Sunday, January 30, 2011

My top 20 ballot

Not an easy week to sort out a top 20 ranking list. Those in my top 10 last week struggled, and those I ranked 10-20 last week all did well. Here's what I'm submitting to USCHO this week.

Rank Team (record) How I ranked them last week
1. Denver (16-5-5) 2
2. New Hampshire (15-5-4) 7
3. Boston College (18-6) 4
4. Yale (17-4) 1
5. Minnesota-Duluth (17-5-3) 5
6. Michigan (17-7-4) 3
7. Wisconsin (19-8-3) 9
8. North Dakota (19-8-2) 6
9. Merrimack (15-5-4) 10
10. Notre Dame (16-9-5) 11
11. Boston University (12-7-7) 12
12. Western Michigan (14-6-8) 13
13. Union (18-7-3) 15
14. Maine (11-7-6) 8
15. RPI (17-6-3) 16
16. Miami (14-9-5) 14
17. Dartmouth (12-6-3) 18
18. Princeton (14-6-1) 20
19. Nebraska-Omaha (14-10-2) 17
20. Colorado College (15-12-1) NR

Dropped out: Ohio State (13-12-2) 19

Monday, January 24, 2011

SLU's Flanagan suspended for hit on Yale's O'Neill

Apparently, Flanagan was indeed issued a game DQ Saturday. It was announced over the PA at Ingalls Rink as a game DQ, but not listed as such in the final postgame penalty summary. So, he's out one for that and another due to the ECAC suspension.

League Issues Suspension

ALBANY, N.Y. -- ECAC Hockey today announced that St. Lawrence senior forward Sean Flanagan has been assessed a one-game suspension, in accordance with the League’s supplemental discipline process, as the result of his actions in the St. Lawrence at Yale contest Saturday, January 22 at Ingalls Rink.

The League action was taken after review of an incident that occurred with six seconds remaining in the third period of the Saints-Bulldogs contest. Flanagan was assessed a major penalty and game disqualification, which per NCAA ice hockey rules includes an automatic one-game suspension, by the on-ice officials.

Based upon the League’s action, Flanagan is not eligible to compete in St. Lawrence’s next two games. He shall fulfill the game disqualification penalty Friday when the Saints host Princeton, and serve the League-issued suspension Saturday when the Saints face Quinnipiac.

Chip's Top 20

I vote in the USCHO national poll. Here's what my ballot looked like this week.

1. Yale
2. Denver
3. Michigan
4. Boston College
5. Minnesota-Duluth
6. North Dakota
7. New Hampshire
8. Maine
9. Wisconsin
10. Merrimack
11. Notre Dame
12. Boston University
13. Western Michigan
14. Miami
15. Union
16. RPI
17. Nebraska-Omaha
18. Dartmouth
19. Ohio State
20. Princeton

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Yale/St. Lawrence postgame

Yale started slow and remained close thanks to penalty-killing, defense and goaltending of Ryan Rondeau. Kenny Agostino (two goals) gave the Bulldogs a lead heading into the third period, and they had their way with the Saints over the last 30 minutes.

“We got life from our penalty kills tonight,” Yale coach Keith Allain said. “Mason’s line was outstanding; they shut down their big line that has almost half their goals. Rondeau was very, very good as well, particularly early.”

Bit of a melee at the end. Brian O'Neill, after scoring an empty-net goal, was pulled to the ground by St. Lawrence's Sean Flanagan. Yale defenseman Mike Matczak quickly jumped on Flanagan, and Brendan Mason wasn't far behind. Punches were thrown, scrums broke out, but in the end just game misconducts for Matczak, Mason, Flanagan and Jeremy Wick of the Saints. Refs were kind, as it looked like there was cause for game DQ penalties.

