Tag Archive: Hockey

  1. M. HOCKEY | Hopes dashed in Bridgeport

    16 Comments

    BRIDGEPORT — Head coach Keith Allain ’80 called him the heart and soul of the men’s hockey team. He led Yale in scoring both last year and this year. He had two of Yale’s final five goals of the season.

    And when Brian O’Neill ’12 was ejected 11:38 into the second period of Yale’s East Regional final matchup with Minnesota-Duluth for an alleged hit to the head, the Elis’ hopes for the season left the ice with him.

    Although replays of the hit seemed to contradict the officials’ decision — ESPNU commentator Barry Melrose called the play “clean” — the call had been made. Five minutes later, Minnesota-Duluth had built a 5–1 lead from which Yale (28–7–1) never recovered.

    [ydn-legacy-photo-inline id=”4567″ ]

    Just one day after the Elis earned a spot in the East Regional final with a thrilling overtime victory against Air Force, Yale’s championship dreams ended in a heartbreaking 5–3 defeat at the hands of Duluth (24–10–6). The loss dashed Yale’s hopes of advancing to the NCAA Frozen Four and ended both the winningest season in program history and the collegiate careers of the nine seniors who constitute the most successful class ever to don Yale hockey jerseys.

    “I certainly don’t want to take the jersey off for the last time,” captain Jimmy Martin ’11 said. “It’s been an honor to play for the University. It’s got such a great hockey tradition, and it’s an honor for our class to be a part of that now.”

    Although the Elis fell in the national quarterfinals for the second consecutive year, the seniors led their team to its first national No. 1 ranking in Yale history. They captured the ECAC Tournament championship and came within a single point of the regular season title.

    Martin, Broc Little ’11, Denny Kearney ’11 and goaltender Ryan Rondeau ’11 will all depart as holders of individual school records. The class collectively has won more games than any that preceded it. But on Saturday, those numbers were no consolation for the team.

    “Tonight was brutal,” Little said after the game. “It was a fun four years and we had some success, but we wanted to play two more games. We thought we could do it.”

    FALCONS GROUNDED

    [ydn-legacy-photo-inline id=”4562″ ]

    Yale’s season could easily have ended on Friday. The Elis needed a diving overtime goal from Chad Ziegler ’12 to eliminate a scrappy Air Force squad.

    Three minutes into the extra frame, Ziegler stretched his stick out just enough to knock the rebound of his own shot past sprawling Falcons goalie Jason Torf. The red light flashed, the Elis mobbed the right winger, and Yale earned a spot in the national quarterfinals with the dramatic win.

    “I’ll tell you what, there ain’t a more relieved guy in the building right now than Keith Allain,” Air Force head coach Frank Serratore said after the game. “Because he knows he got a heck of a game from the guys from Air Force.”

    Air Force was the last seed overall in the tournament, but the team still stifled the Eli offense all night Friday as they fought to outlast the favorites. They clogged passing lanes, blocked shots and came inches from the upset.

    Even as Yale’s offense struggled to find holes among the cadets, its defense also shone. Led by Rondeau, who had not allowed a goal in three games, the Elis grounded Air Force’s attack.

    “You just have to stay the course,” Martin. “Against a team that was playing so tough, you just have to stay within yourself and have the confidence that you can break through, which we did.”

    That breakthrough in overtime lifted a crowd of 7,671 — most of which was clad in Yale blue — to its feet and prompted wild celebration by the Bulldogs. But the Eli victory was far from certain at any point during the game. The two teams were tied — first at zero and then at one — at each of the three intermissions, and Yale recorded the fewest shots it has all season.

    Serratore said that his team’s solid defensive performance began with a “rope-a-dope” game plan to outlast the Elis, who he did not think could maintain their frenetic pace for 60 minutes.

    But Yale got all the offense it needed in regulation, and Serratore could only watch as Ziegler pounced on a rebound, stretching onto his stomach, and hitting the puck just inside the post.

    “When you’re the best team in the country, you get those bounces,” Air Force captain Jacques Lamoureux said.

    Yale’s only other offense on the night came from O’Neill, who tapped a cross-ice feed from Nick Jaskowiak ’12 past Torf during the second period.

    “O’Neill gives all he has not just every single night but every single shift,” Allain said. “He exposes his body to some pretty devastating hits, but he just gets up, goes; gets up, goes; gets up, goes.”

