Bulldogs Face Raiders, Big Red
The Yale men's hockey team takes a four-game win streak into the last regular-season conference road trip of the season. The Bulldogs face Colgate and No. 4 Cornell in pair of 7 p.m. games. You can see Yale take on the Raiders on the Patriot League Network, while the Elis and Big Red air live on the Ivy League Network.
The Raiders and Bulldogs are even at 49-49-6 in the overall series with Yale that began in 1916-17. The Big Red have an 83-62-8 lead over the Elis in a series that started in 1901-02 and has included some recent close games. Eight of the last 11 Yale-Cornell meetings have been decided by a goal or less.
Ted Hart scored twice and Corbin Kaczperski stopped 19 shots as Yale handed No. 19 Colgate a 5-1 loss at Ingalls in mid- January… Sam Tucker made 34 saves while Ryan Hitchcock, Evan Smith and Robbie DeMontis found the net in a 3-3 OT draw with the Big Red last month.
Yale was outshot twice and did not score with an advantage over last weekend's crucial conference set. That sounds like a recipe for disaster, but the Bulldogs turned it into a pair of emotional wins over Quinnipiac (3-2) and Princeton (7-2). Ted Hart erased a 2-1 deficit on Friday with two goals and Sam Tucker (29 saves) was the game MVP in net as the Blue beat the Bobcats at the Whale. Billy Sweezey had the other Eli tally. Evan Smith and Joe Snively combined for all seven scores the next night against the Tigers. Yale's first twin hat tricks of the year and Corbin Kaczperski's 34 saves ignited the home team to four goals in the third period.
The Raiders sit in 5th place, just a point ahead of Yale after gaining an impressive, 4-4 OT tie with Clarkson on the road last Saturday. Their most impressive results this season may have been a pair of wins over Harvard.
The Big Red sit alone atop the ECAC Hockey Standings with 30 points, four better than second-place Clarkson. Those two met last Friday night at Potsdam in a scoreless OT draw. Only the Golden Knights, Miami and RPI have beaten Cornell this season.
Before last Saturday, the last time Yale had two players record hat tricks, a current Olympian, Broc Little '11, and a guy who has played in the NHL, Kenny Agostino '14, combined to beat Holy Cross in 2011… The Blue is 2-0-1 in OT games this season … Yale is 4-1-1 against nationally ranked teams this year… The Blue finished 5-2 in non-conference games… Andrew Miller '13 leads the AHL in points with 48. The Charlotte Checkers forward has 15 goals and 33 assists.
ECAC HOCKEY STANDINGS
Yale can finish anywhere from 4th to 11th and, as of now, needs 7 of the remaining 8 available points to clinch home ice.
RED, WHITE & 4 BLUE
Former Yale All-American forwards from consecutive classes Mark Arcobello '10, Broc Little '11 and Brian O'Neill '12 will are wearing red, white and Blue for the 2018 U.S. Olympic Men's Ice Hockey Team. All three play professionally in Europe and skated for Keith Allain '80, Yale's Malcolm G. Chace Head Coach, who is an assistant on the 2018 U.S. Olympic Team. These Elis are representing the United States at the 2018 Olympic Winter Games, Feb. 9-25 in PyeongChang, South Korea.
Senior forward Ryan Hitchcock was voted captain by his teammates for the 2017-18 season. The Manhasset, N.Y., native has notched 19 goals and 64 points in his 97-game college career, which has been shortened by injuries the last two seasons. In 2016-17, Hitchcock, who was voted by his teammates as the top passer among the Elis, dished out a team-leading 16 helpers before a Jan. 14 injury derailed the remainder of his season. Prior to his time at Yale, Hitchcock was a member of the United States National Team Development Program, where he won a gold medal as a member of the U.S. U18 squad at the 2014 World Championships. Hitchcock followed up that international experience by helping Team USA to a bronze medal at the 2016 IIHF World Juniors in Finland. The U.S. team beat Sweden 8-3 to grab third place. Hitchcock, the third line left wing for the U.S. squad and the eighth Bulldog to play in this tournament, played in every game while becoming the first Eli to earn a medal at the world juniors.
Junior forward Joe Snively (Herndon, Va.), who leads the nation with 3 shorthanded goals and is a semifinalist for the Walter Brown Award, is tops at Yale with 15 goals and 27 points after his first collegiate hat trick on Feb. 10 against Princeton. Snively, who is 11th in the nation with a .60 goal average, was one of five players selected to the Pre-season Coaches All-ECAC Hockey Team after netting 1.18 points per game in 2016-17, which ranked 21st in the nation. An All-Ivy League honorable mention from a season ago, Snively had three multiple-goal outings in 2016-17, including consecutive games against Holy Cross and RPI. Snively (94 pts, 90 career games) has already registered five multi-goal games and six multi-point outings this season.
