Thursday, January 8, 2015

On to Madison Square Garden


Yale visited the nation's oldest active hockey arena on Tuesday, dropping a tough 3-2 decision at Northeastern's Matthews Arena. On Saturday, they'll take on Harvard in "The World's Most Famous Arena." A few notes from today's practice at Ingalls Rink. (Is it just me, or does Jesse Root look a little like Elvis in the above photo?)

  • The initial "Rivalry on Ice" contract was two years, but all signs indicate Yale and Harvard will continue to play a third regular season game. Keith Allain said he's blocked off a date on next year's non-conference schedule, and that the Crimson have done the same. Harvard, Yale and the firm promoting the game, the Leverage Agency, plan to meet soon to discuss the financial viability of MSG. As of this afternoon, ticket sales were over 11,000, about 2,000 behind where sales on this date last year. Still, a projected crowd of 13,000 should bode well for continuing the game. "I'd like to see it stay on the docket, even if it's not an annual event," Allain said.
  • Yale took a quick 2-0 lead in the first period at Northeastern, but the overall performance was not nearly the same level as an impressive win over Vermont three days prior. "I don't think we played particularly well on Tuesday. But I'm pleased with the way we've progressed after the break," Allain said. "I'm chalking Tuesday's game up to fatigue. We took yesterday off, and the group seems feeling good about themselves."
  • Yale will practice at Ingalls Rink Friday and head into the city that evening because the Garden won't have ice until Saturday night. Billy Joel plays there Friday night (Allain is looking for two tickets, if you're looking to unload any) and the Knicks will play (excuse me, lose) to the Hornets Saturday afternoon.
  • Allain is holding out hope that injured forwards Anthony Day, Tim Bonner and Nico Weberg will be back by season's end.
  • Had a chance to speak with freshman defenseman Nate Repensky for a story running in the paper tomorrow. He overcame a broken fibula and ankle ligament damage last spring, slowly working his way back into hockey shape, and is now being used on special teams.
  • Mark Messier, Mike Richter and George Pataki will again drop the ceremonial first puck at MGS on Saturday.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Yale's John Hayden named alternate captain of Team USA

John Hayden, Yale's leading scorer, was named an alternate captain of the U.S. entry into the World Junior Championships. Boston University freshman Jack Eichel is the team captain. Defenseman Will Butcher, a sophomore at Denver, is the other alternate captain.

The U.S. has wins over Boston University and Germany in exhibitions leading into the World tournament, set to begin Dec. 26 in Toronto and Montreal. The U.S. plays Sweden today in the last tune-up leading into the opener against Finland in Montreal, to be televised live (3 p.m.) by the NHL Network.

Monday, December 22, 2014

Quinnipiac's Matt Lemire transfers to UMass Boston

Quinnipiac's Matt Lemire has transferred to UMass-Boston, the Register has learned. Sources indicated Lemire's decision was based on his interest in regular playing time. The junior forward had played in only 21 career games for the Bobcats, four this season, and has no career points.

UMass Boston, a member of the Division III ECAC East, is off to a 10-0 start under the direction of ex-UConn assistant Peter Belisle.

Lemire, a Townsend, Massachusetts resident, was an ECAC All-Academic selection but was unable to crack the lineup with any consistency. He saw no action as a freshman, played in 17 games last winter and four of the Bobcats 16 games this season.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Yale's John Hayden, Keith Allain talk World Junior Championships

Few things get Yale coach Keith Allain to light up with excitement more than the World Junior Championships. John Hayden, a sophomore forward, was named to the U.S. roster earlier this week. There are still seven cuts looming after the team convenes in Boston Dec. 16, but Allain, a three-time head coach of the U.S. entry, thinks Hayden is well positioned to make the final roster.

"I think he’s got a really good chance," Allain said. "They’ve got a role for him, and they understand what he’s going to be, and they know him as a player really well."

Hayden didn't make the preliminary roster last December after being invited to the team's summer training camp. He's determined to make the final roster.

"This has been a goal of mine a long time, to make this team," Hayden said. "Summer camp went well, I had good chemistry with those guys, and I'm looking forward to Boston. Hearing my name is on that roster is very special to me. I want to prove I belong on that team."

