Tag Archive: Hockey

  1. MEN’S HOCKEY: Bulldogs win 4–1 in season opener

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    After shaking off its season-opening nerves, the No. 16 Yale men’s hockey team returned to winning form in convincing fashion.

    A three-goal flurry over a 10-minute span in the first period transformed an early deficit into a comfortable lead to help lift the Elis to a 4–1 win over Sacred Heart in their season opener. Four Yale players netted goals, while the Bulldogs’ elite penalty-kill unit neutralized nine power play threats.

    “We did a great job responding to early adversity,” captain and forward John Hayden ’17 said. “That move-on-and-win-back-momentum mentality will benefit us moving forward. We did a great job with our rush offense; capitalizing on the opposition’s turnovers will be one key to our [offensive] production.”

    The Elis (1–0–0, 0–0–0 ECAC Hockey) entered their first game of the season after two scrimmages against Brown and Princeton last weekend. By comparison, the Pioneers (2–4–1, 1–2–0 Atlantic Hockey) traveled to the Ingalls Rink with six competitive games already under their belts. Their previous slate included a thrilling 4–4 draw with Union, another ECAC team, and a 7–0 loss to then-No. 8 Boston University.

    The Bulldogs have had full practice the last four weeks, but Saturday night provided a different type of test: a collegiate debut for seven freshmen, and a new face between the pipes.

    Goaltender Patrick Spano ’17 stepped into the starting role without missing a beat to earn his fourth career win. However, the Bulldogs got off to a shaky start in the opening minutes. Sacred Heart lit the lamp just four minutes into the game with its third shot on net. Forward Jeff Carroll, alone in front of the net, tipped teammate Ruslan Rakhmatov’s shot from the point past Spano at 4:24 to hand the Pioneers an early lead.

    Yale found its stride in the ensuing minutes and pulled level with the Pioneers shortly after a near miss from close range by forward Andrew Gaus ’19. Defenseman Chandler Lindstrand ’20, one of three freshmen starting on defense for the Bulldogs, scored his first college goal on a pass from forward Joe Snively ’19, last season’s ECAC Rookie of the Year, firing a high wrist shot off goalie Nathan Perry’s arm at 6:08.

    “[Scoring my first career goal] was an unbelievable feeling,” Lindstrand said. “To get it in the first game was special.”

    The Bulldogs drew back-to-back penalties in the middle of the opening period as the officials adhered strictly to the letter of the law, but the Yale power play failed to launch. Once the sides found themselves at even strength again, the Bulldogs pulled away for good, thanks to third-line forwards Mike Doherty ’17, Ted Hart ’19 and Chris Izmirlian ’17.

    Hart scored the go-ahead goal at 14:58 from Doherty’s assist, rifling a shot just inside the near post from a tight angle. Less than two minutes later at 16:36, Izmirlian doubled the Yale advantage. Doherty broke into the zone before laying the puck back to Izmirlian, who coolly slotted his wrist shot inside the left post. Doherty’s two-assist night matched his point output from Yale’s 5–1 victory over Sacred Heart in his rookie season.

    “[The three of us] developed chemistry last year and that’s carried over into this year,” Hart said. “We understand each other as players and we know the kind of plays that make our line successful.”

    The Bulldogs skated back onto the ice for the second period facing their first penalty-kill opportunity of the season after a roughing call against forward Frankie DiChiara ’17. Last year, Yale’s penalty kill shattered the NCAA all-time record, successfully killing 94.4 percent of its penalties. Yale’s penalty kill was tested early and often in the second period, as the roughing on DiChiara was the first of six Yale penalties in a period that saw 16 minutes of total penalty time between the two teams.

    Head coach Keith Allain ’80 noted before the game that referees in collegiate hockey are actively trying to be tougher on calls this year given a new mandate from the NCAA rules committee to tightly enforce hooking, obstruction and interference penalties.

    “If this is the way the game is going to be played? Oof. It’s not very pretty,” Allain said. “It takes a lot of getting used to on the bench. … We have to learn from it, we have to be smarter with our use of sticks.”

    The Pioneers spent six of the first 10 minutes of the second period a man up but failed to translate that advantage onto the scoreboard. The effectiveness of the Bulldog penalty kill carried Yale into the final period with its same two-goal advantage.

    The calls continued to pile up in the third, but it was the Bulldogs who finally broke through on the power play, increasing their lead four minutes into the period. After a sharp pass from Snively, Hayden blasted a one-timer from the right circle for his 30th career goal.

    The Pioneers had some good chances to get back in the game, particularly on two five-on-three opportunities midway through the period, but ultimately were unable to beat Spano and Yale’s defense.

    “[Spano’s save on the five-on-three] was the save of the game,” Allain said. “We talk about our penalty kill being good, [and] the goalie’s got to be your best penalty killer. I thought [Spano] had a really good game.”

    In his first start since Dec. 5, 2015, Spano stopped 23 of 24 shots, shutting out the Pioneers for the final 55:36 of the game. The Elis killed off all nine of their penalties, and scored once on their seven power play opportunities.

