Thursday, March 31, 2011

Let the signings begin

Yale's Chris Cahill signed an amateur tryout contract with the Milwaukee Admirals of the AHL, and is expected to join the team for their game Friday with Houston. Yale captain Jimmy Martin signed with the Reading (Pa.) Royals of the ECHL earlier in the week, and made his pro debut Wednesday night.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

New corporate sponsorship for Quinnipiac arena

It's now High Point Solutions Arena. From the Quinnipiac press release... High Point Solutions of Sparta, N.J. has agreed to a $1 million sponsorship of Quinnipiac University’s ice hockey arena at the TD Bank Sports Center for the next five seasons. The ice hockey arena on Quinnipiac’s York Hill Campus, home to the men’s and women’s NCAA Division I ice hockey teams, will be known as the High Point Solutions Arena.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Tough end to great season

Another brief postgame blog. Lots of reaction from Keith Allain in my game story, which should be posted shortly at The controversial call on Brian O'Neill was obviously the big play in the game. Unfortunately, I had my head down when it happened because I was Twittering about O'Neill's goal. All I saw was a few grainy replays on the Harbor Yard video board. But I got a few texts and spoke to some other folks and most said the same was a clean hit. The ref would have been forgiven for issuing a 2-minute penalty there; a major, even. But the game disqualification really did Yale in. Minnesota-Duluth coach Scott Sandelin wouldn't comment on the call because "it went in our favor".

What did you think?

Tough loss for Yale to swallow. Nine seniors, all key contributors, will graduate and that alone will make another season like this one hard to replicate. But I'll follow up with a season recap tomorrow.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Wrapping up Yale's win over Air Force

Wild night here in Bridgeport. Quick blog. Here's a link to my game story on the New Haven Register website. Got a chance to speak with Chad Ziegler in the locker room. He said it's easily the biggest goal he's ever scored. Check out what he has to say...pretty touching stuff.

Air Force coach Frank Serratore said his team executed its game plan to perfection. Knowing his cadets are as physically fit as anyone in the world, they wanted to "rope-a-dope" Yale for the first two periods to wear them down, then take it to them in overtime. Again, check out the story. Serratore said Yale needed to knock his team out in the first period, and if they didn't he knew Air Force would have a real chance to win.

Keith Allain didn't quite agree with the part about Yale being worn down. He credited Yale's strength and conditioning coach Joe Maher, whom he called the best at his job in the country, with having the Bulldogs up to the task to skate with anyone.

Serratore bristled at the suggestion – real or perceived – that the Atlantic Hockey League is not a perennial quality representative in NCAA tournament play.

“You know what we are? In football terms, BCS terms, we’re not the SEC. We’re not the Pac-10. We’re not Big 12. We don’t have the depth that Hockey East has. We don’t have the depth that the WCHA has. But our best team is a good team and we’ve proven that every year. We’re the Boise State , we’re the TCU of the NCAA tournament, and to be honest with you, I don’t think there’s enough of those teams in the field. I think the Cinderellas make it interesting.

“Don’t think that around the country that everyone who wasn’t a Yale fan watching on TV, wasn’t rooting for Air Force. Holy Cross beat Minnesota , we beat Michigan right here a couple of years ago, RIT last year beat New Hampshire and Denver .

Keep in mind, that our teams have to get here the old fashioned way. They have to earn their way here. The Atlantic champion has to win its tournament. And keep in mind, we don’t get 4 seed. We don’t get a 3 seed. We don’t get a second seed. We’re playing No. 1 or No. 2 in the country, and when you look at our record, down goes Minnesota , down goes Michigan , down goes New Hampshire , down goes Denver . Yeah, we’ve had some heartbreaking losses, but we’re there at the end. And there ain’t a more relieved guy in the building right now than Keith Allain because he knows he got a heck of a game from the boys from Air Force.”

Yale-Air Force pregame

Lineups being announced for the Union-UMD game at Harbor Yard. But here's the line charts for Yale and Air Force, which begins at 6:30 p.m. Biggest news is the return of Brendan Mason to the lineup. Jesse Root sits, as Clinton Bourbonais remains on the line with Kenny Agostino and Chad Ziegler.