Flanagan was also issued a 5-minute major for hitting from behind, but the video showed that call was a little dramatic. Flanagan hooked O'Neill by the arm after the play, and O'Neill crashed hard and awkwardly into the boards. Hate to see plays like Flanagan's -- contact after an empty-net goal is uncalled for -- but it wasn't near the level of cheap shot we saw at Ingalls a couple of years ago when Dartmouth's Joe Stejkal boarded Sean Backman after an empty-net goal. Backman suffered a concussion and missed time; Dartmouth, in a rather unclassy move, tried to defend Stejkal's actions in a press release when the ECAC suspended Stejkal one game for the hit.

Yale is now 17-2, 11-1 in the ECAC and heads to the Capitol District for a huge weekend against Union and RPI.

St. Lawrence/Yale pregame

I've been covering Yale hockey for 12 years now, and I swear Ingalls Rink has never been this cold. It's an ice box in here. But it should warm up soon. The game was sold out well in advance, and it reminded me a little of being at Yankee Stadium walking from the parking lot to the gate tonight. Shady looking guys staked out behind telephone poles looking to scalp tickets, and others asking any and everyone who walks past, including yours truly, if they have any extras.

Yale running the same lines as last night, with one change. Antoine Laganiere starts in place of Josh Balch at right wing on the Agostino/Bourbonais line. Seems that's the one spot that isn't set in stone yet, at least while Jesse Root and Jeff Anderson remain out with injury.

Longtime Saints coach Joe Marsh is not with St. Lawrence this weekend. He's at Mass General recovering from a surgical procedure. Associate coach Bob Prier will run the show tonight. Matt Weininger starts in goal.

St. Lawrence lines are as follows:
K. Flanagan-Bogosian-Carey
Pitsikoulis-Drewiske-S. Flanagan

Dewey-M. Raley
Child-P. Raley

Referees are Robert St. Lawrence (oh, the irony) and Harry Dumas. Kenneth Gates and Joe Testa are the linesmen.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Yale still owns the third period.

Yale's 5-2 victory over Clarkson tonight was physical and hard-fought. It was also an important win, if only because the Bulldogs showed they are still in control of the third period.

Last Sunday, Yale took the lead in the third at Brown only to watch the Bears score two in the final 7 minutes, the winner coming on a breakaway with 46 seconds left, to hand the Bulldogs their second loss of the season. In Yale's only other loss this year, it took a three-goal third-period lead only to see Air Force storm back with four unanswered goals and the win.

So when Clarkson's Julien Cayer tied it at 2-2 early in the third period, there may have been reasonable cause for concern. But Yale, which has now outscored opponents 30-14 in the third period, took the lead for good on Kenny Agostino's impressive individual effort at 8:44.

Agostino, a freshman, controlled a long chip pass from Josh Balch around the Clarkson blue line. He squeezed between two defenders into the slot and, holding off one defender with his left hand, swung his stick one-handed like a polo player to beat goalie Paul Karpowich. Denny Kearney and Chris Cahill added goals in the final minute to seal the deal for Yale.

"We went into the third period with the lead, we relinquished the lead and on some teams that would make you weaker,” Yale coach Keith Allain said. “It appeared to make us stronger. We came right out after they tied it, and we had our best moments of the game after that. It tells you a lot about the character and makeup of this group.”

Yale-Clarkson pregame

Greetings from Ingalls Rink. Logistics dictated my need to be here two hours early. Between the three feet of snow eliminating much of the street parking and the rejuvenation of Yale hockey becoming the hottest ticket in town, getting to the rink early is now a must. For me. Fans should know enough to be here early.

Clarkson's band made the trip from the nether regions of Upstate New York's North Country, and are hanging around waiting to fire up their instruments 90 minutes prior to face off. Yale's band will be here too. Ingalls' acoustics aren't the best for dueling bands, and both happen to be facing the press box. Glad I have Tylenol.

Yale is sticking with the lineup it has used the past few games. Clinton Bourbonais gets the start at center again for injured Jesse Root, while Josh Balch is at right wing on the line with freshman Kenny Agostino. Balch and Antoine Laganiere have traded off the one spot in the Bulldogs lineup that isn't set in stone at this point.

