Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Yale's John Hayden named alternate captain of Team USA

John Hayden, Yale's leading scorer, was named an alternate captain of the U.S. entry into the World Junior Championships. Boston University freshman Jack Eichel is the team captain. Defenseman Will Butcher, a sophomore at Denver, is the other alternate captain.

The U.S. has wins over Boston University and Germany in exhibitions leading into the World tournament, set to begin Dec. 26 in Toronto and Montreal. The U.S. plays Sweden today in the last tune-up leading into the opener against Finland in Montreal, to be televised live (3 p.m.) by the NHL Network.

Monday, December 22, 2014

Quinnipiac's Matt Lemire transfers to UMass Boston

Quinnipiac's Matt Lemire has transferred to UMass-Boston, the Register has learned. Sources indicated Lemire's decision was based on his interest in regular playing time. The junior forward had played in only 21 career games for the Bobcats, four this season, and has no career points.

UMass Boston, a member of the Division III ECAC East, is off to a 10-0 start under the direction of ex-UConn assistant Peter Belisle.

Lemire, a Townsend, Massachusetts resident, was an ECAC All-Academic selection but was unable to crack the lineup with any consistency. He saw no action as a freshman, played in 17 games last winter and four of the Bobcats 16 games this season.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Yale's John Hayden, Keith Allain talk World Junior Championships

Few things get Yale coach Keith Allain to light up with excitement more than the World Junior Championships. John Hayden, a sophomore forward, was named to the U.S. roster earlier this week. There are still seven cuts looming after the team convenes in Boston Dec. 16, but Allain, a three-time head coach of the U.S. entry, thinks Hayden is well positioned to make the final roster.

"I think he’s got a really good chance," Allain said. "They’ve got a role for him, and they understand what he’s going to be, and they know him as a player really well."

Hayden didn't make the preliminary roster last December after being invited to the team's summer training camp. He's determined to make the final roster.

"This has been a goal of mine a long time, to make this team," Hayden said. "Summer camp went well, I had good chemistry with those guys, and I'm looking forward to Boston. Hearing my name is on that roster is very special to me. I want to prove I belong on that team."

Allain has coached in the Stanley Cup playoffs, the Olympics, the IIHF World Championships, the World Cup of Hockey and the NCAA playoffs. He says none compare to the World Junior Championships, which he calls the "greatest hockey tournament in the world." That the event is essentially a week-long national holiday in Canada only adds to the atmosphere. And Allain is every bit as excited as Hayden at the opportunity to play in front of sold-out crowds in the NHL arenas of Montreal and Toronto, if that's possible.

"I'd like nothing more for him than to have that experience. I was thrilled Dan Muse was an assistant the last two teams. I talked to him before the first year, and I said I can’t describe it to you, but I’m telling you…because you're immersed in it and you’re with this group of 30 people and you become a family in like two days and you’re doing everything together and everything is about the tournament and the team and its just really unique." 

A few other notes from Yale as it prepares for RPI on Friday and Union on Saturday, a meeting of the past two NCAA champions.

** Scoring goals hasn't been an issue since Allain took over at Yale. So the 2.11 goals-per game through nine games is concerning. Allain feels the Bulldogs are vastly improved since a flat loss to St. Lawrence on Nov. 15. "I think, really, from my perspective, if we field passes a little cleaner that'll give us the split second we need to get a better shot off. I just think our precision passing is getting better but its not as good as it needs to be to score goals."

** Scoring is down across the ECAC. Yale, at 2.11 goals-per game, is scoring less than it did during a 5-25-2 season of 2004-05 (2.19). Still, it ranks sixth in the league in scoring offense, better than Cornell, Clarkson, RPI, Princeton, Brown, all under two goals-per game. "I think our record right now, you can't be upset with how we're doing," Yale forward Carson Cooper said. "You always want to be doing better, you want to score more. But the way our defense is coming around, that's something to be proud of. Hopefully we can get the scoring coming, but we have been scoring and winning games."

** Indeed, team defense and goaltending is as strong as ever. The start to Alex Lyon's sophomore campaign has been brilliant. Patrick Spano, in his first start of the season, shut out RIT. Having multiple, extremely capable goaltenders presents some challenges. "Making sure everyone feels valuable and are contributing to the team," Allain said. "And keeping guys fresh so when you need them they are able to perform. Those are challenges. But the benefits certainly outweigh any challenges it may present."

** The main challenges for Yale have been dealing with injuries. Anthony Day, Nico Weberg and Tim Bonner have missed multiple games. Allain doesn't get into specifics, but acknowledged there are a couple of players who won't be back any time soon. Dealing with adversity is part of the game. "Everyone has to deal with stuff, and that's why we don't talk about it much," Allain said. "Whether it's guys banged up or the ref makes a bad call or our goalie lets in a bad goal. Whatever the situation may be, that's the way it's supposed to be. Figure it out."