The lines:




De Laurell-Lamoureux-Burnett



Sunday, March 20, 2011

Yale No. 1, will face Air Force

As expected, Yale is the No. 1 overall seed for the NCAA tournament, and will play Air Force in the first game of the East Regional at Webster Bank Arena at Harbor Yard in Bridgeport Friday at 6:30 p.m. Union plays Minnesota-Duluth in the other Bridgeport game at 3 p.m.

Here's the full tournament.

1. Yale vs. 16. Air Force
8. Union vs. 9. Minnesota-Duluth

Manchester, N.H.
1. Miami-Ohio vs. 4. New Hampshire
2. Merrimack vs. 3. Notre Dame

St. Louis
1. Boston College vs. 4. Colorado College
2. Michigan vs. 3. Nebraska-Omaha

Green Bay, Wis.
1. North Dakota vs. 4. RPI
2. Denver vs. 3. Western Michigan

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Yale rolls and some early bracketology

Wrapping things up from Atlantic City. Ryan Rondeau posts his third straight shutout, extending his school-record streak to 202:19 without allowing a goal, as Yale crushes Cornell 6-0 to win its second ECAC title in three years. Brian O'Neill, Andrew Miller, Chris Cahill and Jimmy Martin join tourney MVP Ryan Rondeau on the all-tournament team. Connor Goggin of Dartmouth is the only non-Yalie to make the team.

As of this entry, Denver and North Dakota are in overtime for the WCHA crown. So, I'll give my tournament bracket predictions for both scenarios.

If North Dakota wins...

East Regional (at Bridgeport): 1. Yale vs. 16. Air Force; 8. Union vs. 9. Minnesota-Duluth

Northeast Regional (at Manchester, N.H.): 4. Miami vs. 13. New Hampshire; 5. Michigan vs. 12. Nebraska-Omaha

Midwest Regional (at Green Bay, Wis.): 2. North Dakota vs. 15. RPI; 7. Denver vs. 11. Notre Dame

West Regional (at St. Louis): 3. Boston College vs. 14. Colorado College; 6. Merrimack vs. 10. Western Michigan

If Denver wins....

BRIDGEPORT: 1. Yale vs. 16. Air Force; 8. Union vs. 10. Western Michigan

MANCHESTER: 4. Miami vs. 13. New Hampshire; 6. Merrimack vs. 12. Nebraska-Omaha

GREEN BAY: 3. North Dakota vs. 15. RPI; 5. Denver vs. 11. Notre Dame

ST. LOUIS: 2. Boston College vs. 14. Colorado College; 7. Michigan vs. 9. Minnesota-Duluth

Friday, March 18, 2011

Yale wins, will be No. 1 overall seed

That's a wrap. As in Yale appears to have wrapped up the No. 1 overall seed for the NCAA tournament with tonight's 4-0 victory over Colgate. At least that's what the PairWise projection tools say. Neither Yale coach Keith Allain nor any players would read too much into the seedings, and with good reason. There's only 16 teams in the tournament, and they're all good. Even the Atlantic Hockey entry, which has been a royal pain in the keyster for the past decade.

"It's nice, obviously," Yale goalie Ryan Rondeau said of the No. 1 seed. "You work all season trying to get that, but it's not something to dwell on. The top teams in the country are in the tournament and there's never an easy game."

Rondeau continues to come up aces in clutch situations. He posted his second successive shutout (a string of 142:19, for those keeping score at home) and set a Yale record with his fifth of the season (Alec Richards had four in 2008-09). Rondeau's numbers are as good as any goalie in the nation right now...he's second in GAA (1.89, to North Dakota's Dell at 1.87) and second in save percentage (.930, behind Shane Modolora of RIT at .935).

Still, he seems to be overlooked by coaches in the league as well as the Hobey Baker selection committee. That's not to say Keith Kinkade isn't a deserving Ken Dryden Award winner, or taking anything away from James Mello and Allen York. But Rondeau doesn't get the credit he deserves. Yale is viewed as an offensive juggernaut with its deep, talented pool of skaters. What folks seem to forget is goaltending was the missing ingredient last season. Rondeau has been instrumental to the team's success.