Clarkson's lineup is replete with NHL draft picks and guys from Ontario (their are 10 in the lineup tonight) sporting unusual jersey numbers. No. 93 Allan McPherson is either playing right wing or defensive tackle. And No. 89 Bryan Rufenach is at split end.

Here are the lines for the Knights tonight.



Karpowich in goal

Monday, January 17, 2011

Yale still No. 1, and a few other notes

Yale lost a game and in the process its 10-game winning streak on Sunday at Brown. But it didn’t lose its No. 1 national ranking.
The Bulldogs (15-2) are the top-ranked team in the top 20 poll for the seventh straight week, though they dropped seven first-place votes after a 3-2 setback in Providence, R.I. Sunday afternoon. Yale received 38 first-place votes (down from 45 last week) while No. 2 North Dakota had nine.
The No. 1 ranking was retained by Yale due to a combination of its impressive record — no other team in the country has fewer than four losses — and the fact that each of the top five teams in last week’s poll had at least one loss over the weekend.
The Bulldogs rebounded nicely after their last loss, back on Nov. 14 at Air Force. In the moments after Sunday’s game against Brown, despite playing well enough to win the game, Yale players were sufficiently annoyed at losing.
"I think it’s a really good thing for our team," Yale junior forward Brian O’Neill said. "We can definitely learn from this. I think it’s a good wake-up call; maybe we were complacent in the past on this win streak we were on. It will help down the line."
Yale plays host to Clarkson (Friday) and St. Lawrence (Saturday) at Ingalls Rink this weekend.


The Quinnipiac women’s hockey team entered the national top 10 despite not playing last weekend, earning a No. 10 ranking in the new poll released Monday. The women’s poll only ranks the top 10 teams.
Quinnipiac (15-7-1) have won six of seven games heading into today’s meeting with New Hampshire in Hamden. Freshman Kelly Babstock has been a key to the Bobcats success with 20 goals and 20 assists.


Quinnipiac has the weekend off from regular season competition, but will keeps itself sharp with an exhibition against the United States National Team Developmental Program’s Under-18 squad on Saturday night at 7 at the TD Bank Sports Center.
The U.S. roster consists of some of the top high school seniors in the nation. They compete in the United States Junior Hockey League, but play several exhibitions against top college teams. Team USA has yet to defeat a Division I opponent this year, and is 2-9 overall (the wins coming over Division III Bowdoin and Southern Maine) against college opponents.
All but two of the players on the roster have committed to Division I colleges. That includes defenseman Michael Paliotta of Westport (Vermont) and forward Ryan Haggerty of Stamford (RPI). The team is coached by Ron Rolston, a former assistant at Harvard, Clarkson and Boston College and the older brother of longtime New Jersey Devil forward Brian Rolston.


Yale, along with Fairfield University, is again playing co-host to the NCAA East Regional at the Arena at Harbor Yard in Bridgeport on March 25-26. The Bulldogs, as long as they receive a bid to the tournament, are guaranteed a spot in Bridgeport.
Here’s our attempt at predicting the Bridgeport field: No. 1 Yale vs. No. 16 Rochester Institute of Technology; No. 8 Wisconsin vs. No. 10 Maine.
And the rest of the NCAA field:
Northeast Regional at Manchester, N.H.: No. 4 Minnesota-Duluth vs. No. 13 Boston University; No. 6 Michigan vs. No. 9 New Hampshire; Midwest Regional at Green Bay, Wis.: No. 2 North Dakota vs. No. 15 Nebraska-Omaha; No. 7 Notre Dame vs. No. 11 Dartmouth; West Regional at St. Louis: No. 3 Denver vs. No. 14 Merrimack; No. 5 Boston College vs. No. 12 Union.


