Junior Tommy Fallen (Plymouth, Minn.), a 2012-13 All-Ivy honorable mention pick, has a pair of multiple-goal games this year. His 100th collegiate game was last Friday. Fallen's 18 goals rank fifth among Yale defensemen for a career, his
58 points are eighth... Sophomore Ryan Obuchowski (West Bloomfield, Mich.), who had three assists vs. Brown on Jan. 25 and has 17 points this winter, was a 2012-13 ECAC All-Rookie Team selection... Rob O'Gara, a second-year man from Nesconset, N.Y., is a Boston Bruins draft pick. He and Gus Young (Colorado) are the two blueliners drafted by pro teams.

NCAAs AT BRIDGEPORT
Yale and Fairfield are co-hosting the 2014 NCAA East Regional at Webster Bank Arena in Bridgeport on March 28-29. The Friday semifinal game times are 2 and 5:30 p.m. with coverage by ESPNU. The Saturday championship game is set for 3 p.m. on ESPN2. Tickets for 3-game packages are available now on www.NCAA.com/frozenfour, or through the Webster Bank Ticket Office. This is the fourth year Yale and Fairfield have co-hosted this regional at Harbor Yard. This is the fourth time Webster Bank will host the regional. There have been four college hockey programs (Yale, Michigan, Michigan State, Minnesota-Duluth) with NCAA titles that have played in Bridgeport's NCAA event. Miami, Vermont, Union, Air Force and UMass-Lowell are the other schools to compete in the arena.


 
GOALIES
Yale is one of only two (Niagara) teams in the country with freshmen logging all the minutes in net this season. Alex Lyon (Baudette, Minn.) has started the last 22 games. Lyon, who averages 25 saves per appearance, had a season-high 48 saves (most since Nick overall), while his .919 SP and 2.37 GAA are top five for rookie goalies in Division I. Patrick Spano (Montreal, Que) was in net for three Yale wins and has a 1.93 GAA and a .924 SP. Sophomore Connor Wilson (Cary, NC) is the other goalie in the mix.

LOOKING AHEAD
The first Liberty Invitational this season at the Prudential Center included Princeton, Brown, Dartmouth and Yale. Hockey East teams will join the Tigers and Bulldogs over the next three seasons.
2014: Princeton, Yale, UConn, Merrimack
2015: Princeton, Yale, Maine, UMass
2016: Princeton, Yale, Lowell, Vermont

BULLDOGS PLAYING PRO THIS WINTER
There are five current Yale players drafted by NHL teams: Gus Young (Colorado), Kenny Agostino (Pittsburgh, Calgary), Rob O'Gara (Boston), Matthew Beattie (Vancouver) and John Hayden (Chicago). Fifteen former Yale players have skated professionally this season including Vancouver Canucks forward Chris Higgins '05 and Mark Arcobello '10 with the Edmonton Oilers. Arcobello helped make club history when he assisted on Taylor Hall's two goals, eight seconds apart in October. It was the fastest consecutive goals by an Oiler since Wayne Gretzky had a nine-second outburst during the team's dynasty years. After the first 10 games, the Milford, Conn., native had accumulated a league-high 10 assists, which also made him the league's rookie points leader at the time and put him in a unique group. Only two rookies in the last 20 years – Sydney Crosby and Patrick Kane - had 10 assists in their first 10 games. The Bulldogs have had seven skating in the AHL, four outside North America and two in the ECHL.




filed by Steve Conn, Yale Sports Publicity Director

 

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