"A lot of people don't really understand our team," Allain said.

Yale will take on Cornell Saturday night. The Bulldogs have won seven straight against Cornell, and are unbeaten in the last eight.

Couple of more notes on Rondeau. He's 37 minutes, 30 seconds of shutout hockey from breaking Alex Westlund's school-record streak of 179:49. He's also a shutout away from tying Alec Richards' career record of six shutouts.

Great day for hockey in AC

What a beautiful day on the boardwalk. It's 79 degrees and sunny. Not exactly hockey weather, but we'll take it any day. Between the arena and the bustle of the boardwalk, this is the perfect place to hold an event like this. If only it wasn't so far out of the way for most of the schools involved and their fans.

Yale will be without both Brendan Mason and Jeff Anderson tonight. Jesse Root is in the lineup, and Clinton Bourbonais will remain as the center on the line with Laganiere and Brockett. Bourbonais has made the most of his playing time, and it worked well when Mason missed Sunday's game with St. Lawrence.

It's been said often, but bears repeating. This game is doubly important for Yale, which will clinch the No. 1 overall seed in the NCAA tournament with a victory. A loss, and it's likely down to No. 3 overall for the Bulldogs.

Here are the lines for both teams









Thursday, March 17, 2011

Above the Boardwalk

Here at Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City, N.J. for today's open practices and media session. Quite an interesting facility, this is. It's big, and the seats all seem to have great sight lines. The backdrop and architecture is slightly odd, not necessarily in a bad way. It's very Atlantic City turn of the century (1900s, not 2000s), with murals and intricate detailing. There's a real Vaudeville vibe going on, and it kind of reminds me of "Boardwalk Empire" on HBO. But the venue also seems a little run down and dirty.

Practices are moving quickly. Here's a few notes from the Yale end of things.
  • Jeff Anderson and Brendan Mason are both practicing. No word yet on whether either will be in the lineup. Injured defenseman Jesse Hudkins is the only player on the roster who didn't make the trip with the team.
  • Sports Illustrated has been hanging around Yale the last couple of days for a story to run soon. Expect to see something in next week's issue.
  • Most players weren't thrilled with the ice at Boardwalk Hall, but it may have been because Yale had the fourth practice of the afternoon.
  • Word is this will not be a well-attended tournament. And in a big building like this (capacity 9,800 for hockey), it will look even worse.
  • The league award winners are in. RPI's Chase Polacek is the player of the year, winning over Yale's Brian O'Neill and Dartmouth's James Mello, who, for some reason, was listed as one of three finalists for player of the year by the league despite being only a second-team goaltender. Would have loved to hear the explanation if Mello won the league player of the year.
  • Here are the rest of the award winners. Busy night for Union. Union's Keith Kinkade, who would have made more sense as a player of the year finalist, is the Dryden Award winner as top goaltender. Princeton's Andrew Calof is the rookie of the year; Union's Nate Leaman wins the Tim Taylor Award as coach of the year; Union's Adam Presizniuk is the best defensive forward; Union's Brock Matheson is the best defensive defenseman (Yale's Jimmy Martin was a finalist) and Union's Stephane Boileau is the student athlete of the year.
  • This was released yesterday, but it never made it to the blog...O'Neill and Yale linemate Andrew Miller were both first-team All-ECAC forwards, and Chris Cahill was a third-team forward.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Decision coming for Zurevinski

Finished up the weekly college hockey column, which will be online soon and in the print edition of the Register tomorrow. A few quick notes from the afternoon...
  • Quinnipiac coach Rand Pecknold is excited about the future after the way his team finished the season. The Bobcats turned things around after an ugly one-point performance against Yale and Brown the second-to-last weekend of the regular season. Goaltending, defense and good young talent at forward should have Quinnipiac competing for league titles soon.