Wallingford’s Lee Moffie, a sophomore defenseman at Michigan, had a goal in each game in a three-point weekend for the Wolverines, who swept Ferris State in a Central Collegiate Hockey Association series. ... West Haven’s Michael Pereira had a goal and an assist for Massachusetts in a 5-4 win over UMass-Lowell on Friday. Pereira, a freshman forward, leads the Minutemen in scoring with 17 points on eight goals and nine assists. ... West Haven’s Joe Pereira, Michael Pereira’s older brother, had a goal and Hamden’s Patrick McGregor an assist in Boston University’s 5-2 win over Harvard on Saturday. Pereira, a senior forward and the Terriers’ captain, has nine goals and five assists this season. McGregor, a freshman defenseman, was playing in just his third game. It was his first collegiate point.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Yale-Brown pregame

A couple of pregame notes from New Haven, where Yale and Brown begin a two-game ECAC Hockey series that will continue Sunday afternoon in Providence.

Jesse Root is out of the lineup after a head injury suffered at Harvard a week ago. Freshman Clinton Bourbonais will center Root's line alongside Kenny Agostino and Antoine Laganiere.

Tickets at Ingalls Rink will be hard to come by for the remainder of the regular season. Ninety minutes prior to the opening faceoff, there was already a line outside the ticket window for fans looking to snap up the remaining general admission tickets. Expect a handful of SRO from here on out.

Never an NCAA issue with Cahill

If there were any lingering questions regarding Chris Cahill's eligibility at Yale, consider the matter officially over. Yale has been in touch with the NCAA over the matter and the NCAA will be releasing a statement in conjunction with Yale that the book on Cahill has officially been closed. Fact is, for the NCAA, it was never open. According to Yale spokesman Steve Conn, the NCAA confirmed Cahill's eligibility is not and was never in question. Expect a statement soon.

EDIT AT 4:45 P.M. -- Here is Yale's new statement.

"The NCAA has confirmed the process and due diligence of Yale University and the Ivy League regarding the eligibility of Chris Cahill. He remains eligible to compete in all Yale hockey games."

Monday, January 10, 2011

Yale: Cahill is eligible

An Internet report questioning the eligibility of a senior forward on the Yale men’s hockey team raised concerns about whether the top-ranked Bulldogs might be in hot water with the NCAA.

The website “” alleged Chris Cahill played on a team with professionals last winter in France, which would make him ineligible for NCAA competition and result in Yale possibly forfeiting all games in which he participated. Cahill, currently the team’s fifth-leading scorer with nine goals and nine assists, was not enrolled at Yale last year.

Yale issued a statement on Monday refuting the report.

“Yale University Athletics Director Tom Beckett confirms that every standard pertaining to the collegiate eligibility of Chris Cahill has been met to the satisfaction of the Yale and Ivy League compliance staffs. Chris Cahill remains eligible to compete in all Yale hockey games.”

Academic issues forced Cahill to take a year off from Yale following his junior season in 2008-09. Intending to return this year and play hockey for the Bulldogs, he played in 18 games for Reims, a club team in the French Hockey Federation.

Beckett told the Register that Yale coach Keith Allain worked with the Ivy League and Yale’s NCAA compliance officers to ensure Cahill would retain his college eligibility.

Some players received living expenses necessary for participation on the team, which is permitted in NCAA bylaws. But Yale has written verification from team officials that no players drew a salary. To be classified as an professional team, per NCAA rules, a team must compensate players beyond those necessary expenses.

“It was approved prior to Chris being involved with the team, it wasn't after the fact,” Beckett said. “Chris’s family was very concerned about doing what was right. This is a process that took months.”

Beckett said he has no concerns that the NCAA will launch an investigation.

“The burden of proof, every standard, all of those issues have been met; the Ivy office signed off on it at the very beginning,” Beckett said.

Concerns over Cahill’s eligibility began was an anonymous letter, which was recently issued to coaches and athletic directors around the ECAC Hockey league urging those administrators to look into the Cahill matter. According to sources, an Ivy League school made a formal inquiry Friday. Yale held Cahill out of the lineup for its game at Dartmouth to allow the matter to be resolved.

The situation was cleared Saturday, and Cahill was back in the lineup that night at Harvard. He scored a goal in the Bulldogs victory.