    The 4–1 victory against a nonconference opponent provided a good opportunity for both the freshmen and returning players alike to find their rhythm on the ice.

    “[This win] is huge for our team,” Spano said. “We just want to start rolling now.”

    Yale begins conference play next weekend with games at ECAC opponents No. 20 Union and RPI.

  2. Elis open with two-win weekend

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    After starting the fall with two preseason wins, the Yale women’s ice hockey team continued its dominance this past weekend, crushing the Rochester Institute of Technology in two games.

    Yale (2–0–0, 0–0–0 ECAC Hockey) had 14 different players register a point in the two games combined, complementing a 4–1 victory over the Tigers (1–7–0, 0–0–0 Atlantic Hockey) on Friday with an 8–2 drubbing on Saturday. Defender Taylor Marchin ’17 and forwards captain Krista Yip-Chuck ’17 and Phoebe Staenz ’17 netted two goals each against RIT, while Kara Drexler ’18 and Eden Murray ’18 both tallied four assists.

    “We are really happy with the way we’re producing and what we’re creating offensively,” head coach Joakim Flygh said. “Our depth really showed, and it’s really exciting when we have that success.”

    Yale began its regular season on a high note, scoring a pair of unanswered goals in the first period of Friday’s matchup. The first came on a snap shot from the left side by forward Jordan Chancellor ’19 that whistled past the shoulder of RIT goalie Terra Lanteigne. Forward Kirsten Nergaard ’20 scored her first career goal with six minutes left in the first period, doubling Yale’s lead to 2–0 off of assists by Drexler and forward Kaitlin Gately ’18.

    Though the Bulldogs put nine shots on goal in the second period, Lanteigne saved each one to hold the Elis scoreless. Goalie Hanna Mandl ’17 matched her opponent’s defense with six saves of her own in the period to protect Yale’s two-goal lead.

    Marchin put the Bulldogs on the board once more at the start of the third period, firing a slap shot into the net from near center ice on a power play at 7:59. The Tigers were able to score halfway through the third period after Mandl failed to secure a rebound in front of the net, but the Elis capped off the game with an empty net goal by Yip-Chuck at 17:31.

    Yale owned a 50–18 shot advantage over RIT in the 4–1 win.

    “Coming off of Friday’s win we definitely had a lot more confidence and knew we were in a good place setting foot on the ice on Saturday,” Mandl said. “The girls also did a great job sharing the puck, [and it] led to eight goals which is outstanding.”

    It did not take long on Saturday for forward Laura Anderson ’20 to find the net on assists by Drexler and Chancellor, giving Yale the lead less than eight minutes into the game. After scoring just one goal in the opening period, the Bulldogs picked up the intensity in the second period, outshooting the Tigers 18–7 and putting away four goals.

    Defender Julia Yetman ’19 scored the team’s second goal on a power play after RIT forward Reagan Rust received a hooking penalty. Marchin sent a cross-rink pass to Yetman who fired the long shot in.

    Yale continued to lay on the offense shortly after Yetman’s goal. Staenz scored a goal right in front of the net off of a pass by Drexler from near center ice. After assisting her teammates earlier in the game, Marchin provided some scoring of her own with help from Murray and Yip-Chuck. The captain stole the puck at center ice and passed to Murray who eventually found a wide-open Marchin for the strike.

    Forward Emily Monaghan ’18 had her time to shine three minutes after Marchin, scoring the fifth Bulldog goal on a pass from forward Courtney Pensavalle ’18 with less than 40 seconds to go in the second period.

    With a 5–0 advantage entering the third period, forward Emma Vlasic ’19 reopened the scoring for the Bulldogs with her first career goal at 9:03.

    “[Defender] Grace [Wickens ’18] got the puck at the point and had a high shot that I was able to get a stick on and then deflect into the net,” Vlasic said. “It was really nice to score my first goal and hopefully I’ll build off of that more this season.”

    Yip-Chuck showcased her skills yet again, recording her third point of the game on a long shot from straight in front of the goal, while RIT was still unable to counter offensively.

    The Tigers finally got on the scoreboard late in the third period. In a small scoring run for the team, forward Kathryn Kennedy and defender Taylor Thurston both scored on power play opportunities. Kennedy took advantage of an opening from center ice to score and Thurston followed by tapping in the puck from inches in front of the goal.

    But RIT’s brief surge came far too late to change the game’s final outcome. Marchin found an open Staenz who scored on a quick pass to make the score 8–2 as the clock counted down.

    “I think our quick playing pace really helped us on Saturday,” Vlasic said. “We have a fast team so we want to be moving our feet and creating space. That’s what will help us in our big games coming up this weekend.”

    With the Yale’s ECAC schedule looming, Flygh expressed his confidence in his team’s ability, and said he believes that the team’s fitness and talent have shown in its first four games.

    “We want to win championships,” Flygh said. “We’ll try be a top four team in our league; that’s an attainable goal. We want to keep on dancing and win the Ivy League Championship, and hopefully that leads to a National Championship.”

