Battle of The County in ECAC Playoffs

Battle of The County in ECAC Playoffs




NEW HAVEN, Conn. – The Yale men's hockey team, in the ECAC Hockey Quarterfinals for the sixth straight season, faces a familiar foe in the best-of-three playoff series that opens Friday night. The No. 16 Bulldogs (17-9-5) take on No. 6/7 Quinnipiac (22-8-6) at 7 p.m. at High Point Solutions Arena in a contest airing live on America ONE Sports and on WYBC AM-1340 (

Yale is the No. 6 seed taking on No. 3 Quinnipiac for one of four spots in next Friday's ECAC semifinals at Lake Placid. The Bobcats had a bye last weekend and meet the Bulldogs for the first time ever in a playoff series. In the other games, Union hosts Dartmouth, Clarkson is at Cornell and St. Lawrence goes to Colgate.

They met in last April's Frozen Four title game (4-0, Yale) and in the ECAC third-place contest (3-0, QU) last March. They played to a 3-3 draw at Hamden in November, and the Bobcats took a 4-0 decision at the Whale on Valentine's Day. Quinnipiac took three of four last year and is 4-1-1 over the last six while leading the overall series 11-6-3.

Yale erased a 2-0 deficit with three straight goals before the game ended in a 3-3 OT tie on Nov. 9 at Hamden. Ryan Obuchowski scored on the power play and the Blue also got goals from Frankie DiChiara and Mike Doherty. Alex Lyon had a career-high 48 saves as the Bobcats outshot Yale 51-20. Quinnipiac outshot the Bulldogs 36-33 in the rematch at Ingalls, a 4-0 Bobcats win.

Six different players hit the net and Alex Lyon earned ECAC Goalie of the Week honors with saves on 42 of 43 shots in Yale's sweep of Harvard in the first round. The Blue won 4-0 on Friday and erased an extended 1-0 deficit with a pair of goals 38 seconds apart midway through the third to win 2-1.

The Bulldogs outshot Harvard 67-43 while outscoring the Crimson 6-1. Yale held its rival to four shots in both middle frames while blanking four of five Harvard advantages.

The Bobcats have been off since having a three-point, nine-goal weekend to end the regular season on the road against Clarkson and St. Lawrence. Quinnipiac enjoyed a nine-game win streak and a 13-game unbeaten string earlier this season and are led offensively by rookie Sam Anas (19 goals) and senior Kellen Jones (18). Sophomore goalie Michael Gartieg ranks fourth in Division I with a 1.84 GAA.

Yale's first ECAC playoff game was a 4-2 loss at St. Lawrence in a single-game, first-rounder in 1967. The Elis didn't return to post-season play until 1979, a 9-2 loss at New Hampshire. The Bulldogs have played 84 ECAC tournament games and are 30-49-5 overall, including a 14-29-4 mark in quarterfinal rounds. The Elis, playing their first series with Quinnipiac, are 5-3 over their last eight quarters.

Yale defensemen have produced 25 goals and 71 points this winter, including 14 goals over the last seven weeks. In 2012-13, Bulldog blueliners had 14-53-67 in 37 games. Senior Gus Young (7-11-18) had a string of three games with goals and points in seven of 10 contests. Sophomore Ryan Obuchowski (5-13-18) has 18 of his 30 collegiate points this season. Junior Tommy Fallen (7-8-15) scored twice against Brown on Jan. 25 and RPI on Feb. 7.

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 Elis have won five straight home playoff games, eight of their last 10 and 12 of 15… Yale is 1-4-2 all-time on March 14 in the conference playoffs; it is 4-1 on March 15.

The Elis are 18th 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. 16 in the poll and in the "receiving votes" category for the USA Today/American Hockey Magazine 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.

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.

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.

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.

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 (35), sophomores (29), juniors (19) and newcomers (18).  As for points, the seniors (82) and sophomores (79) are out in front, while the freshmen (53) have an edge on the juniors (51).

Yale's Class of 2017, which has been averaging four forwards in the lineup, has contributed 18 goals (4 GWG) and 53 points while grabbing every minute of playing time between the pipes. Forward Mike Doherty is 26th among Division I rookies with .68 points per game.

"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.

Junior Tommy Fallen (Plymouth, Minn.), a 2012-13 All-Ivy honorable mention pick, has a pair of multiple-goal games this year. 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 18 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.

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, 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.

Alex Lyon is one very good reason why Yale is one of only two (Niagara) teams in the country with freshmen logging all the minutes in net this season. The Baudette, Minn., native has started the last 24 games and has earned ECAC player (rookie & goalie) of the week honors twice. He was conference goalie of the week after stopping 42 of 43 shots in the first round playoff series. He also got a second-straight shutout after blanking Harvard in game one and has three (Brown, RPI, Harvard) overall this season. Lyon, who averages 25 saves per appearance, had a season-high 48 saves  at Quinnipiac in November. His 2.23 GAA ranks 18th in Division I while his .922 SP is 25th. Classmate 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.

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

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. Brian O'Neill '12 is having his best pro season this winter with 16 goals and 31 points for Manchester.

filed by Steve Conn, Yale Sports Publicity Director


Jack Warhola image