Junior goalie Sam Tucker (Wilton, Conn.) has enjoyed some excellent performances this season, but his best may have been in the 3-2 win over Quinnipiac on Feb. 9. He made 29 saves while surviving six power plays. Tucker, who had 34 saves in a 3-3 OT tie with No. 4 Cornell on Jan. 12, made his collegiate debut on Nov. 12, 2016, in a relief appearance against Cornell, and eventually won his first collegiate game against UConn on Jan. 7, 2017. Tucker seized the starting job as the Elis headed into the 2017 ECAC playoffs, where he stopped 68 of 71 shots in first round playoff action against Dartmouth. Tucker has been solid this season, recording a 2.82 goals against average and an .901 save percentage. His Nov. 18 effort at Quinnipiac was one of the best of Tucker's career with 40 saves.
Sophomore Corbin Kaczperski (China Township, Mich.) has eight of the 25 starts starts in net and six wins. His best was a 31-save effort in a 4-2 win over New Hampshire on Dec. 30, though he had a career-high 34 stops in the Feb. 10 win over Princeton. However, his greatest test may have been 19 stops in a 5-1 win over Colgate on Jan. 13. Zaczperski's first home appearance included 22 saves in the win over UMass on Jan. 5. He has a 1.87 GAA and a .935 SP.
Freshman forward Dante Palecco (7-6-13), who notched two goals in a Dec. 30 win over New Hampshire, had one of the best weekends for a rookie Bulldog forward in recent memory against St. Lawrence and Clarkson on Nov. 10-11. In a 6-1 win over St. Lawrence on Friday, Palecco netted his first collegiate goal and added two more in scoring the first Yale hat trick since 2012. Palecco chipped in Yale's only goal in a 4-1 loss to No. 8 Clarkson. For his efforts, the Whippany, N.J. native was awarded both the ECAC Hockey Offensive Player and Rookie of the Week.
The blue line is one of Yale's major improvements from last season. Last winter, rookies Matt Foley, Chandler Lindstrand and Billy Sweezey were baptized under fire while Henry Hart '18 was transitioned to defense after playing his first two seasons at forward. The Elis now have a seasoned group. Adam Larkin, Charlie Curti, and Anthony Walsh are veterans who are helping freshmen Phil Kemp and Brian Matthews with the transition. Curti and Matthews had goals against Arizona State.
Seven freshmen joined the team this year (4 F, 2 D, 1G). Two are from Canada and played junior hockey in the British Columbia Hockey League, while the other five come from around the U.S. and competed in the United States Hockey League last season. Yale's freshmen have accounted for 14 goals and 31 points this season. Forwards Dante Palecco (player, rookie of week) and Kevin O'Neil (rookie) have earned ECAC Hockey honors this season. First-year defenseman Phil Kemp (16 gp, 1-5-6), an Edmonton Oiler draft pick, was named to the roster of the U.S. National Junior Team's pre-IIHF tournament camp.
UP NEXT FOR THE BLUE
The Blue is home next weekend to end the regular season with games against Dartmouth and Harvard.
The Bulldogs have four seniors, including two forwards, and two defensemen. There are seven juniors, nine sophomores, and seven newcomers.
It is very possible that Evan and Mitchell Smith are the first twins to skate for the Yale men's hockey team. The Stouffville, Ontario, brothers, who have combined for 13 goals and 24 points this winter, have been skating on the same team since they began organized hockey and have been linemates for most of the last dozen years. However, they've mostly been on separate lines since coming to New Haven, and that has worked well for them. The identical twins, wearing jerseys No. 13 (Evan) and 14 (Mitchell), attended Salisbury School before playing for Dubuque in the USHL. Even teammates are challenged to tell the difference between the two, but Evan (6-0, 190), who scored the OT winner against ASU on Feb. 3, is listed as an inch taller and five pounds heavier than Mitchell. Evan became the first Eli since Brian O'Neill in 2012 to score four goals when he helped his team beat Princeton on Feb. 10. Smith did that on just five shots on goal.
Yale went four seasons without a hat trick and now has four in 2017-18. Rookie forward Dante Palecco had his first three career goals on Nov. 10 at home against St. Lawrence. Junior forward Ted Hart notched his first three-goal college game on the road against Union on Dec. 2. Both Bulldogs were skating those nights on a line with Ryan Hitchcock and Joe Snively and the Elis won both contests. The latest to have hat tricks are Evan Smith and Snively, who combined for all 7 goals on Feb. 10 against Princeton. Here are the year's hats..
Date Player Opponent Points
2/10/18 Evan Smith Princeton 4-0-4
2/10/18 Joe Snively Princeton 3-1-4
12/2/17 Ted Hart at Union 3-0-3
11/10/17 Dante Palecco St. Lawrence 3-1-4
Yale is 2nd in the nation with 6 shorthanded goals this year trailing only Northern Michigan (7). Joe Snively is tied with a bunch of players as the national leader in SHGs with 3. Ryan Hitchcock, Luke Stevens and Robbie DeMontis have the others for Yale.