That's the story I wrote for the Register. Now, a few additional notes and some opinion (that's what blogs are for!)...a few readers have emailed me wondering if the fact that Yale went through the Ivy League for clearance, but not the NCAA, a case made in the original Hockeybuzz report, is cause for concern. Based on the folks I spoke with today, it wasn't required for Yale to go through the NCAA since Cahill was still an eligible player when he was making plans to play in France. The French league and the French team checked out with Yale's compliance officers as well as the Ivy League, and the league signed off on it.

It should be noted that NCAA tennis and basketball players play in events/leagues with pro players in the offseason, while hockey players can attend NHL mini-camps under certain guidelines. Of course, Yale's case is different because it maintains the French league Cahill played in was not a professional league. Sources also told me the league is government-funded, which means paying players a salary (beyond the stipend for living expenses) is akin to fraud. People will go to jail for double-dipping like that. Players receive money, but that money is paid for housing, meals, etc. and is permitted by the NCAA.

Yale's statement

Short and to the's the statement from Yale regarding Chris Cahill.

"Yale University Athletics Director Tom Beckett confirms that every standard pertaining to the collegiate eligibility of Chris Cahill has been met to the satisfaction of the Yale and Ivy League compliance staffs. Chris Cahill remains eligible to compete in all Yale hockey games."

I'm working on a story now, and will post some more information soon.

Yale: Cahill had approval

Yale plans to release a statement later this afternoon regarding a recent Internet report that questions the eligibility of senior forward Chris Cahill. The statement is intended to "defend the truth".

The report, released by the website "", implies that Cahill is ineligible because he played in a French league in which some players were paid. Cahill was not enrolled in school last year.

Yale athletic director Tom Beckett said hockey coach Keith Allain worked with the Ivy League and Yale's NCAA compliance officers to find a place where Cahill could play hockey and retain his NCAA eligibility. "It was all approved prior to Chris being involved with the team, it wasn't after the fact," Beckett said. "Chris's family was very concerned about doing what was right. This is a process that took months." Beckett said he has no concerns that the NCAA could launch an investigation. "The burden of proof, every standard, all of those issues have been met; the Ivy office signed off on it at the very beginning," Beckett said.

More to come when we receive Yale's statement.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Yale/Harvard pregame report

At the Bright Hockey Center in Boston tonight, and fighting a ferocious cough after nearly freezing to death at Thompson Arena in Hanover, N.H. last night.

No. 1 Yale (13-1, 7-0) goes for its ninth straight win; Harvard is struggling mightily at 3-10, 2-8. Of course, the Bright Center has never been an easy place for Yale, just 4-36-3 at Bright since the arena opened in 1980. But the Bulldogs have been better there under coach Keith Allain, with two wins in four regular season games leading into tonight.

Only one lineup change. Chris Cahill, a late scratch last night, returns to join Andrew Miller and Brian O'Neill. Antoine Laganiere, who scored one of the Bulldogs two goals Friday, is out.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Now this is hockey weather

Tonight's Colgate vs. Quinnipiac game at the TD Bank Sports Center in Hamden started 20 minutes late tonight because the referees were caught in heavy snow on I-91. Ugly. Glad I'm in New Hampshire tonight.
Thanks to reader Jim LaPosta for the photo.

Yale/Dartmouth pregame: Cahill out

Greetings from Thompson Arena in Hanover, N.H. I was able to beat the snow that's pounding New Haven to arrive in plenty of time for tonight's game between No. 1 Yale and Dartmouth, a game expected to be a sellout.

One lineup change for Yale...Chris Cahill, on the linesheet distributed to media, has been scratched. Yale says it's a healthy scratch. Not so sure if that's actually the case. Antoine Laganiere will take Cahill's spot at left wing alongside center Andrew Miller and RW Brian O'Neill.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Welcome to College Hockeytown

OK. New Haven isn't exactly Boston when it comes to college hockey. But we're doing just fine with Yale and Quinnipiac, thank you very much. We've also got a network of area players in the CCHA, Hockey East and Atlantic Hockey. Check back here often for the latest local updates, news and observations about college hockey in New Haven.