Keith Allain ’80 is semifinal bound.
The Yale hockey coach is moonlighting as head coach of the United States team at the World Junior Hockey Championships. His squad clinched first place in Group A and a bye heading into the tournament semifinal with a 2–1 victory over Switzerland on Friday.
The Americans next play on Jan. 3, when they will face the winner of a quarterfinal contest between Canada and Switzerland. Last year, the Americans upended Canada, 6–5, in overtime in the gold medal game.
The semifinal appearance means that Allain will miss Yale’s return to regular season play against Holy Cross on Jan. 2. Instead, associate head coach Kyle Wallack will make the calls against his former team. Wallack came to Yale from the Holy Cross coaching staff five years ago.
Allain’s presence behind the bench is not the only Yale connection to the tournament. Tim Taylor, who coached Allain during his time as an Eli goalie and who brought him back to New Haven as an assistant coach, is the director of player personnel for the Americans.
The tournament player most closely connected to Yale will miss the rest of the competition. Jaden Schwartz, the brother of women’s hockey player and Saskatchewan native Mandi Schwartz ’11, broke his ankle on Dec. 28 playing for Canada against the Czech Republic. Mandi Schwartz has inspired headlines across the country in recent months in her battle against leukemia. Jaden and brother Rylan Schwartz both play for Colorado College and assisted the team’s lone goal in their 5–1 loss to Yale on Nov. 13.
The puck drops on America’s semifinal game at 7:30 p.m. Monday in Buffalo’s HSBC Arena.