MEN’S HOCKEY: Doherty ’17 talks rookie season, success

With one-third of the season complete, the No. 8 men’s hockey team has continued to find success on the ice. Despite losing key players from last year’s national title winning squad, head coach Keith Allain ’80 has drawn on a deep and talented pool of players that looks primed for another competitive season. The Bulldogs rank 12th in the nation in scoring offense, but do not feature a single player inside the top 48 point-getters in America. The Elis (6—2—2, 3—1—2 ECAC) have seven players who have complied more than seven points through 10 games. Yale’s freshman class has helped to propel the Bulldogs to the top half of the ECAC standings, as the four rookie skaters have compiled a total of 20 points this season. Additionally, a freshman has played every minute in net this year. The News sat down with forward Mike Doherty ’17, who currently leads the team in points with nine, to discuss his hockey career and Yale experience so far.

Q: What drew you to hockey and what made you want to play college hockey? 

A: Growing up around Boston, pretty much everyone plays hockey, and my father had me on the skates at 3 years old so it pretty much took off from there. As far as college goes, I grew up watching all the great schools in the area — BU, BC, etc.— and always wanted to play on that stage, and I worked hard in the classroom and on the ice to make it happen.

Q: How has adjusting to college hockey and Yale’s style of play gone so far? Did you find it difficult at first?

A: The transition hasn’t been easy. The first few weeks were frustrating at times because it’s harder to make plays and have success than in juniors or high school. Every practice is tough and everyone is so skilled that you realize what it takes to get in the lineup. As far as Yale’s style of play goes, that’s been one of the nice parts because I’ve always tried to play a quick, hard game and that’s exactly what we do here. Each day I get more comfortable.

Q: What has it been like playing on a line with captain Jesse Root ’14 and Kenny Agostino ’14?

A: It’s awesome. I mean as everyone knows, they’re both such hardworking, skilled players that it makes it really fun to play with them. Beyond their obvious skills, they’ve been great teammates to me as a younger guy, always encouraging me and giving me confidence, which is huge when you see the success they’ve had in the past.

Q: Does it mean anything to you to be leading the team in points? 

A: No, as long as we keep getting wins, it doesn’t matter who has the most points. It’s been nice to contribute a bit offensively, but every line has been scoring goals. We play a team game, so individual statistics don’t matter much.

Q: What is it like playing on a team with so many offensive weapons? Is it nice knowing everyone can contribute on the offensive end of the ice? 

A: Absolutely, as I said before, all of our lines are capable of scoring goals, so if one line is having a tough night, it’s nice knowing that we have three other lines that can pick us up. It’s also tough for other teams when every line is a threat.

Q: What has the camaraderie been like in the freshman class with so many rookies already heavily contributing for the team? 

A: We have a great group of guys. We’re all really close and we are with each other for most of every day. We are a bunch of jokesters so we like to keep things loose but at the same time every guy works really hard and has bought into the team 100 percent.

Q: What separates Yale’s team from other teams you have played on and what makes this team click? 

A: Every player on this team buys into our system, when usually you have a few guys who tend to be about themselves. The unity in our game and in the locker room makes us all click. The work ethic on the team is second to none as well. More than anything, I think we have great leadership from our coaches down to the upperclassmen.

 

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