Thursday, January 30, 2014

Big weekend for Yale

A few notes and quotes from Wednesday's visit to Yale practice.

  • Yale's defensive core lost only Colin Dueck from last season's national championship unit. The experience and growth can be seen at both ends of the ice, most notably in the offensive zone. Four goals from defensemen last weekend give the group 15 goals this winter, one more than the entirety of last year. "We encourage our D to be involved in the play," Allain said. "It's the way teams defend, if you don't get that fourth and fifth attacker up the ice it's going to be hard to score even strength."
  • Allain has been especially impressed with the pairing of senior Gus Young and sophomore Rob O'Gara. "They've proven to be our top two defensemen in all situations," he said.
  • It's crunch time in ECAC Hockey. Only five weekends remain in the regular season, and this is the time for the contenders to make their move. Yale is no different, though the remaining schedule is particularly rough.  Five of its 10 games are against ranked opponents, starting with red-hot Cornell and Colgate this weekend. Then, it's a trip to RPI and Union, Quinnipiac at home on Feb. 14, a third meeting with Harvard on Feb. 21 before the final regular season weekend with Union and RPI. Of course, Yale is still ranked and has the benefit of playing six of the final 10 games at home.
  • Allain doesn't bother checking the PairWise Rankings, he says. "It doesn't matter," he said. "We have to win hockey games, whether we're No. 1 or No. 57. We have to win games. I don't see how that would change what we do. Are we going to try harder?"
  • Yale, at No. 18 in the PWR entering the weekend, finds itself just outside the NCAA tournament zone. The Bulldogs are playing host to a regional in Bridgeport, and would love to begin defense of their national championship a few miles from campus. Given the strength of schedule over the final 10 games, Yale has the potential to make a real climb with a solid finish.
  • Allain expects injured players Alex Ward, Mike Doherty and Carson Cooper to be out for this weekend.
  • Goaltender Alex Lyon is about as poised as they come, especially impressive given that he's a freshman. "Alex is a very good goaltender," Allain said. "He stops the pucks he should stops, and he has the ability to stop some others. He does a good job handling the puck, which helps us to negate the other team's forecheck. He's kind of like a sixth skater back there the way he handles the puck and relieves pressure from that standpoint. He's calm under pressure.. For any team, it's nice when your goalie is calm under pressure."
  • Last Saturday's game with Brown was decided in the first five minutes thanks to a parade of penalties that allowed Yale to score three times. Zack Pryzbek was ejected at 1:26 for hitting from behind, and Massimo LaMacchia joined him in the locker room for slew-footing later in the period. Allain was asked if the Brown's early aggressive play surprised him. "I don't know if I'd use the word aggressive or dirty," Allain said. "I can't speak for the other team, but I don't think you game plan to have one of your players knocked out of the game on the second shift of the game, his first shift, and a 5-minute power play right off the bat."
  • O'Gara spent his off-season the same way he has the past few years: working hockey camps and training with former Russian pro and coaching guru Alexsey Nikiforov. His style encourages creativity and skills, and his pupils include a growing list of NHL players. "He's a very skill-oriented guy and there's a lot of pros down there," O'Gara said. "Playing against that type of competition, basically all year round, it really helps."

Monday, January 27, 2014

Bracketology this week

The NCAA brackets were a mess last week. But, given the current state of the PairWise Rankings, it wasn't too difficult to put together a decent field of 16 today. The biggest change this week is that Yale finds itself at No. 18 overall, and would most likely have to win the ECAC Hockey tournament to gain a spot in the NCAA field if the season ended today. Of course, the season doesn't end today, but it's still fun to look at potential matchups. Here's what we've got.

BRIDGEPORT...No Yale, but this is the next best thing...

3. Quinnipiac vs. 14. Minnesota-Duluth
7. Providence vs. 11. Cornell

WORCESTER...Northeastern and Lowell, as the 8-9 seeds, can't play in the opening round. We moved Northeastern here to keep them local, though a switch with Providence and Bridgeport may be a possibility, too.

2. Boston College vs. 15. Colgate
8. Northeastern vs. 10. Michigan

ST. PAUL...St. Cloud, for the sake of true bracket integrity, would have been in Bridgeport. Makes more sense to move them to their home state of Minnesota

1. Minnesota vs. 16. Mercyhurst
6. St. Cloud State vs. 9. UMass Lowell

 CINCINNATI...Attendance here will be a major issue, especially with no Ohio teams in the field

4. Union vs. 13. Wisconsin
5. Ferris State vs. 12. Notre Dame

Sunday, January 26, 2014

RPI beats Union, donneybrook ensues

Things got real ugly, real fast last night in Albany, where RPI upset Union 2-1 at the Times Union Center. Player brawls erupt after the final horn, and then the coaching staffs got into it. Judge the video for yourself, but it sure looks like Union coach Rick Bennett may be looking at a lengthy suspension. No excuses for anyone involved in this, but Bennett's Berserker act is just plain ugly.

EDIT: Union has suspended Bennett for two games. The ECAC may add to that.

Here's what media in the building had to say:

Column by Schenectady Gazette's Mike MacAdam here

Game story by the Gazette's Ken Schott here with more commentary and links to his video of an apologetic postgame press conference.

Game story and some still photos from the Albany Times Union here

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Yale tries to rebound against Brown

Have to enjoy the ECAC home-and-home weekends. Yale gets another shot at Brown tonight after a disappointing loss in Providence on Friday night. Injuries are mounting for the Bulldogs. Carson Cooper and Mike Doherty remain out, and defenseman Matt Killian was added to the list. Alex Ward gets the start for Killian on defense.