  • Pecknold said junior forward Scott Zurevinski is still in a "holding pattern" regarding his future. Zurevinski turned down an NHL offer from Vancouver last spring to return to school, and Pecknold expects him to get similar offers this week. Pecknold said he expects Zurevinski to make a decision on what to do soon.

  • Quinnipiac has been quite a playoff team since joining the ECAC in 2005-06, winning a first-round series each season. But it hasn't quite gotten over the quarterfinal hump. True, the Bobcats made it all the way to the ECAC championship game in 2007, but have lost the decisive third game of the quarterfinals four times in the other five years. Perhaps playing the quarterfinals at home, something Quinnipiac hasn't accomplished yet, will make the difference.

  • Yale is in the process of putting together a travel package for students and fans to Atlantic City this weekend. Expect details to be announced shortly.

  • I didn't realize the capacity for hockey at Boardwalk Hall in AC is 9,800. The ECAC struggled to get 5,000 in Albany, as centrally located as it gets in the league. I can't imaging attendance will be anything but a fraction of that in southern Jersey. Then again, it's possible the casinos, easy accommodations and dining options on the Boardwalk will help.

  • The semifinals matchups (Yale-Colgate at 4:36 p.m., Dartmouth-Cornell at 7:36 p.m.) and championship game will be televised live on CBS College Sports. The final is a 7:36 p.m. start.

  • I don't have the patience to sit on the PWR projection tool and go through all the scenarios, but I spent some time number crunching a few pertinent projections involving Yale. It seems the Bulldogs will clinch the No. 1 overall seed with a win over Colgate, and can't finish lower than No. 3 overall no matter what happens this weekend. Anyone come up with a way this can't happen?

  • Have a feeling we might see four ECAC teams get bids. Yale and Union are in, and I like the chances for Dartmouth and RPI, too. Should be interesting to see how RPI comes out after a three-week layoff should they get a bid.

  • The ECAC announces its all-league teams at the banquet Thursday. I'm expecting Chase Polacek of RPI to win player of the year, with Yale's Andrew Miller and Brian O'Neill as the other two forwards. Nick Bailen of RPI and Harvard's Danny Biega should be the defensemen (though Princeton's Taylor Fedun would be a good choice, too) and Union's Keith Kinkade as the goalie.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Yale will see you on the Boardwalk

A few notes and quotes to wrap up the quarterfinal series between Yale and St. Lawrence.

  • Yale (25-6-1) set a program record for wins in a season, surpassing the 24 wins in 2008-09. The Bulldogs will play 12th-seed Colgate at Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City, N.J. Friday at 4:30 p.m.; Dartmouth and Cornell will square off in the other semifinal at 7:30 p.m.

  • Keith Allain said after Friday's game one loss, Jimmy Martin initiated multiple meetings with him to make sure Yale was fully prepared, both mentally and physically. "I think (last season's quarterfinal loss to Brown) stung quite a bit," Allain said. "So it was real, real important to him and that senior class that we get through this weekend.” Martin, ever humble, sort of shrugged off anything specific he did and cited the full team effort. "We have a veteran team, so our guys know how to be focused," Martin said. "It’s a team thing. The bottom line is that there are enough older guys on this team that know how to stay focused."

  • This senior class means a lot to Allain. It's a large class (nine players), but it's also his first recruiting class. Taking nothing away from the past few senior classes, but much of what Yale has accomplished over the past three seasons is because of what that group has done. "These guys certainly deserved to go out with a win,” said Allain. "I don’t even want to start thinking about what it’s going be like when they’re gone. I told them we have three more weekends together as a team, so enjoy each and every day."

  • Allain pointed toward a couple of other seniors who have helped Yale in the leadership department, singling out Denny Kearney and Mike Matczak. “Denny is a heckuva leader … maybe no so much in the locker room, but on the bench,” said Allain. “He’s saying things that I want to be saying a lot of times. And that’s what you hope for as a coach. And Mike Matczak has had a great year of quiet leadership for us. It’s critical.”

  • On the injury front, Brendan Mason's status will likely remain unknown for the rest of the week.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Yale and St. Lawrence will do it again Sunday

A few notes and quotes following Yale's 5-2 win over St. Lawrence Saturday, which forces a deciding Game 3 Sunday at Ingalls Rink.