    The Bulldogs barely missed a playoff berth at the end of last season, finishing ninth in the ECAC. The Bulldogs will look to continue their win streak in their first weekend of conference play at Ingalls Rink, facing Quinnipiac on Friday and Princeton on Saturday.

  3. Pux et Victorious

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    Last Saturday, for the first time in Yale hockey history, the Bulldogs defeated Quinnipiac 4–0 to win the NCAA Division I men’s hockey championship. But you already knew that. This week, WEEKEND brings you what you don’t already know. What were the players thinking moments after the final buzzer rang? If it took Yale this long to win, then what were we doing for the past 120 years? Three hockey players offer the details on what this momentous victory means; a Yale history professor gives us a crash course in Yale hockey history; a devoted hockey fan tells us about the Pittsburgh viewing experience; and for the first time in the News’ history, a Quinnipiac student offers his take on the Yale-Quinnipiac rivalry. Take a moment and read their words — because this is what it feels like to go to a school that’s good at sports.

    ***

    #winning

    By the Yale Men’s Hockey Team

    // NICHOLAS MARICIC ’13 (Goalie)

    It took years of clawing, scratching, pushing and pulling to get to the door. With each tournament appearance, we knocked a little louder: a soft rasp in ’09, a respectable thud in ’10 and an almost impossible-to-ignore bang in ’11. What happened in ’13 was different, more akin to quietly walking up, pulling that oh-so-heavy door of national acceptance off its hinges and casually tossing it aside. It is now undeniable — Yale has arrived. The club of Division I hockey national champions is an exclusive one, with Yale now being only its 19th member. For the Yale hockey program and its fans, this is a long-awaited moment to savor.

    For us players, the experience has been surreal, and perhaps a little overwhelming. Skating around the ice after the final buzzer, it was hard not to think of the people who made this all possible. For Yale, our families, our coaches both past and present, friends, teachers, classmates and suitemates, we couldn’t have done it without you. More than anything else, this experience has made us cognizant of just how fortunate we are. For all of us, this championship is the culmination of a journey 10, 11 or 12 years in the making.

    Hockey isn’t a sport you can casually pick up in high school — it’s a lifestyle that consumes you before your age reaches double digits. To feed the obsession, you need enablers. This championship was for our parents, who selflessly gave up vacations, birthdays and anniversaries without a complaint just to make sure we got to pee-wee practice at those ungodly hours. It was for the coaches of past and present, who saw our potential as both players and people and gave up thousands upon thousands of hours to make sure we didn’t squander it. It is for the teachers, whose flexibility and understanding make it possible for us to succeed both academically and athletically; you don’t know how much that paper extension after a long road trip means to us. It’s for the friends and suitemates who support us inside and outside of Ingalls. We might feign a stoicism when we are on the ice, but rest assured we see you up there breaking it down in the student section, and we love it. Your support outside of the rink is just as important; talking to us about everything except the rough game last night provides an outlet for us that, though we might not verbalize it, we appreciate. Finally, Yale, after an incredible four years, this is for you. A certain coach, smiling what I can honestly say might have been the first grin I’ve seen in four years, said it best after a certain big game on Saturday: “You’ve already given us more than it would ever be possible to give back to you”.

    // CHARLES ORZETTI ’16 (Left-winger)

    First and foremost, I feel blessed to have had the opportunity to play with my team this year and accomplish what we did. Most college hockey players go through four years without making the tournament, and my class was fortunate enough to win the whole thing in our first year. It is surreal, and we’re still in celebration mode; I suspect once everything settles down, it will sink in. I remember skating around after the win in disbelief. Every team says winning the championship is its goal, but we had actually done it. I was struggling to come up with words for an interview to describe the feeling, and I still am. Being able to celebrate with my mom, dad, brother and sister after the game made winning even more special. I will never forget that night.

    Playing for this University and having the entire school behind us was an unbelievable feeling. I’m proud of the boys, coaches, staff and what we were able to accomplish. Hockey is the ultimate team sport, and we have a special group of guys who play for each other. The senior leadership was unbelievable, and I truly believe that Andrew Miller ’13, Josh Balch ’13, Antoine Laganiere ’13, Colin Dueck ’13, Jeff Malcolm ’13 and Nick Maricic ’13 creating winning expectations was the biggest factor in our success. When a reporter asked about the team after our win, I told him it was the mentally toughest group with which I’ve ever played. That’s a tribute to the seniors, and I think it’s the main reason we were able to handle a lot of adversity during the season and in the tournament. I’m glad they are graduating as champions — I cannot think of a better way to send off such a great group.

    As for the future of Yale hockey, I’m already excited for next season. The bar has been set regarding expectations, and after experiencing this ride, I know everyone will want it again even more. Since college hockey crowned its first winner in 1948, there have been eight repeat national champions. Next year, we’d love nothing more than to be the ninth.

