Jan. 16, 2009

Courtesy of Yale

The 2008-09 Yale men's hockey team (11-4, 6-2 ECAC Hockey), winners of four straight and seven of the last nine games, is home this weekend to host Clarkson (3-13-4, 1-6-1) and St. Lawrence (10-9-1, 2-5-1) in a pair of 7 p.m. games. The North Country pair and the No. 19 Bulldogs can be seen live this weekend on yalebulldogs.com (Yale's All Access) both nights. Saturday night's game with SLU can also be heard on WYBC AM-1340 (wybc.com).


Clarkson, which has won seven of nine against Yale, owns a 67-28-4 advantage in a series that began in 1929-30. The Elis won the last game 3-2 in November at Potsdam. Yale's 2007-08 sweep stopped a four-game SLU win streak in a series that began in 1951-52, but the Saints won earlier this year at Canton and have a 52-24-7 lead.


Sean Backman had two goals and Alec Richards made 22 saves as Yale registered a 3-2 win over No. 15 Clarkson at Cheel Arena in November. Brandon Bollig's goal 74 seconds into OT gave SLU a 3-2 win over Yale and made Paul Karpowich (31 saves) the winner in net on the opening night of ECAC Hockey play this year. Broc Little and Matt Nelson scored goals for the Elis while Billy Blase stopped 27 shots. The visitors outshot the Saints 38-30 and Saints goalie Alex Petizian had 36 saves.


Billy Blase stopped 32 shots and Brian O'Neill hit the net twice as Yale beat Harvard 6-2 on Jan. 10. It was Yale's third ever win at Bright and the largest margin of victory at Boston since 1941. Tom Dignard, Mark Arcobello, Pat Brosnihan and Jeff Anderson had the other goals as the Blue outshot the Crimson 38-34.


Alec Richards won the battle of hot netminders with 29 stops as Yale knocked off No. 15 Dartmouth 2-1 at Thompson Arena on Jan. 9. Despite going 0-for-5 on the power play, Yale killed off all five Green advantages (including the last 3:17). The Elis outshot Dartmouth 55-30. Jody O'Neill had 53 saves (25 in 1st) for Dartmouth while Broc Little and Brian O'Neill found the net for Yale.


Clarkson, which had the ECAC's most impressive non-conference win with a 4-2 decision over No. 2 Miami at the Ohio Classic on Jan. 2, has only that victory over the last 15 outings... Rookie goalie Paul Karpowich (3.01, .903, 3-11-3) has not had much support (2.0 gpg) at the other end of the rink... Sophomore F Lauri Tuohiaa leads the Knights with eight goals... SLU, coming off a weekend sweep of Clarkson, has won four out of five... The Saints, who have wins over UNH and Vermont, are getting solid goaltending from Alex Petizian (2.36, .918, 7-7-1) and balanced scoring... Casey Parenteau (Sr, F) leads the team with seven goals.


Brian O'Neill (Yardley, Pa.) led the Blue with three goals last weekend and was named ECAC Hockey Rookie of the Week on Jan. 12. O'Neill now has four goals over the last three games. His two GWG are second on the team and he is 18th among Division I rookies at .80 points per game.


Sophomore F Broc Little (Rindge, NH) leads the nation with four shorthanded goals, which ties the Yale record (Andy Weidenbach, 2004-05). His total is one short of the school career record by Weidenbach. 14 points over the last nine outings. He leads Yale with 16 points (9th in Division I with .64 GPG*), and he was named ECAC Offensive Player of the Week after netting three goals and five points on Dec. 5 and 6 against RPI and Union.


Three different Eli goalies have started the last three games and each was a Yale win. Sophomore Ryan Rondeau (Carvel, Alb.) stopped 30 of 32 shots to beat No. 17 MSU on Dec. 30 and then blocked 29 of 31 against No. 11 Air Force on Jan. 5. He is 3-1 with a 1.51 GAA and a .939 SP but was not available last weekend after an injury. Senior Alec Richards (Robbinsdale, Minn.) got the nod at No. 15 Dartmouth and stopped 29 of 30 shots. Richards (7-1, 2.75, .888) has been in goal for 27 Bulldog wins and owns career 2.90 GAA and .904 SP marks. Junior Billy Blase (Santa Monica, Calif.) took advantage of his first start since Dec. 6 by making a team-high 32 saves in a win at Harvard. He has a 3.02 GAA with a .906 SP.


Here's how the Elis stack up against the rest of the nation -- Scoring: 9th (3.47)... Defense: 21st (2.53)... PIM: 6th (19.7)... PP: 14th (18.8)... PK: 21st (85.9)


Yale, which last earned a national ranking in November 2006, is No. 19 in the Jan. 12 USCHO.com/CBS College Sports national poll. The Elis got nine votes in the USA Today/USA Hockey Magazine Poll.