  • Yale lost its sense of urgency a bit in the third period Friday, when it allowed St. Lawrence back into the game despite a 3-1 lead with under 14 minutes to play. Broc Little said the Bulldogs weren't about to let the same thing happen Saturday. "The biggest thing was just total focus from the whole team,” Little said. “Right from the beginning of the day we knew we had to come out and demand victory tonight. Last night we played well enough to win but we weren’t demanding it…giving them no chance. We let them hang around and tonight we finished our chances and were able to put it away in the third...Urgency was a word thrown around a lot before the game. Just to come out right away and play for our lives."

  • Yale coach Keith Allain said the Bulldogs needed a night to get into "playoff mode", meaning its impossible to create that kind of pace and intensity in practice, and that St. Lawrence had a three-game head start to get into that mindset. "I think we were more comfortable with that pace tonight than we were last night, even though tonight was a little quicker than last night's game," Allain said. "I wouldn't say we controlled the pace, but it was a tempo we were comfortable with."

  • The game was quite physical, with countless big hits and lots of chirping back and forth on both sides. Justin Baker was on the receiving end of a crushing open-ice check from Chad Ziegler, easily the biggest blow of the night. It was tough to watch live, especially seeing the obvious pain Baker was in as he held his left knee. The video showed Baker's head was down when Ziegler leveled him with a shoulder. Baker is out for Sunday. Yale's Brendan Mason left the game in the second period with an apparent shoulder injury, and did not return. Allain only said Mason was "banged up". So we'll take the liberty to list him as "questionable" for tonight. Why not? Pete Child also briefly went to the Saints locker room after a big hit, but returned shortly.

  • Both Allain and Saints coach Joe Marsh were livid at various times about the no-calls from the referees. Allain nearly broke veins in his neck on multiple occasions, and Marsh positively lit into the crew when no penalty was called after Child was injured. Broc Little also got hit with a 10-minute misconduct for talking a little too much to referee Whittemore. Little was called for boarding midway through the third, but caught a retaliatory stick to the jaw that wasn't called.

  • Broc Little and Denny Kearney are back to early-season form, and have been lethal every shift the last two nights. Yale's fifth goal, scored by Little and set up by Kearney, was a thing of beauty. "That was a goal-scorer's goal," Allain said. "The angle he had to be able to get the backhand up in the top shelf like that, that was a confident player scoring that goal. ... He hasn't shown that kind of touch in a while."

  • Each ECAC series will go to a Game 3 Sunday, with the possibility of the 8th, 10th, 11th and 12th seeds making up the field in Atlantic City next weekend. Say what you will about the league, but it's as competitive top-to-bottom as it gets in college hockey.

  • Quinnipiac knocked off Cornell 1-0 Saturday, with Eric Hartzell posting his second straight shutout. Rand Pecknold is loving the two-goalie rotation with Dan Clarke on Fridays and Hartzell on Saturdays. But he'll have a decision to make for Sunday's game, and I'd be surprised if Hartzell doesn't get the call again.

  • Hard to believe Saturday's game was announced as 186 short of a sellout, as it seemed filled to the brim. Lots of fans left their seats to immediately get into the ticket line for Sunday's game.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Wrapping up Game 1 of the ECAC quarterfinals

Something about the No. 11 seeds and Yale just don't mix. St. Lawrence, down two goals with under 14 minutes to play, stormed back to take Game 1 4-3 in overtime. A few notes and quotes from the postgame.

  • Keith Allain, for the most part, liked what he saw from his team. "I certainly don’t feel like we were the worse team out there tonight,” Allain said. “We created a number of chances; I thought we limited their quality chances to not too many. But we didn’t score, they did and rightfully won the game. … But I didn’t think it was a terrible game from our perspective."

  • Some pretty passing an offensive moves by both teams. Freshman Greg Carey's game-winner came after Kyle Flanagan juked a Yale defenseman to the ice, turning a 2-on-2 into a 2-on-1. He got the puck to Carey in front with plenty to shoot at. "We overreacted to the puck carrier and left a guy wide open in front of the net," Allain said.