    // ROBERT O’GARA ’16 (Defense)

    I still do not think what we accomplished last weekend has completely sank in. I think Nick Maricic ’13 put it best in his speech during the celebration at the rink, when he said it feels like a dream still, and he doesn’t want to wake up and have it end. As a kid you dream about winning championships like this one, and to actually accomplish that goal and win that championship feels nothing short of incredible. To win that game with this group of guys, incredible coaching staff and my parents in the stands is something I will remember for the rest of my life and for which I could never describe my true gratitude. I feel beyond lucky and honored to have played with each and every one of those guys out on that ice Saturday night. Everyone stuck to the plan, and with the leadership of our seniors, who are already about to be doing big things in hockey in different sweaters, we were able to persevere. This is quite obviously the greatest victory of my hockey career, and I have my teammates and coaches to thank for that. It really is difficult to describe my emotions, but to say I am still on cloud nine would be an understatement.

    In terms of what this win means for the future of Yale hockey, I hope that it makes everyone here even hungrier to win it all again. That feeling was one like no other, and to say “I want it again” would be severely underexaggerating my desire to have our hockey team back on top once again: I am already looking forward to next season to hopefully do it all again, and that’s what our focus will be. We now have a large group of guys who know what it takes to win at that stage, and I think that alone will really help our program in the coming years. I am so excited at where we can go in my next three years here at Yale, and once again want to express my appreciation for going through this unbelievable experience as a freshman.

    A quick shoutout again to our awesome senior class who really deserved to go out this way — a great group of guys. Also Gus Young ’14, my defense partner, will appreciate a shoutout if he reads this — I can’t wait to play with him again next year. And finally the freshman class — the best class dynamic in the NCAA. Thanks.

    ***

    A Look Back Into Yale’s Hockey History

    By Professor Jay Gitlin ’71 MUS ’74 GRD ’02

    First — best sign ever: Pux et Veritas. Second — congratulations to head coach Keith Allain ’80 and the NATIONAL CHAMPIONS: Yale men’s hockey team. I like the sound of that. Thanks guys. We’re very proud of you. And nod to Max de La Bruyère ’13, Alberta is in the house.

    All of this may be a surprise to some, but it shouldn’t be. The Yale men’s ice hockey team is the oldest existing intercollegiate ice hockey program in the United States, dating back to 1893. The team had its ups and downs, and even won the Hobey Baker Award in the 1934–’35 season, but the modern era began in 1938 when the University hired former New York Rangers player Murray Murdoch to be the team’s head coach. Murdoch, born in Ontario and raised in Alberta, played over a decade for the Rangers. He coached the Yale team until 1965, received the Lester Patrick Trophy for his contributions to U.S. hockey in 1974 and died at the age of 96 in 2001. Murdoch, known as the “Iron Man” for never having missed a game in 11 seasons with the Rangers, came to Yale at the suggestion of John Reed Kilpatrick 1911, an All-American football player in 1909 and 1910. Kilpatrick became the president of Madison Square Garden and the New York Rangers in 1933. How’s that for “life after Yale”? I knew Kilpatrick’s daughter, Frannie Field, a wonderful person who had the best stories ever, having literally grown up in Madison Square Garden. She would tell us about meeting Will Rogers, Walter Chrysler, rodeo stars and hockey players.

    As for me, I developed a fascination for hockey as a young kid in the late 1950s. I couldn’t stand up on skates, but I loved the game. Channel-surfing for something to watch — well, it wasn’t exactly channel-surfing then since these were the pre-cable and pre-remote days and you had to get up and turn the dial on the set — I found such marvels as the New York Tuck Tapers of the National Industrial Basketball League and then, hockey: the Rangers. (I patiently explained hockey to my dad — blue lines, cross-checking, etc. He loved all sports and had been a boxer, a runner and a big baseball fan.) The Rangers didn’t have a great team. The Montreal Canadiens with Maurice “Rocket” Richard and his younger brother Henri, the “Pocket Rocket,” and later, the incomparable Guy Lafleur, always seemed to dominate the NHL. But the Rangers had their great players, Camille “the Eel” Henry and Andy Bathgate. My favorites were Rod Gilbert and Jean Ratelle. I got to meet Gilbert when I played the piano at the New Haven Coliseum at a reception for the New Haven Nighthawks, the Rangers’ AHL affiliate, back in the 1970s.

    So I was already a hockey fan when I arrived at Yale in the late ’60s and discovered that hockey was a big deal in the Ivies and in prep schools all over New England. At Yale, however, hockey also became my window into Canada in the form of Duane D. Drager ’71 — “Spike.” Spike was from Sudbury, Ontario, and lived across the hall my sophomore year in Calhoun. We cheered him on at Ingalls Rink, but perhaps of more lasting importance for me, it was Spike that introduced us to his “home and native land,” Canada. While other rooms sat around listening to the Stones and the Beatles, we listened over and over again to the great songs of Canadian singer-songwriter Gordon Lightfoot. You should check him out. Apparently, Robbie Robertson of The Band (also Canadian) and Bob Dylan were huge Gordon Lightfoot fans. Lightfoot’s biggest hits were “If You Could Read My Mind” (beautiful song) and “The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald.” (Both hit the top 10 in the U.S.) My own favorites are “She Was Something Very Special To Me” and “Canadian Railroad Trilogy.” Thanks Spike — still love these songs.