    ELIS ELIMINATED

    On Saturday, O’Neill didn’t just expose himself to hits. He dealt a big one, and Yale paid the price for it.

    Seven second-period penalties, 29 total penalty minutes and a devastating ejection for O’Neill buried the Elis in a deficit they could not escape. Duluth punched its first ticket to the Frozen Four in seven years as solid goaltending from Kenny Reiter and an offense that capitalized on its chances carried the underdogs to a 5–3 win.

    Duluth used a late shorthanded tally to end the first period with a 1–0 lead, but it did real damage in a four-goal second stanza dominated by the referees’ whistles. None of those whistles — which assigned 15 penalty minutes to Yale and four to Duluth — impacted the game more than the call on O’Neill.

    The right winger had just narrowed Yale’s deficit to 3–1 when he one-timed a pass from Little just under the crossbar. But the referees promptly extinguished any Eli momentum that goal had sparked.

    Eight seconds after his goal, O’Neill leveled Duluth’s Jake Hendrickson with a hard open-ice hit. Whistles blew immediately, and soon O’Neill had been assessed a five-minute major penalty and a game misconduct for contact to the head. Journalists watching from the press box said they never saw O’Neill make contact with Hendrickson’s head, and replays convinced ESPN commentators that the hit was clean.

    Asked about the call after the game, Allain left no doubt about his opinion of the call, and pointedly told reporters to “look at the tape, and tell me what you think.”

    “I thought we had momentum, and then they gave Brian a five-minute penalty and kicked him out of the game,” Allain said. “[They] took our best player out of the game.”

    Duluth scored two goals on the ensuing power play, including one after a penalty on Jaskowiak put the Elis down two men.

    It was obvious as the clock ticked away on Yale’s defeat Saturday that Yale’s seniors did not want the night to be their last on the ice. Little and Kearney both scored in the third, but despite their third-period efforts, Yale could not overcome the biggest deficit it had faced all season. Without their top scorer, the Elis became the third of four No. 1 seeds to suffer early elimination from the tournament.

    Even though Nick Maricic ’13 replaced Rondeau in goal for the final frame and turned aside everything he faced, Minnesota mustered all the defense it needed to clinch its first Frozen Four appearance since 2004. When the buzzer sounded on the game, and on Yale’s season, the Elis gave one last salute to the few Yale faithful who remained chanting “Let’s go Yale” in the student section until the end.

    “It’s tough to put this in perspective at this point,” Mike Matczak ’11 said. “It’s been an honor playing for this team. Unfortunately, we came up a minute short, but it was a hell of a ride.”

  2. M. HOCKEY | Too little, too late

    19 Comments

    BRIDGEPORT — When Brian O’Neill ’12 was ejected 11:38 into the second period for an alleged hit to the head, the game was as good as over.

    Minnesota-Duluth’s two goals during the ensuing five-minute major penalty lifted it to a 5–1 lead, and Yale (28–7–1) never recovered. The Elis’ 5–3 loss dashed their hopes of advancing to the Frozen Four and ended both the winningest season in program history and the collegiate careers of the most successful class ever to don Yale hockey jerseys.

    “I certainly don’t want to take the jersey off for the last time,” said captain Jimmy Martin ’11. “It’s been an honor to play for the University. It’s got such a great hockey tradition, and it’s an honor for our class to be a part of that now.”

    It was obvious as the clock ticked away on Yale’s defeat Saturday that Yale’s seniors did not want the night to end. Despite the commanding lead held by Duluth (24–10–6), Martin and his classmates made their presence felt at both ends of the ice.

    Broc Little ’11 momentarily restored hope to a silent crowd with a power play goal eight minutes into the final stanza that made the score 5–2. Denny Kearney ’11 brought Yale within striking distance five minutes later with a goal of his own. Martin earned the primary assist on that goal, and he and defensive partner Mike Matczak ’11 remained physical forces throughout the period.

    Put simply, the team’s nine seniors will leave big shoes to fill.

    “It’s going to be very difficult to see them go,” head coach Keith Allain ’80 said. “I don’t think I’m prepared to eulogize them properly tonight, but it’s more than just the numbers. It’s their personalities, and the life that they’ve given Yale hockey, and what they’ve done for me personally. They’re an extremely special group.”

    The leadership of the graduating class has boosted Yale hockey to its most successful season ever. Although the team fell in the national quarterfinals for the second consecutive year, it set a school record for wins and achieved the first national No. 1 ranking in Yale history. It captured the ECAC Tournament championship and came within a single point of the regular season title.