Here's the live blog for tonight's game.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Bracketology today

Not only is Bridgeport playing host to the NCAA East Regional in March, but Yale and Quinnipiac are on target to again earn a spot in the big dance. Still two months before selection day, but lets take a look at what the field of 16 might look like right now.

Here are the PairWise Rankings, as of this morning.

There is plenty of adjustments given the current scenario. Yale must be in Bridgeport, and there are a few intra-conference matchups in the first round that have to be addressed. Here's what I came up with:

2. Boston College vs. 14. Yale
6. Providence vs. 12. Clarkson

3. Quinnipiac vs. 16. Mercyhurst
7. Northeastern vs. 10. Wisconsin

4. Union vs. 15. Michigan
5. Ferris State vs. 11. Notre Dame

1. Minnesota vs. 13. Cornell
8. St. Cloud State vs. 9. UMass Lowell

Merrimack/Quinnipiac highlights

From Saturday night in North Andover, Mass.

Monday, January 13, 2014

Images of Yale at Madison Square Garden

All parties, from Harvard and Yale, expressed their pleasure and an interest in continuing the Rivalry on Ice Game in New York City long term, on an annual or bi-annual type basis. Here are a few images from a great night at Madison Square Garden.

Quinnipiac 5th, Yale 8th in USCHO poll Division I Men's Poll
Minneapolis, Minn./January 13, 2014

   Team             (First Place)   Record   Pts  Last Week
 1 Minnesota                 (48)   14- 2-3   997     1
 2 Ferris State              ( 1)   17- 3-3   935     3
 3 St. Cloud State           ( 1)   12- 3-3   865     2
 4 Boston College                   14- 4-3   853     5
 5 Quinnipiac                       17- 3-5   819     7
 6 Union                            13- 4-3   760     4
 7 Providence                       13- 5-4   642     6
 8 Yale                              8- 3-4   613    10
 9 Wisconsin                        13- 6-1   559    14
10 Massachusetts-Lowell             14- 6-1   546     9
11 Northeastern                     13- 6-3   496    16
12 Cornell                           8- 4-3   436    12
13 Michigan                         10- 6-2   428     8
14 Clarkson                         13- 7-2   352    11
15 Notre Dame                       12- 8-1   345    15
16 Denver                           11- 7-4   208    17
17 New Hampshire                    13-10-1   148    20
18 Vermont                          11- 7-3   143    18
19 Maine                            11- 7-2    89    NR
20 North Dakota                     11- 7-2    81    NR

Others receiving votes: Miami 75, Ohio State 40, Western
Michigan 30, Colgate 18, Bowling Green 6, Lake Superior 6,
Mercyhurst 5, Bentley 3, Air Force 2.

Saturday, January 11, 2014

St. Louis Blues coming to Yale

This should be cool. The St. Louis Blues, as a way to support the Mandi Schwartz Foundation, will practice at Yale's Ingalls Rink on Friday, Jan. 24 at 3 p.m., a session that will be open to the general public. The team is also attending that evening's "White Out for Mandi" women's game between Yale and Brown.

Mandi Schwartz, who skated for Yale and passed away after a courageous battle with leukemia in 2011, is the sister of Blues forward Jaden Schwartz. Yale has gone above and beyond in raising funds and awareness, including creating an annual "White Out for Mandi" fundraiser at Ingalls for the Mandi Schwartz Foundation -- started in her memory by former Yale captain Aleca Hughes. Donations for the foundation will be accepted prior to the game against Brown and, it is expected, during the Blue practice session. There will also be an auction at the game, expected to include some autographed memorabilia.

Yale would like to break the record attendance for a women's game: 1,539 for a Team USA exhibition. The "White Out for Mandi" record is 1,066.

St. Louis plays at Madison Square Garden against the Rangers on Jan. 23, and will be at the Islanders on Jan. 25.

Friday, January 10, 2014

Top 10 matchup in Hamden

Highly anticipated rematch between Quinnipiac and Union at High Point Solutions Arena tonight. Union had more pepper the first meeting, a come-from-behind 6-4 victory in Schenectady. Quinnipiac has been playing well, but has more ties than wins since Nov. 22. The lines:


Van Brabant-Hibbeler-JST
St. Denis-Peca-Clifton






Thursday, January 9, 2014

How much did it cost to play at Madison Square 1926?

Got my hands on a copy of a Yale hockey expense sheet for its trip to New York to take on Harvard at Madison Square Garden in Feb. 1926, and it's quite a treat.

At the time, Yale had no indoor arena to call its own. The original New Haven Arena had burned down two years earlier, and was in the process of being rebuilt. Still not ready, the Bulldogs often played home games at various outdoor rinks around the area. For the 1925-26 season, according to Yale's director of sports publicity Steve Conn, the team played it's entire home schedule at Madison Square Garden.

Twenty men made the trip -- 15 players, two coaches, two managers and one "Cheer Leader." Here's a breakdown of what the Feb. 27 trip cost.

20 round trip railroad fares from New Haven to New York, at a cost of $5.22 each -- $104.40
20 Pullman seats (sleepers), one way, from New Haven to New York, at a cost of .75 each -- $15.00
20 dinners at the Roosevelt Hotel, plus tip -- $55.00
Postgame food for 20 men -- $18.65
Baggage transfer in New York -- $3.00
Taxi fare for 20 men in New York -- $9.35
Taxi fare for 20 men in New Haven -- $3.20
Miscellaneous (paper cups, gum, tips, oranges, etc.) -- $2.05
Subway fare -- 0.10
Parking for coach Wanamaker's car -- $1.00
Skate sharpening (12 pairs at .50 each) -- $6.00

Total trip expenses -- $217.75

Don't hold me to it, but pretty sure $217 today just about covers the cost of the toll at the George Washington Bridge.