Allain has coached in the Stanley Cup playoffs, the Olympics, the IIHF World Championships, the World Cup of Hockey and the NCAA playoffs. He says none compare to the World Junior Championships, which he calls the "greatest hockey tournament in the world." That the event is essentially a week-long national holiday in Canada only adds to the atmosphere. And Allain is every bit as excited as Hayden at the opportunity to play in front of sold-out crowds in the NHL arenas of Montreal and Toronto, if that's possible.

"I'd like nothing more for him than to have that experience. I was thrilled Dan Muse was an assistant the last two teams. I talked to him before the first year, and I said I can’t describe it to you, but I’m telling you…because you're immersed in it and you’re with this group of 30 people and you become a family in like two days and you’re doing everything together and everything is about the tournament and the team and its just really unique." 

A few other notes from Yale as it prepares for RPI on Friday and Union on Saturday, a meeting of the past two NCAA champions.

** Scoring goals hasn't been an issue since Allain took over at Yale. So the 2.11 goals-per game through nine games is concerning. Allain feels the Bulldogs are vastly improved since a flat loss to St. Lawrence on Nov. 15. "I think, really, from my perspective, if we field passes a little cleaner that'll give us the split second we need to get a better shot off. I just think our precision passing is getting better but its not as good as it needs to be to score goals."


** Scoring is down across the ECAC. Yale, at 2.11 goals-per game, is scoring less than it did during a 5-25-2 season of 2004-05 (2.19). Still, it ranks sixth in the league in scoring offense, better than Cornell, Clarkson, RPI, Princeton, Brown, all under two goals-per game. "I think our record right now, you can't be upset with how we're doing," Yale forward Carson Cooper said. "You always want to be doing better, you want to score more. But the way our defense is coming around, that's something to be proud of. Hopefully we can get the scoring coming, but we have been scoring and winning games."

** Indeed, team defense and goaltending is as strong as ever. The start to Alex Lyon's sophomore campaign has been brilliant. Patrick Spano, in his first start of the season, shut out RIT. Having multiple, extremely capable goaltenders presents some challenges. "Making sure everyone feels valuable and are contributing to the team," Allain said. "And keeping guys fresh so when you need them they are able to perform. Those are challenges. But the benefits certainly outweigh any challenges it may present."

** The main challenges for Yale have been dealing with injuries. Anthony Day, Nico Weberg and Tim Bonner have missed multiple games. Allain doesn't get into specifics, but acknowledged there are a couple of players who won't be back any time soon. Dealing with adversity is part of the game. "Everyone has to deal with stuff, and that's why we don't talk about it much," Allain said. "Whether it's guys banged up or the ref makes a bad call or our goalie lets in a bad goal. Whatever the situation may be, that's the way it's supposed to be. Figure it out."

Monday, November 24, 2014

Quinnipiac auction on Friday night will benefit Rett Syndrome

Quinnipiac Men's Ice Hockey To Auction Game Worn Jerseys To Benefit Rett Syndrome Research

HAMDEN, Conn. – Quinnipiac University men's ice hockey has announced a partnership with RettSyndrome.org to auction game-worn jerseys to raise awareness and benefit research into Rett Syndrome. The Bobcats will wear limited edition jerseys for its game against the University of Massachusetts on Nov. 28, 2014 at High Point Solutions Arena at the TD Bank Sports Center.
Fans interested in bidding on the jerseys can do so in the lobby of the TD Bank Sports Center or by visiting the online auction site at http://rettauction.org/. Tickets to Friday night's game can be purchased by calling the TD Bank Sports Center Ticket Office at 203-582-3905 or log on to QuinnipiacBobcats.com to purchase online.
"We're extremely proud to have partnered with so many great charitable organizations in the 21 years that I've been here," head coach Rand Pecknold said. "This year I am truly looking forward to raising awareness and support for Rett Syndrome and the families who are impacted by this terrible disorder. Our guys are excited for the opportunity to be a part of something that is so meaningful to so many people and we look forward to a great event."
Rettsyndrome.org is a non-profit organization dedicated to providing thorough and accurate information about Rett syndrome, empowering families, and stimulating research. Rettsyndrome.org has funded over $34M in high-quality, peer-reviewed research grants and programs to date making it the world's leading private funder of Rett syndrome research.
 "It isn't every day that we are able to partner with an institute like Quinnipiac University and their Men's Hockey Team for such an inspiring event," Rettsyndrome.org COO Shannon Starkey-Taylor said. "Our hope is that the awareness and fundraising that is produced from this partnership will further our mission to fund research, and support the children and their families affected by Rett syndrome."
In addition to the game-worn Quinnipiac jerseys to be auctioned off, the Boston Bruins have also donated a team-autographed  jersey for auction.
Rettsyndrome.org is the most comprehensive nonprofit organization dedicated to providing information and family empowerment while accelerating research of treatments and a cure for Rett syndrome and related disorders.  As the world's leading private funder of basic, translational and clinical Rett syndrome research, Rettsyndrome.org has funded over $34M in high-quality, peer-reviewed research grants and programs to date. The organization hosts the largest global gathering of Rett researchers and clinicians to establish research direction for the future.  Rettsyndrome.org, a 501(c)3 organization,  has earned Charity Navigator's most prestigious 4 star rating year after year.  To learn more about our work and Rett syndrome, visit  www.rettsyndrome.org or call us at 1-800-818-7388(RETT).