    Well, many years later, I wound up as a member of the Canadian Studies Committee at Yale, and now I’ve taught Canadian history here for 15 years. Especially in the first years I taught the course, I would always have a few hockey players in class, and I have to share a story about one of them: Nick Deschenes ’03. Nick, a native of Alberta, took my class and wrote an excellent final paper. I was also pleased that he had used this occasion to reconnect with relatives in Québec and brush up on his French. He wrote his history senior essay on a very serious topic, the impact of a cholera epidemic on Québec City in the 1830s. Toward of the end of the semester, he walked into my office in Davenport with the biggest grin ever and announced: “Professor Gitlin, this is the best day of my life. I got an A on my senior essay … and I’ve been drafted by the Philadelphia Flyers.”

    So here’s to Yale Hockey, past and present. Here’s to our 2013 team and to Nick, to Spike, to Roland Betts ’68 and Jeremy Kinney ’68 who played hockey as undergraduates and have been great alumni and supporters of history initiatives such as the Lamar Center, to classmate Bob Ufer ’71, Bob Brooke ’83 and former student Keith McCullough ’99. Drink a toast to Jeff Malcolm ’13 of Lethbridge, Alberta, and Antoine Laganiere ’13 of Ile Cadieux, Québec. It was a long time coming, but worth the wait. Three cheers for Hockey, Canada and Yale. Murray Murdoch is smiling.

    ***

    Don’t Take It For Granted

    By Evan Frondorf ’14

    We may frequently lament the dearth of athletic success here at Yale, but we’re actually pretty spoiled. We’ve seen success that previous Yale classes could only dream about. Yale hockey has never been better, and it’s been good for the better half of the last decade — the team has made the NCAA tournament four times in the last five years. Before that? Just twice in the previous 61 years of the NCAA tournament. Yale’s ice hockey program is the oldest in the United States, but it took 120 years for the Bulldogs to earn the national crown. We’re living through history, folks.

    I was in Pittsburgh for four days to cover the team for WYBC (and Grand Rapids before that), and my biggest takeaway was how special this moment was for fans and former alumni and team members. Sure, I had spent the last couple years covering games in 3,000-person rinks in upstate New York, so I too was starstruck by watching Yale play in an 18,000-seat NHL arena in downtown Pittsburgh. But to me it seemed like a natural progression: Step 1. Cover the regular season games. Step 2. Cover the conference tournament. Step 3. Cover the NCAA tournament. For longtime Yale fans, the New Haven faithful and employees of Yale Athletics, however, the team usually didn’t make it to Step 3 (or even Step 2). There was no payoff, no reward at the end of a grueling regular season. This was a team that went 5–25–2 during the 2004–’05 season, playing at an Ingalls Rink that badly needed a renovation.

    Obviously, going to the Frozen Four for the first time in 61 years — and then winning a national championship — was an event of cathartic delayed gratification that no current student can understand or imagine. The New Haven Register’s Chip Malafronte has covered college hockey in New Haven for more than a decade and never saw a team in the Frozen Four. Suddenly, he had both Yale and Quinnipiac not only advancing to the Frozen Four, but also advancing to the national title game. Meanwhile, this was my first full year primarily covering Yale hockey — it almost felt as if I didn’t deserve it. I made memories I’ll have for the rest of my life, but some people have been waiting for a good part of their life to make these memories.

    But the hockey team’s success is no accident. Yes, Yale was the last at-large team to earn a bid to the tournament. Yes, they were a statistical underdog in each of their four tournament games. Yes, we could call them a Cinderella that made a magical run. Yet this team wouldn’t even have had the chance to compete for championship if it weren’t for the concerted effort of staff and administrators. When Tim Taylor, a hockey coaching legend, stepped down as head coach in 2006 after 28 years at the helm, the Athletics Department and the administration took a step back to re-evaluate the future of the hockey program. Despite strong criticism of his handling of the University’s athletics programs over the years, President Levin was instrumental in the hiring of current head coach Keith Allain ’80, a former star goaltender for the Bulldogs who had first found success as an assistant coach in the NHL. Also credit Athletics Director Tom Beckett for persuading Allain to come to Yale. As Allain said in a postgame press conference after the team earned its bid to the Frozen Four, “I wouldn’t be coaching in college hockey if it wasn’t for the Yale job.” Step 1: Hire a Yale alumnus renowned in the hockey world, who knows and understands the University’s unique relationship with athletics, to coach the ailing hockey program.

    Next came a $23 million renovation of the beautiful Ingalls Rink, completed in 2010, just as the school made its second straight NCAA tournament. The renovated facility was essential to establishing Yale as a top-notch hockey school. Just as the program’s stature was rising, fans returned to Ingalls. Step 2: Put millions of dollars into restoring Ingalls Rink to its rightful place as the coolest venue in college hockey.