YALE HOSTING REGIONAL
Yale and Fairfield will co-host the 2018 Division I Men's Ice Hockey Regional at Webster Bank Arena in Bridgeport on March 23-24. The two schools also brought the regional to the state of Connecticut in 2009, 2011, 2012, and 2014. The other sites for the 2018 tournament include the PPL Center in Allentown, Pa. (Host: Penn State), the DCU Center in Worcester, Mass. (Holy Cross), and Premier Center in Sioux Falls, S.D. (North Dakota). The 2018 Frozen Four will take place at the Xcel Center in Saint Paul, Minn. (Minnesota).
Yale has played in Alaska and in Canada, but the Bulldogs have never skated outside of North America for a "regular-season" game. That will change next November in Belfast, Ireland. Yale, Union, Boston University and UConn play in the 2018 Northern Irish Connections Friendship Four Tournament (Nov. 23-24). The squads square off at The SSE Arena, home of the Belfast Giants, a professional team that competes within the Elite Ice Hockey League. The arena has hosted the Friendship Four Tournament since 2015.
DID YOU KNOW
Yale defenseman Adam Larkin's family has hockey in its blood. Larkin's cousin Dylan skates for the Detroit Red Wings, while his brother Ryan is the starting goaltender for Miami. Additionally, Larkin's cousin and Dylan's older brother, Colin was a Division III All-American for UMass Boston last season… Will D'Orsi's father, Scott, played forward for the Bulldogs from 1986-90 and registered 70 points… Newcomer Phil Kemp comes from a family of athletes. Both his grandfather and great uncle played football for the Elis, while his brother played Lacrosse at Brown and his sister rows at Harvard. The Yale roster doesn't have much of an international flair, but at least six languages can be spoken among the group.
Twenty seasons ago, Tim Taylor led the Bulldogs (23-9-3, 17-4-1 ECAC, 7-2-1 Ivy) to their first ECAC Championship by winning the regular season and getting an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament. Captain Ray Giroux and the Elis had a 7-game win streak that propelled them to the top of the conference standings. The 20th anniversary of this great Yale team will be celebrated on alumni weekend, Feb. 23-24, at Ingalls Rink, along with a recognition of the 2012-13 squad that won the national championship five years ago.
The superlatives survey among the Bulldogs produced the following leaders.
Strongest pound-for-pound: Anthony Walsh
Fastest on skates: Ted Hart
Hardest Shot: Dante Palecco
Best Fore-checker: Luke Stevens
Best Passer: Ryan Hitchcock
Best Hands: Joe Snively
The Best Singer: Anthony Walsh and Will D'Orsi
Most unique hobby: JM Piotrowski (Skateboarding)
Best Sense of humor: John Baiocco
Biggest appetite: Charlie Curti
Best Dresser: JM Piotrowski
Most soft spoken: Phil Kemp
Most Talkative: Dante Palecco
Most likely to become a head hockey coach: Adam Larkin
BULLDOGS IN THE PROS
Yale has two players (Luke Stevens, Carolina; Phil Kemp, Edmonton) on the current roster who have been drafted by NHL teams. Nineteen former Bulldogs are playing professionally this season.
Jean-Francois Boucher '08 – Kolner Haie , DEL – Germany
*Mark Arcobello '10 - Bern SC, NLA – Switzerland (2018 Olympics)
Sean Backman '10 – Eisbaren Berlin, DEL – Germany
*Broc Little '11 – HC Davis, NLA – Switzerland (2018 Olympics)
Denny Kearney '11 – Milton Keynes Lighting, EIHL – United Kingdom
*Brian O'Neill '12 - Jokerit Helsinki, KHL – Finland (2018 Olympics)
Andrew Miller '13 - Charlotte Checkers, AHL
Antoine Laganiere '13 - San Diego Gulls, AHL
Kenny Agostino '14 – Boston Bruins, NHL/Providence Bruins, AHL
Gus Young '14 – Florida Everblades, ECHL
Ryan Obuchowski '16 – Toledo Walleye, ECHL
Matthew Beattie '16 – Melbourne Mustangs, AIHL – Australia
Rob O'Gara '16 – Boston Bruins, NHL/Providence, AHL
Alex Lyon '17 - Philadelphia Flyers, NHL/Lehigh Valley, AHL
John Hayden '17 – Chicago Blackhawks, NHL
Mike Doherty '17 – Manchester Monarchs, ECHL
Frank DiChiara '17 – Worcester Railers, ECHL
Chris Izmirlian '17 – Knoxville Ice Bears, Quad City Mallards, SPHL
Patrick Spano '17 – Knoxville Ice Bears, SPHL
*2018 U.S. Olympic Team Members