March 13, 2014

Senior Trio Looks to Add to Success

Agostino, Root, Young Leading Bulldogs

 

by Steve Conn, Yale Sports Publicity Director

 

How do you compare success when ranking the best classes in the history of Yale hockey?

Do you look at total victories, or are total championships more important? Maybe the most significant variable in determining the most successful class of Bulldogs is a season concluding with a victory, but not in a consolation contest.

That's exactly what seniors Kenny Agostino, Jesse Root and Gus Young have on their resumes as they head into the ECAC Quarterfinal Series against Quinnipiac. Of course, three other classes can say the same thing after the Elis won the 2013 national title, but the 2014ers have covered a lot of ground with just three pairs of skates.

The current senior trio, each of whom earned 2013 West Regional All-Tournament accolades, has compiled 360 games while scoring 103 goals and 259 points and helping the Blue win 83 games, the fourth best total at Yale. The classes of 2011 and 2012 each had a school-record 89 wins, while the boys from 2013 registered 87 and went out national champions.

"Collectively, they've [2014] had a historical impact on Yale hockey," said Keith Allain '80, Yale's Malcolm G. Chace Head Coach. "Their accomplishments can't just be measured by wins and losses. On a daily basis, they've brought energy, enthusiasm and competitiveness to the rink, and they've enabled their teammates to have a much more positive Yale hockey experience."

The Class of 2014, which has the top three point totals on the current team, has been part of a 2011 ECAC Tournament Championship, a pair of Ivy League titles and five NCAA Tournament wins, including last April's magical, four-game run through the Frozen Four.

Not a bad resume for three guys whose names would work well together on the front door of a law firm. If that was ever their aspiration, it will have to wait.

Agostino, a forward already known for his scoring ability and style, became one of the best-known players in college hockey last season after his rights were traded to Calgary for Jarome Iginla a day before Yale played Minnesota in the NCAA West Regional last March. The Flames had him in for their camp last summer and have been keeping close tabs on him.

After becoming Delbarton's career scoring leader, the Flanders, N.J., native has been climbing the Yale record books. He currently sits 10th in career assists (74), 11th in points (130) and is 13th in goals (56).

"Ken has been an offensive force since his freshman year, and continues to be one of the most dominant forwards in the league," said Young. "The way he prepares every day at the rink for practices or games is incredible and it trickles down to the underclassmen."

The Colorado Avalanche drafted Gus Young before he came to New Haven. The defenseman showed plenty of promise for the pro game in front of his own cage for the first three seasons at Yale. This year he has added productivity on offense and already has a career-best seven goals and 18 points this season. That included hitting the net four times with nine points just in January.

"Gus has worked extremely hard every year to become, hands down, one of the best defenseman in the country," said Agostino. 

Root, best-known for his game-winning goals in both games of the 2013 West Regional, was voted captain by his teammates a few weeks after the team returned from Pittsburgh last April. He is Yale's active career leader with four shorthanded goals (2 this year), and leads the team with a career-best, 20 assists and 34 points this winter.  

Root, who could get invited to a pro camp next fall, helped the Blue register a school-record three shorthanded tallies in a 7-5 win over Princeton on Feb. 15, the highest scoring game in the ECAC this year. He scored the first shorty and assisted on the third, which put the game away. The captain added three goals and four points last weekend on the road.

"Playing with him {Root] for the past four years has certainly been a pleasure," said Agostino. "His compete level and ability to play in all three zones has made him one of the top centers in college hockey."

Yale's senior blueliner doesn't think his captain gets enough credit for his work.

"Not only is he [Root] our best two-way forward and one of the most underrated players in the ECAC, but his leadership both on and off the ice drives this team. The way he carries himself and is viewed by his teammates speaks a lot to the content of his character, said Young."

The skating senior trio, which has accounted for a team-best 35 goals and 82 points among the four classes, is a tight-knit group on and off the ice, which might include sharing a class this semester (Roman Architecture), watching TV (True Detective), studying or playing NHL 14. 

"This is the closest group of seniors I've seen at Yale, they are like brothers," said Jeff Torre, Yale's Director of Equipment Services. "They seem to do everything together, and that's one reason they've been so successful."

It really doesn't matter which class of Yale hockey is the most prolific. The important thing is that new players - like Agostino, Root and Young - enter the program each year with a sense of pride and competitiveness that make them want to be part of a class that is compared to the best of all Bulldogs.

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