  • A year ago, when Yale dropped Game 1 en route to its three-game quarterfinal loss to No. 11 seed Brown, the Bulldogs looked rusty and simply off their game. Not playing with Sean Backman may have had a lot to do with that. On Friday, Yale came out strong and responded well to the Saints fluky first goal, which came from near center ice and caught Ryan Rondeau with his glove in a bad position. The line of Denny Kearney, Broc Little and Kevin Limbert was on fire in the early going, with defenseman Jimmy Martin scoring two of the Bulldogs three-power play goals. Kearney made a pretty touch pass on Martin's first goal, and Little sent a brilliant pass out from the corner to Martin for his second goal.

  • Where was the game lost? Allain said it was in the second period with the score still 3-1, and Yale failed to finish a number of quality scoring chances. Chris Cahill was robbed by Matt Weninger twice, while Brian O'Neill and Little couldn't convert breakaway chances. Limbert, in the first period, had a shot beat Weninger and ring off the post. Video review upheld that it didn't go in the net. "To me, the game was lost in the second period where we had the 3-1 lead and we had a number of opportunities to make it 4-1 and we didn’t execute offensively,” Allain said. “That allowed them to hang around."

  • Allain said he'll watch game tape and expects to tweak some things for Game 2.

  • How does Yale respond to being in a tough spot again? Last season, following a 3-2 loss to Brown in the first game, the Bulldogs cruised to a 6-3 win in Game 2. But Game 3 was the problem, with Brown winning 1-0 to eliminate Yale early. "They have to have real short memories," Allain said. Martin agreed. "We have to put this behind us and move on. We take the positives where they are, we learned a lesson, and we get our focus right for tomorrow."

  • That was Yale's first home loss of the season (15-1-1).

Yale-St. Lawrence pregame

We're at Ingalls Rink, 90 minutes before faceoff for the ECAC quarterfinal series between Yale and St. Lawrence. Not much to report in terms of lineup changes tonight. The Bulldogs have Clinton Bourbonais centering the line with Kenny Agostino and Chad Ziegler, taking the spot from fellow freshman Jesse Root. Bourbonais has only played eight games, but has three goals and scored against Cornell in the final regular season game. Root, whose played in 22 games, has just two goals on the season, both scored during the weekend of Nov. 19-20.

The one other spot that's been open to change, left wing alongside Brendan Mason and Charles Brockett, is taken by Antoine Laganiere. Also, sophomore Colin Dueck makes his third straight start at defenseman over freshman Gus Young.

No major changes for St. Lawrence either. Matt Raley, who has been injured, is in at defenseman. Nic Vangog, all 6-foot-6, 233 pounds of him, is on the line with Greg Carey and Kyle Flanagan.

It's an odd series in that the odds might be better for Yale to earn a No. 1 seed by losing rather than winning and possibly losing to teams under consideration at the semifinals in Atlantic City. Of course, the Bulldogs can wrap up the No. 1 seed overall by winning out, and the potential to play the Atlantic Hockey entry as the No. 16 seed is a much better situation than having to play any other No. 4 seed. Of course, Atlantic Hockey has proven to be a thorn in the side of the big boys in the NCAA tournament.

Here are the lines for tonight.




Carey-K. Flanagan-Vangog
S. Flanagan-Essery-Wick

Hughes-P. Raley
Dewey-M. Raley


Thursday, March 10, 2011

Yale gets ready for Saints

A few notes from Yale's practice this afternoon -- a 1 p.m. session since there are no classes this week. Every seat is sold but Yale is still selling standing room only tickets for this weekend's series with St. Lawrence. They didn't have an exact number for me right away, but they can be purchased through the Yale ticket office.