    Finally, Yale needed to recruit players that met the school’s academic standards but were still capable of playing at an elite level. The school faces disadvantages, both those that are properly self-imposed (the academic rigor and lack of athletic scholarships) and those that are an unfortunate result of Yale’s position in the college hockey world. If top NHL prospects even choose to play college hockey, they go to one of the powerhouses — Minnesota, Boston College, North Dakota and so on. For example, Yale had four NHL draft picks on the squad this year; Minnesota had 15. Instead, Allain used what he had and created a system based on recruiting smaller players overlooked by the big schools — smaller players who are often speedy, relentless and have a strong hockey IQ. Bringing it all together under a terrific head coach has led to both team success and accolades for individual players. Step 3: Recruit intelligent players who fit in with Yale’s playing style, instead of developing the team around top recruits. 

    Mix well, and seven years later, the Bulldogs have earned a national championship. But those seven years in the oven were so crucial. Those three steps took time, dedication and a belief that Yale could make waves in the college hockey establishment. And they surely weren’t as clear-cut as my naive “three steps to covering a hockey season” I mentioned earlier. This championship is for the current students and the current team, but in large part, it’s also for the former players, the alumni and the die-hard fans that stuck with Yale hockey through the lean years and the program’s growth. Without each of their contributions, there’s no way this program would be where it is now.

    ***

    Toad’s Rivalry Takes Center Stage

    By Daniel Grosso QU ’13

    After closely following Quinnipiac hockey and attending as many games as my schedule would allow during my four years in college, I could not have dreamed of a better culmination to an incredible season than the championship game on Saturday night.

    I made the trek to Pittsburgh for the Frozen Four, and it was truly an amazing experience. It was incredible to see my small school from Hamden, Conn., recognized on the red carpet. Countless locals tapped me on the shoulder in bars, puzzled as to the pronunciation of the school on my shirt. The hockey team did more than win that night — it gave Quinnipiac national recognition.

    Our hockey team had a storybook season. The Bobcats began the season unranked, an impossible-to-pronounce university nuzzled in the heart of Connecticut, and by the end the team had held the top ranking in the nation since February and was playing for the NCAA Division I men’s ice hockey championship. It was only fitting the final obstacle standing between Quinnipiac and a national title was its rival, a team they beat three times previously in the season, the Yale Bulldogs.

    Although it provided good media fodder, I wanted nothing less than to face the Bulldogs in the championship. It is incredibly difficult to beat one team, harder yet a rival, four times in a single season. Sure enough, Yale was prepared in the fourth go-around and was able to beat Quinnipiac when it mattered most. The Bulldogs seemed to beat Quinnipiac to every puck; they played inspired hockey, defeated the top three teams in the nation and took home the national championship. Yale put together one of the all-time great runs in college hockey.

    The championship loss will sting for quite some time, as only a win on the biggest stage could remedy these feelings, but it adds more history to one of college hockey’s best rivalries. Looking back, as a freshman, there was one game I knew I had to get a ticket for: the Yale game. The atmosphere of a Quinnipiac-Yale game is electric, and it was a thrill to experience at the Frozen Four.

    Seeing the CONSOL Energy Center filled with Connecticut pride is something I will never forget. The game was such a great showing of the quality of hockey our region has to offer. Both student sections were out in full force and ready for some serious competition. Quinnipiac’s section was a sea of gold, while Yale showed plenty of spirit themselves. Students wore all blue, and some painted their chests for the game.

    As has become customary with the rivalry, the sections fought back and forth. Quinnipiac was keen on the “everybody knows Yale blows” chant, a staple for our school at these games. I love the rivalry our two schools have; it is a time we can openly insult Yale without fighting at Toad’s or peeing on buildings. It’s a way to go crazy and have some good jawing back-and-forth without actually harming anyone.

    During my four years at Quinnipiac, the Yale game was always the strongest showing of school spirit. The rivalry unifies the student body and is the biggest event at my school each year. Quinnipiac’s hockey game against Yale is the closest I will ever come to the intensity of a Yale-Harvard football game. It’s circled on everybody’s calendar and is a game guaranteed to sell out.

    Unlike recent incidents in other sports or at other schools, nobody has ever attacked one another at a Quinnipiac-Yale hockey game. To me, this is the rivalry’s best quality. Both schools understand the rivalry is in the name of fun and is more about school spirit and pride than it is anything else.

    While in Pittsburgh, my friends and I ran into some Yale alumni from Ohio in one of the bars. We were decked out in Quinnipiac gold, but they approached us anyway. We talked for a while about college hockey and took some friendly jabs at each other’s schools, but it was always in good fun. By the end of the afternoon, they had bought us shots and we were sitting and drinking as friends. It was fun to see how a college rivalry can bring together people who have never before met. Although we are “enemies,” it was a good conversation starter.

    Although the championship loss will be tough to put behind me, I know the rivalry will only grow more intense. Yale has hardware to hold over our heads, but Quinnipiac will be coming even harder for the years to come. The Toad’s rivalry will continue to grow and will be there for new students to enjoy. Seeing both these programs experience national success only makes me excited for the future. Our two hockey teams showed Minnesota and the rest of the nation how strong the ECAC and Connecticut hockey are.