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Inaugural Tim Taylor Cup at stake Saturday



Another outstanding memorial for an outstanding man.

Press release:

Inaugural Tim Taylor Cup To be Presented Saturday After Harvard-Yale Hockey Game
Most Outstanding Player of Annual Contest To Receive Award In Memory of Revered Coach
Friends and peers of the late Tim Taylor have created an award that honors the former Harvard, Yale and USA Hockey coach. The Tim Taylor Cup will be presented to the most outstanding player of the annual Harvard-Yale men’s hockey game played in Boston. The first presentation takes place this Saturday at the conclusion of the game at Harvard’s Bright-Landry Center. Game time is 7:00 p.m.

“Timmy was a very special person to so many of us in the hockey community,” said Joe Bertagna, a former Harvard goaltender who played for and coached with Taylor. “He was a teacher who always had time for fellow coaches and so many players along the way. Given his association with both institutions, we felt that this was a proper way to honor his contributions to our game.”

Taylor was a member of the Harvard Class of 1963, serving as captain of the 1962-63 squad that captured the ECAC Championship. He later returned to his alma mater as freshman coach and assistant varsity coach to Bill Cleary. He was named Yale’s head coach in 1978 and enjoyed a remarkable 28-year run in New Haven, winning 337 games for the Bulldogs.

In addition to his work at the college level, Tim was active with USA Hockey in a number of roles. He was an assistant coach to Lou Vairo for the 1984 Olympic Games. In 1991, he served as acting head coach for Team USA in the Canada Cup Tournament, leading the team to a silver medal when head coach Bob Johnson suffered a stroke just prior to the start of the tournament. In 1994, he served as head coach and general manager of the U.S. Olympic Team in Lillehammer, Norway. As recently as 2013, he was a key advisor to the U.S. Junior National Team that won gold at the World Championships at Ufa, Russia.

“Timmy was passionate about the game his entire life,” added Ben Smith, who, played at Harvard, coached with Taylor at Yale and also works for USA Hockey. “He never tired of watching and studying the game and sharing his observations with others. He was very generous with his time and only had the best interests in growing the game both at home and on the international stage.”

Tim Taylor passed away on April 27, 2013, after a courageous four-year battle with cancer. Some 700 friends and colleagues filled Harvard’s Memorial Church on June 1 of that year to pay their respects. In addition to this award, the ECAC has named its Coach of the Year award after Tim and the Hockey Commissioners Association named its national Rookie of the Year award in his honor as well.

The first Tim Taylor Cup will be presented by a member of Tim’s family at the conclusion of this Saturday night’s game, the recipient to be chosen by representatives from the schools and the media attending the game.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

No tickets left for UConn-Sacred Heart at Taft


UConn played before 8,000 at the XL Center last week. Its next in-state game will be a true sellout, just a bit smaller. All 950 seats at Watertown's Taft School have been sold for Friday night's game between UConn and Sacred Heart. The game serves as a benefit for the family of North Haven's Jason Pagni, a local hockey coach killed in a car accident in January. All proceeds from the night, which includes a raffle and silent auction, are being donated to Pagni's widow and two young children.