Keith Allain gave the Bulldogs a couple of days off during the bye week, but that practices were a little longer and more intense. Last season, Allain kept the sessions lighter and, obviously, wasn't totally pleased with the results. Yale dropped the quarterfinal series to Brown last March, though Allain said the effort and intensity were there for most of that series. "If you go back and analyze those games, we played nine period of hockey. I would defy anyone to tell me we didn't dominate seven of those nine periods. Sometimes you don't get the results you want. Maybe our sense of urgency wasn't what it needed to be from the drop of the puck on Friday night. That was the bad experience, from my perspective."

Yale was also hurt by losing Sean Backman to injury in rather shocking fashion, and something the Bulldogs had to adjust to both on and off the ice.

St. Lawrence, like Brown last year, enters Ingalls as the 11th seed and coming off an impressive upset at Princeton. The Saints gave Yale a fight both games in the regular season, including a 3-2 win at St. Lawrence where they clogged the neutral zone and made things difficult for the Bulldogs transition game.

"They're a very good team. One of the things they did well in that game they beat us was they kept a third guy back all night long, which made it tough for us to get anything off the rush. They were pretty opportunistic on the few scoring chances they were able to generate. We're going to have to work hard to get the puck through the neutral zone against this team and create some offense."

Yale senior Jeff Anderson (leg) won't be back this weekend, but Allain said, "he's doing really, really well."

More on the series in the Register.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Yale's Martin finalist for ECAC award

Yale senior Jimmy Martin was named a finalist for the ECAC's Best Defensive Defenseman award, to be named next week before the league semifinals in Atlantic City. Taylor Fedun of Princeton and Brock Matheson of Union are the other two finalists.

Martin, the Bulldogs captain and a St. Louis resident, has developed into a solid two-way player over his four years and sees plenty of ice time on the penalty kill. He's often matched up against the opponent's top line, and has a career-best five goals this season as well as 51 career points.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Yale still a hot ticket

Yale drew 11th-seed St. Lawrence for the best-of-3 quarterfinal series that starts Friday at Ingalls Rink. While it won’t quite be the same level of delirium of playing Quinnipiac or Harvard, matchups that could have happened if the 11th and 12th seeds hadn't both advanced, tickets should still be a hot item.

The good news for area fans is that more tickets will be made available to the public. Yale usually reserves 700-800 tickets for students and faculty, but since school is on spring break more tickets will be fanned back for sale. Yale officials said sales have been brisk today, but there are still plenty of seats remaining. For now.

No matter what happens in the ECAC playoffs, Yale has cemented a third consecutive NCAA appearance. Since the school is playing co-host to the East Regional with Fairfield University, Yale will be guaranteed a spot in the field at Webster Bank Arena at Harbor Yard in Bridgeport.

There’s also a very good chance the Bulldogs will be a No. 1 seed, and perhaps the top seed for the entire tournament.

That has helped boost ticket sales for the Bridgeport regional, which, as of last week, had sold more all-session passes than any other regional site, according to Yale senior associate athletic director Wayne Dean.

"We’re over 3,000 all-session tickets sold and climbing," Dean said Monday. "That doesn’t include the tickets we’re required to hold for participating teams (400 per school, or 1,600 total). We expect it to be packed."

Two years ago, bolstered by Yale’s first NCAA appearance in 11 years, the regional at Bridgeport sold out at just under 9,000 tickets sold. It was an overwhelming success for first-time co-hosts Yale and Fairfield.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Quarterfinal matchups set

Pretty wild first round ends with Colgate stunning RPI in double-overtime tonight to advance in three games. So we won't be treated to a Quinnipiac-Yale quarterfinal series at Ingalls Rink this weekend, or even a Harvard-Yale series. Should be decent nonetheless with St. Lawrence at Yale after dumping Princeton in the first round.

Here are the matchups.

Friday-Sunday (if necessary)

No. 12 Colgate at No. 1 Union

No. 11 St. Lawrence at No. 2 Yale

No. 10 Harvard at No. 3 Dartmouth

No. 8 Quinnipiac at No. 4 Cornell

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Two goalies, two shutouts, one sweep

Lets wrap up the Quinnipiac-Brown series.