Yale has wins over four teams that were listed in the USCHO.com Top 20 Poll at the time: Clarkson (15), Minnesota State (17), Air Force (11) and Dartmouth (15). Yale opponents currently ranked in that poll are Cornell (5), Princeton (10), Air Force (15), Dartmouth (18) and Nebraska-Omaha (20).


Junior F Sean Backman (Cos Cob, Conn.) is ranked seventh in Division I with a .67 goals-per-game average, He has a team-high 10 goals, including four two-goal outings. He was 2007 co-ECAC Hockey Rookie of the Year and a third-team all-league pick in 2008 (18-9-27). Backman, who had a team-high 11 shots on net at Dartmouth on Jan. 9, has been team MVP the last two years. He has 46 goals in 75 career games.


Six of the seven members of the class of 2012 have seen action and they have notched 12 goals. The Yale juniors (21 goals) and sophomores (15) have more, while the seniors (4) are not far behind.


Keith Allain '80, in his third year as the Malcolm G. Chace Head Coach of Hockey, is 2-3 against Clarkson and 2-3 vs. St. Lawrence. He is a two-time Olympic coach who played goal at Yale before becoming a coach. George Roll, the sixth-year Knights coach, is 7-7 against Yale. SLU mentor Joe Marsh, in his 24th season at Canton, is 32-34-6 against the Blue.


Ex-Yale captain Ray Giroux '98, who has 38 NHL games and earned a Stanley Cup Championship ring with the Devils, is in his fourth year of Russian pro hockey. He was selected as the No. 1 defenseman on Jaromir Jagr's team in the Continental League All-Star Game, which was played outdoors (3 degree temp) at Red Square last Saturday... Former Yale player Jeff Sorem '96 stars in a new documentary film called Pond Hockey that includes interviews with numerous former NHL stars. It follows the story of two teams playing in the first U.S. Pond Hockey Championships in Minneapolis. Sorem is the star of one of those teams and the main character in the film. To view the trailer, go to www.pondhockeymovie.com/trailer.html... F Jeff Hamilton '00 has 29 points (7 goals) in 28 games for the AHL Chicago Wolves... D Joe Callahan '05 played three games for the Islanders and the rest with the AHL Bridgeport Sound Tigers.


There is one former Yale player skating in the National Hockey League. Chris Higgins '05 is in his fifth season with the Montreal Canadiens and has 245 NHL games under his belt. Higgins has 77 goals, 60 assists and 137 points, including 4-5-9 in 18 playoff games and 5-4-9 this season. He is currently out with an injury. The only other Eli to skate in the NHL this season is Joe Callahan '05, who had three games with the Islanders in December.


Junior F Mark Arcobello (Milford, Conn.) ranks third in GWG with three and is 17th nationally with .53 goals per game... Junior Tom Dignard (Reading, Mass.) ranks 18th among defenseman nationally with .73 points per game... The Elis have outshot every opponent this year except Minnesota State (32-31) on Dec. 30... Yale has 18 PPG compared to 21 in all of 2007-08; The school record for PPG in a season is 59 in 1985-86... The Blue is 6-1 on the road, the only loss coming at SLU in OT.


Every home game can be seen live on Yale's All Access (yalebulldogs.com) for free. All home games and select road contests can be heard live on WYBC (AM 1340) and wybc.com. Alex Jenson `09 provides the call for most broadcasts.


Yale and Fairfield are co-hosting the first-ever NCAA Hockey Regional Tournament in the Nutmeg State on March 27-28 at the Arena at Harbor Yard in Bridgeport. There are four regional events that weekend with the winners headed to Washington, D.C., for the 2009 Frozen Four. Yale hosted the 2004 NCAA Women's Frozen Four at the Dunkin Donuts Center in Providence, R.I., but has never hosted a men's NCAA hockey event. More than 2,500 tickets have already been sold. The one and only appearance for Yale at an NCAA Regional was in 1998 at Ann Arbor, Mich., against Ohio State.


The Elis are on TV at four times this winter, including two games at Ingalls Rink. Both Quinnipiac games are live TV broadcasts. The game at Ingalls on Jan. 31 is on NESN while the Feb. 20 tilt at TD Banknorth Arena airs live on My9. Yale at Union on Feb. 13 is one of three ECAC games to air live on the NHL Network this regular season. That same network also has three ECAC post-season games. The last game of the regular season is a stand-alone, 4 p.m. ESPNU game with Yale and Colgate on Sunday, March 1, at the Whale.


A $23.5 million renovation of historic David S. Ingalls Rink is in the second of three phases. The project includes the addition of approximately 13,000 square feet of varsity operational space as well as a complete renovation of the current facility. The expanded and enhanced home of Yale Hockey will include new men's and women's varsity locker rooms, training and strength and conditioning rooms, two new press boxes, a lower level hockey heritage area, offices for coaches of both programs, a student-athlete study area, new lights, as well as a sound system and de-humidification unit. The upper level interior will also be decorated with photos displaying the rich history of Yale Hockey.