    We may be rivals, but that does not mean Quinnipiac does not respect a good opponent. My hat goes off to the Yale hockey team; you guys went on an incredible run. It was fun seeing you guys in the championship game, and I can’t wait to be back next year.

    Contact Daniel Grosso at dwgrosso@quinnipiac.edu .

  4. M. HOCKEY | Laganiere ’13 signs with Anaheim Ducks

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    Hockey center Antoine Laganiere ’13 signed a two-year contract with the NHL Anaheim Ducks, the team announced Tuesday afternoon.

    Just three days after the Bulldogs captured the national championship in a historic 4-0 victory over Quinnipiac, Laganiere decided to take his hockey career to Anaheim. Laganiere helped propel Yale to the highest echelon of collegiate hockey this season, scoring 15 goals and 14 assists in 37 games — including one of the three Bulldog goals in their overtime victory against the University of Massachusetts-Lowell.

    According to Sporting News, Laganiere had offers from seven teams, including the Vancouver Canucks.

    Standing at 6-foot-5 and tipping the scales at 214 pounds, Laganiere gives the Ducks greater size on the ice. With a record of 27-10, the Ducks are first in the Pacific Division and will go to the postseason. Because Laganiere signed after the April 3 NHL trade deadline, though, he will be unable to compete in the playoffs.

    Laganiere was selected for the Academic All-ECAC team after his sophomore season. Over his four years, he tallied up 46 goals and 39 assists.

  5. LIVE BLOG | HOCKEY | Yale v. St. Lawrence

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  6. Marrow drive adds over 500 new potential donors

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    The fourth annual Mandi Schwartz Marrow Donor Registration Drive, held in Commons on Thursday, registered over 500 people as potential marrow donors. Including the totals from Thursday’s drive, Yale’s marrow drives have added over 3,000 potential donors to the national registry.

    The drive is named in honor of former women’s hockey player Mandi Schwartz ’11, who died last April after a battle with leukemia. No genetic match for Schwartz was found, but the annual Yale drive has located six genetic matches for people with similar life-threatening illnesses who require transplants.

    For the past three years, Yale’s drive has been the largest of its kind. Two years ago, a record total of 921 people were added to the national registry of potential donors.

  7. Marrow drive happening now at Commons

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    Want to see if you could donate bone marrow? Stop by Commons anytime from now until 4 p.m. to participate in the Mandi Schwartz Marrow Donor Registration Drive.

    The drive is in recognition of Yale’s former women’s ice hockey player, Mandi Schwartz, who passed away from leukemia in the spring of 2011.

    The drive honors former women’s hockey player Mandi Schwartz ’11, who died last April after a battle with leukemia. Out of the 2,500 potential donors that have registered through past Yale drives, six matches have been found for patients in need of a marrow donation. The drive is part of a nationwide campaign, “Get in the Game. Save a Life.” for the Be The Match Registry.

  8. Hughes ’12 wins humanitarian award

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    Aleca Hughes ’12, the women’s hockey captain who led efforts to honor former teammate Mandi Schwartz ’11, was awarded the BNY Mellon Wealth Management Hockey Humanitarian Award in a ceremony in Tampa on Friday.

    [ydn-legacy-photo-inline id=”652″ ]

    The annual award, currently in its 17th year, is open to male and female hockey players in Divisions I and III of the NCAA and seeks to recognize those who have made a significant contribution to their communities, in the spirit of humanitarianism. Hughes has led initiatives on campus aimed at helping cancer patients in honor of her former team mate Mandi Schwartz ’11, who passed away from leukemia last April.

    In the fall, Hughes started the Mandi Schwartz Foundation, which provides support to youth hockey players battling cancer, and for the past two years she has organized the “White Out for Mandi” fundraiser games, which have raised over $50,000 for the foundation. Hughes has been a driving force behind the annual Mandi Schwartz Marrow Donor Registration Drive at Yale, held each April by the football, field hockey and women’s ice hockey teams. Since its inception in 2009, the drive has added nearly 2,500 potential marrow donors to the registry.

    Schwartz’s parents, Carol and Rick, travelled from Saskatchewan to Florida to attend the Hockey Humanitarian Award ceremony. Hughes won over four other finalists, including hockey players from Norwich, Colgate, St. Anselm, and Miami University. Last year, she was also a finalist but did not win the award.

    This year’s Mandi Schwartz Marrow Donor Registration Drive at Yale is scheduled for April 19 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. in Commons.

  9. Hughes ’12 honored for character in athletics

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    Women’s hockey captain Aleca Hughes ’12 is up for a top award for character in sports.

    Hughes has been named one of five collegiate finalists for the Coach Wooden Citizen Cup — an award given annually to one professional and one collegiate athlete for character, leadership and contribution to sport and society. The collegiate finalists will be recognized in a ceremony in Atlanta on April 25 alongside the professional recipient Pat Summit, the University of Tennessee women’s basketball coach.