  • Sitting the goaltender who pitched a shutout the night before is odd. In the playoffs, it's unheard of. But Quinnipiac coach Rand Pecknold told his goalies on Tuesday that Dan Clarke would start Friday and Eric Hartzell on Saturday against Brown. Both came through with shutout wins, which makes Pecknold look brilliant...because it worked. Had Hartzell stunk it up, Quinnipiac fans might be calling for his head right now. Pecknold understands that, and might go back to his old policy of informing his goalie the night before that he's going to play. But, he may just stick with what's working. He told Clarke and Hartzell last weekend that they would split time at Union and RPI despite the importance of that series to their home-ice chances, and both came through.

  • Said Pecknold, "“It’s a little unorthodox. But we made the decision on Tuesday. Usually, I wait to tell the goalies until the day before the game. The previous week, we actually told them on Sunday that they would each get a game and it worked, so we went with it again. I don’t know if I want to do that all the time because it does open yourself up (to second-guessing) but we trust both of them.”

  • Quinnipiac held a team meeting after a rough couple of outings against Yale and Brown two weeks earlier, and got some things ironed out. "We had a multitude of players looking at things with a "glass is half empty" type thing."

  • Quinnipiac's opponent is to be determined for the quarterfinals. We know they'll be on t he road, but it won't be at Union. Harvard, seeded lower, will face the higher seed. So, the Bobcats will be at Yale if the two higher seeds win their game three's Sunday; at Dartmouth if one higher and one lower seed wins tonight and at Cornell if both lower seeds pull of the upsets. Should be interesting, and a Yale-Quinnipiac series could be bedlam in New Haven.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Quinnipiac takes Game 1

Quinnipiac is 12-2-4 when scoring the game's first goal, and 1-11-4 when the opponent scores first. So when Jeremy Langlois raced through the neutral zone and fired a shot past Brown goalie Mike Clemente just 15 seconds into the game, the young Bobcats took a collective deep breath and finished with confidence.

"That set the tone for the game. I don't know what our record is when we score first, but I know it's a lot better than when we don't," Quinnipiac captain Scott Zurevinski said. "We needed to score that first goal."

The Bobcats led 2-0 after the first period, and all but put the game away with two more in the second. Dan Clarke, the starting goalie to begin the season, was making his second start since Dec. 3 after losing the job to Eric Hartzell. His positioning was sound, and coach Rand Pecknold pointed to his puck-handling as a key to slowing the Brown forecheck.

Clarke played well in relief against Yale two weeks ago. That, combined with strong work in practice, earned him a start last Friday at Union in a crucial game for the Bobcats home-ice hopes. He came through with rave reviews in a 2-2 tie. Pecknold, confident in both Clarke and Hartzell, made the decision early in the week to go with Clarke.

"Hartzie has been playing well, but Clarkie has been battling in practice," Langlois said. "He got his shot tonight and played well."

Pecknold and the Bobcats are expected Brown to come out swinging Saturday.

"I think it'll be a one-goal game," Pecknold said. "It should be tighter. I assume they'll come back with Clemente, even though Borelli was phenomenal tonight."

Said Zurevinski, "Brown plays with a lot of emotion. I’m sure their coach is ripping them right now, yelling and screaming, so they’ll come out fired up (tonight). We just have to stick with what we did; keep things simple, work them down low and score on our chances.”

Pecknold doesn't announce his starting goalie before game time, but Clarke will likely get the nod again.

ECAC playoffs: Quinnipiac-Brown pregame

In Hamden for the ECAC best-of-3 first round series between Brown and Quinnipiac. Should be a fun series, as both teams seem to turn it up a notch in the playoffs. Quinnipiac, since joining the conference from Atlantic Hockey in 2005, have won at least one playoff series every year. Brown has been a thorn in the side of some teams with high aspirations of late. Just ask RPI and Yale.

Dan Clarke will get the start in goal for the Bobcats. Rand Pecknold liked what he saw of Clarke in relief late in the season, and rewarded him with a crucial start at Union last weekend. Clarke was strong, and earned a shot tonight.

Brown is without Jack Maclellan, who suffered a severe cut on his foot a couple of weeks ago. Much of the offense will fall on Harry Zolnierczyk, who could be the X factor in this series.