Wednesday, February 10, 2016

ECAC Hockey hands Yale's Rob O'Gara one-game suspension

Earlier today, ECAC Hockey announced supplemental discipline in the form of a one-game suspension to Yale's Rob O'Gara. The All-American defenseman will miss this weekend's series at Colgate and Cornell after a game disqualification penalty issued on Saturday night against Harvard.

The league made the decision on Monday. There was a delay in the announcement as the league reviewed Yale's appeal.

"We've spent the last couple of days fighting with the league over this one," Yale coach Keith Allain said prior to Wednesday's practice at Ingalls Rink. "My suggestion is you should probably watch the video of the vicious hit (O'Gara) took and come to your own conclusions."

In the third period of Yale's 2-1 victory over the Crimson, O'Gara was sent head-first into the boards by Harvard's Sean Malone. O'Gara remained on the ice for several seconds holding his head. No penalty was called. When he staggered to his feet, he turned to see Malone charging toward him. The two collided, each knocking the other back a step, before O'Gara hit Malone across the side of his head with his stick.

Referees issued O'Gara a 5-minute major and game disqualification.

O'Gara, a Boston Bruins draft pick, is known as one of the top shutdown defensemen in the nation. Yale had been the least penalized team in the country leading into the Harvard game (they're now the fifth least-penalized.) O'Gara had taken eight penalties for 16 minutes in 22 previous games, and doesn't have a history or reputation as a dirty player.

"None whatsoever," Allain said. "Rob's a terrific young man. He's an asset to our university; an asset to our hockey program. We'll miss him, but we have to figure out how to win without him. That's our job right now."


Saturday, January 9, 2016

Yale to sign big-time deal with Under Armour

Yale athletics has little in common with the fat cats of the college sports world, but it’s about to get a deal worthy of the Power Five.

Yale and sportswear giant Under Armour signed a long-term partnership that will outfit the athletic program for the next decade. The deal, expected to be announced Monday, is the first exclusive shoe, apparel and equipment contract in school history.

Under Armour, which famously outfits Maryland and Notre Dame, recently overtook Adidas as the second-largest sports apparel company in the United States and was on track to earn $4 billion in net revenue for 2015. Word is it was anxious to crack into the Ivy League, and more specifically, Yale.

Terms of the deal aren’t likely to be made public, but sources say it’s a 10-year contract is worth in the neighborhood of $16 million, making it higher in annual value than current Nike deals for Big 10 conference members Illinois and Rutgers.

It’s a major coup for Yale, especially since a portion of the contract will be paid in cash to help boost the school’s annual operations budget. No official word yet, but expect more TV broadcasts, more big-name opponents in New Haven and, perhaps, Under Armour-sponsored hockey and basketball tournaments.

One thing loyal Yale fans and alums needn’t worry about is tradition. Maryland, Texas Tech and even Navy allowed Under Armour to make wild changes to uniform color schemes and football helmets. But the university isn’t interested in radical revamps. So breathe easy. Yale Blue is untouchable.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Streaking Bobcats

Quinnipiac is off to the best start to a season in program history. Curious to see where it ranks among the best starts of all-time, I pored through media guides of all 60 Division I teams to cull data. Here's how the Bobcats stack up against the longest season-opening streaks in Division I since Cornell finished the 1969-70 season at 29-0. (NOTE: this post will be updated accordingly):

LONGEST WIN STREAKS TO BEGIN A SEASON SINCE 1970
10: Michigan Tech, 2014-15
11: Quinnipiac, 2015-16
12: Northeastern, 1980-81
13: Air Force, 2008-09
13: Ohio State, 1983-84
15: Harvard, 1986-87
15: Harvard, 1988-89
16: St. Lawrence, 1988-89
21: Boston University, 1977-78