    Hughes has led humanitarian efforts in honor of former teammate Mandi Schwartz ’11, who died of leukaemia last April, including the “White Out for Mandi” fundraiser games and the Mandi Schwartz Marrow Donor Registration Drive. In the past two seasons, the “White Outs” have raised over $40,000 dollars and the annual bone marrow drive has added nearly 2,500 potential donors to the registry. Hughes also started the Mandi Schwartz Foundation, which aims to support youth hockey players suffering from cancer in North America.

    In addition to the Coach Wooden Citizen Cup, Hughes is one of five finalists for the BNY Mellon Wealth Management Hockey Humanitarian Award, the winner of which will be announced on April 6. The Coach Wooden Citizenship Cup is named after the former UCLA men’s basketball coach, the late John Wooden, who helped his team win seven NCAA national championships in a row.

  10. Brother of Mandi Schwartz ’11 to join St. Louis Blues

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    Jaden Schwartz — the brother of former women’s hockey player Mandi Schwartz ’11 — signed a three-year, entry level contact with the National Hockey League’s St. Louis Blues on Monday.

    The Blues drafted Schwartz, now 19, in the first round of 2010s draft. He won’t spend time at the Blues’ Peoria, Ill. farm team, but will instead go straight to the Blues. He may be available to play on Tuesday night as the Blues, currently riding a five-game winning streak to first place in the NHL’s Western Conference, take on the Chicago Blackhawks.

    In an article posted to NHL.com, Schwartz said getting drafted is a “dream come true.”

    “We’ve been through some hard times lately,” Schwartz said of his family. “This is something that definitely makes them [his parents] smile and I know they’re extremely excited for this.”

    Schwartz just finished his sophomore season playing left wing for the Colorado College Tigers, scoring 15 goals and making 26 assists in 30 games. He was the top-scoring freshman in the nation last year, earning an average of 1.56 goals per game. A native of Wilcox, Canada, a small town in the prairie province of Saskatchewan, Schwartz was named captain of Team Canada in the 2012 World Juniors Championship in Edmonton and Calgary, and was selected as Canada’s “Player of the Game” during the semifinal match against Russia.

    Blues’ General Manager Doug Armstrong told NHL.com News that the coaches will help Schwartz acclimate to NHL-level play and probably will not put him on the ice right away.

    “We just felt that where he’s at in his career, where he’s at in his game and where we’re at in our season and with our personnel, it was worth the risk to bring him onto our team,” Armstrong said.

  11. M. HOCKEY | Harvard ends Bulldogs’ season

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    The men’s hockey team’s season came to a disappointing end Sunday night as archrival Harvard (12–9–11, 8–5–9 ECAC) delivered a 8–2 loss to the Elis. The win gave Harvard a 2–1 series win over Yale in the best-of-three ECAC quarterfinals. The Cantabs will travel next weekend to Atlantic City, NJ for a semifinal matchup against Cornell. Meanwhile, the Bulldogs (16–16–3, 10–10–2) pack up their skates after dropping a 1-0 series lead and failing to defend their ECAC championship.

    Although Harvard was riding the momentum after Game 2, the Elis got off to a strong start in the deciding Game 3. Yale put one on the board early when Chad Ziegler ’12 scored for the second game in a row to get an early lead. From the middle slot, Ziegler backhanded a shot that snuck inside the near post for the goal.

    But Yale’s only lead of the night did not stand for long. Harvard scored its first goal of six straight just two minutes later when Harvard’s star forward Alex Killorn notched his first goal of the series. Killorn stole a Yale clearance, dodged an Eli defenseman and put a shot through the five-hole to even the score.

    The two sides went into the locker room at the end of the first period with a 1-1 tie, but Harvard came out and played like a different team en route to outscoring the Bulldogs by a whopping 4-0 margin in the second period.

    The Crimson scored just 35 seconds into the middle frame when Alex Fallstrom put a wrap-around goal past Yale netminder Nick Maricic ’13 to get Harvard’s first lead of the night.

    The Cantabs struck again exactly halfway through the period to take a pivotal 3–1 lead. The goal followed a miscommunication between the officials. A linesman raised his hand on an obvious icing call, which was not waived off. Still, Harvard’s Tommy O’Regan raced down the ice, took the puck from a Yale defenseman and passed to the Crimson’s David Valek who put it in from the slot.

    From there, Yale had trouble climbing back into the action. Killorn scored his second goal of the night at the end of the middle frame to extend the lead to 4–1.

    Down three goals heading into the third period, the Elis made a change in net by substituting Jeff Malcolm ’13 in for Maricic. But the move was not an improvement for the Bulldogs. Malcolm allowed two goals in 15 minutes and his replacement, Connor Wilson ’15, gave up a goal in the final five minutes of the game.

    Yale did put in one more goal before the final horn sounded. On a power play about midway through the third period, Antoine Laganiere ’13 found the back of the net when he fired a wrist shot from the left circle. That goal featured the first point of the series for Yale captain and leading goal-scorer Brian O’Neill ’12, who assisted on the play.

    The Bulldogs were the No. 3 seed in the tournament. Colgate, Harvard, Union and Cornell are advancing to the ECAC semifinals in Atlantic City.