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.


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