NCAA RECORD
29: Cornell 1969-70, finished season unbeaten and untied

LONGEST UNBEATEN STREAKS TO BEGIN A SEASON SINCE 1970
13: Air Force (13-0), 2008-09
13: Minnesota (11-0-2), 2001-02
13: Ohio State (13-0), 1983-84
14: Wisconsin (13-0-1), 1981-82
14: Boston University (13-0-1), 1970-71
15: Providence (12-0-3), 2015-2016
15: Harvard (15-0), 1988-89
15: Harvard (15-0), 1986-87
16: St. Lawrence (16-0), 1988-89
17: Quinnipiac (15-0-2), 2015-2016
18: Colorado College (15-0-3), 1995-96
19: Maine (14-0-5), 1994-95
21: Boston University (21-0), 1977-78
29: Maine (28-0-1), 1992-93
29: Cornell (29-0), 1969-70


Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Keith Allain discusses Yale's incoming class

We released the names of the seven incoming freshman about a month ago. All seven are clear and set to enroll, so Keith Allain was able to break down the class. Here's the link to my Register article that ran today.

A couple of additional notes: Yale is still planning on two games in Arizona this January, but the Arizona Coyotes are working on a two-day, four-team tournament at the NHL arena. Two more opponents are working to shift things around in order to attend. If all works out, the tournament will be Friday and Sunday, with the Coyotes playing a home game on Saturday night. If not, Yale would simply play two games against Arizona State, at least one expected to be at Gila River Arena.

Allain said he's very close to finalizing a replacement for assistant coach Dan Muse, who departed for the Chicago Steel of the USHL a couple weeks ago.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Quinnipiac announces recruiting class

There will be six recruits, three forwards and three defenseman, enrolling at Quinnipiac this fall. Nelson Gadoury could be the seventh, but that has yet to be decided. Here's the story I wrote in today's Register detailing the new class.

Quick future scheduling note for Quinnipiac: in addition to a game with Arizona State at High Point Solutions Arena on Oct. 15, the Sun Devils will return to Hamden in 2016-17 for a two-game set. Quinnipiac travels to Tempe, Ariz. for two games the following season.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Yale bringing in seven recruits

While Yale's roster featured seven seniors this past winter, only three, Tommy Fallen, Matt Killian and Trent Ruffolo, were regulars in the lineup. A broken fibula sidelined Anthony Day until the ECAC playoffs. Nico Weberg and Alex Ward combined to play just 11 games before injuries ended their seasons. Goaltender Connor Wilson saw no action, stuck behind the best goaltender in the country.

The Bulldogs will replenish with seven recruits. Four forwards, two defensemen and a goalie will fill the holes left by the departed (Killian arrived as a defensemen, but transitioned to forward.)

Here's the new class.

FORWARDS

Andrew Gaus, Wexford, Pa., 2/23/95 (age 20), 6-1, 180, RW, Cedar Rapids (USHL): Has 14 goals and 18 assists in 58 games for Cedar Rapids, now competing in the USHL playoffs. Prepped at Taft and led the team in scoring twice. Chose Yale over Harvard.

Joe Snively, Herndon, Va., 1/1/96 (age 19), 5-8, 160, C/LW, Sioux City (USHL): His 27 goals, 37 assists and 64 points was tied for fourth in the USHL this season. Extensive international experience. Won gold at the Under-19 Junior-A Challenge in Saskatoon in December; bronze at the Junior Club World Cup in Ufa, Russia last summer. Made the U.S. Under-18 Selects team that played in the Hlinka tournament in the Czech Republic and Slovakia in 2013. Team MVP at South Kent in 2012. Chose Yale over Harvard, Providence, Boston College and New Hampshire.

Ted Hart, Cumberland, Maine, 2/20/96 (age 19), 5-11, 172, C/RW, Phillips Exeter Academy: All-New England pick after scoring 24 goals and 24 assists this season. Exeter went 24-4-2 and were the top-seed heading into the playoffs before being upset. Older brother Brian played at Harvard this season and was a second-round pick of Tampa Bay. Another brother, Kevin, played at Providence and is currently in the ECHL. Ted was originally committed to Providence. Maine and New Hampshire had also shown interest.

J.M. Piotrowski, Naperville, Ill., 5/1/95 (age 20), 6-2, 180, Sioux Falls (USHL): Well-traveled Junior career includes stops with the Chicago Fury, Dallas Junior Stars, Wichita Wildcats and Fargo Force prior to this winter. Began the season in Bismarck. Combined for 14 goals, 10 assists in 58 games, with 120 penalty minutes.

