Friday, March 29, 2013

Big day for New Haven hockey

Been a long day covering the East Regional media day. Have stories on Quinnipiac and Boston College captain Pat Mullane, a Wallingford resident, for tomorrow's paper.

So I've yet to catch the highlight's from Yale's huge upset of Minnesota. Evan Frondorf, a Yale student, covered the game for us. He also had the call for WYBC-1340, which will be replayed on the NHL Network tonight at 11:30 p.m.

So, it's Yale and North Dakota all over again. The Bulldogs scored a huge upset over the Fighting Sioux in 2010 at the Northeast Regional in Worcester, Mass. This time, it'll be for a spot in the Frozen Four. And with Quinnipiac opening the East Regional in Providence against Canisius, it's a huge day for, make that New Haven-area hockey.

Here's a recent series history for Yale and North Dakota (meaning, games I personally covered since taking over the college hockey beat in 1999-2000)

Nov. 2, 2002: North Dakota 7, Yale 3 -- Season opener at Ingalls Rink was going well enough for Yale's strongest team since 1998. It was 2-1 North Dakota in the second period when all hell broke loose. A North Dakota skater lost his edge coming around the boards. It appeared Chris Higgins, Yale's star and a first-round pick of the Canadiens, boarded him. Video replays showed no misdoing by Higgins, but, it looked bad in real speed. The falling North Dakota players' head was wedged between the boards and Higgins. Fighting Sioux players took exception, and an all-out donnybrook ensued. Punches, sticks, the whole nine. Each team lost four players to fighting majors and game DQs. But it was Yale's top line and North Dakota's fourth line. The rout was on. Both schools appealed the DQs, saying some of the players penalized did not throw punches, but to no avail. One of the craziest scenes I've ever witnessed at a college game. Hands down.

Oct. 31-Nov. 1, 2003: North Dakota 8-10, Yale 4-0 -- Brutal weekend for the Bulldogs. Higgins left school to sign with the Canadiens, and Yale's defense began what turned out to be a 3-year funk. Memorable for me only because I made the trip to Grand Forks to cover the series, and was awed by the Engelstad Arena experience. Incredible rink. I also recall the heavy snowfall on Halloween and taking in a Fighting Sioux football game against Nebraska-Omaha at North Dakota's indoor stadium.

March 27, 2010, NCAA Northeast Regional: Yale 3, North Dakota 2 -- Probably the biggest win in 117-years of Yale least until today's win over Minnesota. The Bulldogs boasted a major-league offensive attack with major issues at goaltender. Keith Allain took a gamble and played little used goalie Ryan Rondeau. It paid off. Denny Kearney had two goals as Yale took a 3-0 lead and held off a late Siox charge. The first Yale NCAA tournament win that meant something (Bulldogs only previous win came in the consolation game of the Frozen Four, when the NCAA field consisted of exactly four teams.)


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