DEFENSEMEN

Anthony Walsh, Burr Ridge, Ill., 9/21/95 (age 20), 5-10, 180, Sioux City (USHL): Two goals and nine assists between Green Bay and Sioux City this season.

Charlie Curti, Mound, Minn., 5/24/95 (age 20), 5-11, 192, Cedar Rapids (USHL): Five goals, 19 assists this season. Won gold at Under-19 World Junior-A Challenge in Saskatoon in December.

GOALTENDER

Sam Tucker, Wilton, Conn., 4/16/96 (age 19), 6-2, 175, Choate: Four year starter put up impressive numbers during his prep school career. Named all-league. Led Choate in wins and trip to New England semifinals. Won USA Hockey U-18 national championship with Hartford Junior Wolfpack earlier this month in Buffalo, a team coached by ex-Quinnipiac skater Scott Robson and Doug Messier, father of Mark Messier.

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Alex Lyon, Rob O'Gara to return next season

The Bruins wanted Rob O'Gara now. Alex Lyon is still receiving interest. Both will be back in New Haven next season. The story:

NEW HAVEN >> Alex Lyon’s numbers were second to none, yet he lost out on the Mike Richter Award as the nation’s top goaltender earlier Friday. But Yale’s rising star would get his due later in the afternoon, named an All-American along with teammate Rob O’Gara.


Perhaps the best news of the day for Yale? Their coach, Keith Allain, confirmed both will put off the NHL and return to school in the fall.


Lyon, a sophomore, and O’Gara, a junior defenseman, were named first-team All-Americans by the American Hockey Coaches Association. The announcement came during a ceremony at Matthews Arena in Boston, part of the Frozen Four weekend’s festivities.

Lyon is Yale’s first first-team All-American goalie since Mike O’Neill in 1989. Alex Westlund was the last Yale goalie to be so honored, as a second-team pick in 1998. O’Gara is the first Bulldog All-American defenseman since Ray Giroux was selected to the first team in 1998.


North Dakota goaltender Zane McIntyre won the Richter Award, and was also a first-team All-American, despite Lyon leading the country in goals-against average (1.62), save percentage (.939) and shutouts (7). That wasn’t surprising, if only because McIntyre was the lone goaltender named Hobey Baker finalist last month.


Still, it’s hard to argue another goalie more valuable to their team than Lyon, who’d already won the Ken Dryden Award winner as the ECAC’s most outstanding goalie.


“The big thing was his consistency,” Allain said. “You knew what you were going to get every day at practice, every weekend going into games. He has the right combination of physical ability, mental toughness and hockey sense. To me, that’s why he’s a really good goalie.”


O’Gara, the ECAC’s top defensive defenseman, was also Yale’s second-leading scorer with 21 points. He entered the year with 18 career points over two seasons.


“Rob epitomizes what we want to be about as a program, and that’s growth,” Allain said. “He was a contributor as a freshman, was much better as a sophomore, and during the last half of this year was a dominant player. He was better in every aspect of the game.”


Both players opened the eyes of NHL suitors this winter. O’Gara, a fifth-round draft pick of the Boston Bruins in 2011, certainly appeared ready for the next level, something Allain sensed by Christmas break.


“We sat down and I just wanted to get him ready for the fact that Boston would probably try to sign him,” Allain said. “We talked about a lot of things. He wants to get his degree; his parents want him to get his degree. I said that’s good, put you have to be in position to say no to something you want, so you have to get your mind ready for that. Boston was good about it. They approached him. But they like the situation he’s in; he’s getting better. The opportunity was there if he wanted to leave, but there was never any pressure put on him to do so.”


Lyon, an undrafted free agent, has received interest from multiple clubs. He’s committed to Yale next season, but may face a difficult choice at this time next year.


Allain spent the week conducting year-end individual meetings and evaluations with his team. Yale returns nearly its entire roster from a team that led the country in scoring defense and nearly beat Boston University in the opening round of the NCAA tournament.


With O’Gara and Lyon in tow, the Bulldogs should be early favorites to win the ECAC and in the conversation for national championship honors.


“I’m really pleased for both of those guys,” Allain said. “They’re great players and great people who work extremely hard at their sport. They’ve earned the right to be All-Americans. It’s fantastic.”