    Martin, Little, Kearney, and goaltender Ryan Rondeau ’11 will all depart as the holders of individual school records. The class as a whole has won more games than any that preceded it. On Saturday, those numbers were no consolation for the team.

    “Tonight was brutal,” Little said. “It was a fun four years and we had some success, but we wanted to play two more games. We thought we could do it.”

    At the beginning of Saturday’s game, Yale did look capable of beating Duluth and advancing to its first Frozen Four since 1952. The Elis outshot their opponents by a 14–6 margin in the first period, but Duluth goalie Kenny Reiter shut the door and his team made the most of its few chances. Mike Connolly reversed an Eli advantage when he scored on a shorthanded two-on-one exactly two minutes before the end of the period.

    The Duluth goals kept coming in a second period dominated by the referees’ whistles. The Elis entered the stanza trailing by a single goal and, seven penalties and 29 penalty minutes later, skated into the locker room down 5–1. None of those penalties affected the game more than the call on O’Neill.

    Duluth had seized a 3–0 lead halfway through the second period. O’Neill brought the game back within reach when he one-timed a pass from Little just under the crossbar. But if the goal from the right winger sparked any Yale momentum, the referees promptly extinguished it.

    Eight seconds after his goal, O’Neill leveled Duluth’s Jake Hendrickson with a hard open-ice hit. Whistles blew immediately, and soon O’Neill had been assessed a five-minute major penalty and a game misconduct for contact to the head. Those watching from the press box said they never saw O’Neill make contact with Hendrickson’s head, and the hit looked clean on tape.

    Asked about the call after the game, Allain left no doubt about his opinion of the call, and pointedly told reporters to “look at the tape, and tell me what you think.”

    “I thought we had momentum, and then they gave Brian a five-minute penalty and kicked him out of the game,” Allain said. “[They] took our best player out of the game.”

    Duluth scored two goals on the ensuing power play, including one after a penalty on Nick Jaskowiak ’12 put the Elis down two men. Despite Little’s and Kearney’s third period-efforts, Yale could not overcome the biggest deficit it had faced all season without its top scorer, and became the third of four No. 1 seeds to suffer early elimination from the tournament .

    Even though Nick Maricic ’13 replaced Rondeau in the goal for the third period and turned aside everything he faced, Minnesota mustered all the defense it needed to clinch its first Frozen Four appearance since 2004. When the buzzer sounded on the game, and on Yale’s season, the Elis gave one final salute to the few Yale faithful who remained chanting “Let’s go Yale” in the student section until the end.

    “It’s tough to put this in perspective at this point,” Matczak said, “It’s been an honor playing for this team. Unfortunately, we came up a minute short, but it was a hell of a ride.”

  3. LIVE BLOG | M. HOCKEY | Yale run ends with 5-3 loss to Minnesota-Duluth

    4 Comments

    After yesterday’s nail-biter, we’re back live blogging the national quarterfinals and East Regional finals versus University of Minnesota-Duluth.

  4. M. HOCKEY | Elis survive overtime scare

    6 Comments

    Chad Ziegler ’12 dived. Jason Torf did as well.

    Three minutes into sudden-death overtime, Ziegler stretched his stick out just enough to connect with a loose puck and knock it past Air Force Academy’s sprawling goalie. The red light flashed, the Elis mobbed the right winger, and Yale (28–6–1) won a nail-biter of a hockey game in dramatic fashion Friday night. The Elis earned a spot in the national quarterfinals with the win, and will face No. 11 Minnesota-Duluth Saturday night.

    “I’ll tell you what, there ain’t a more relieved guy in the building right now than Keith Allain,” Air Force head coach Frank Serratorre said after the game. “Because he knows he got a heck of a game from the guys from Air Force.”

    Those “guys from Air Force” were the last seed overall in the tournament. Yale is the first. But the Falcons kept the Eli offense off the board and the Eli fans on the edge of their seats all night Friday as they fought to outlast the favorites. They clogged passing lanes, blocked shots, and quieted the vaunted Yale offense for the entire first and third periods.

    The Falcons matched the Bulldogs stride for stride through all 63 minutes in Bridgeport’s Arena at Harbor Yard, hanging tight with a team that had scored 14 goals over its past three games. But even as Yale’s offense struggled to find holes among the cadets, its defense also shone. Led by goaltender Ryan Rondeau ’11, who had not allowed a goal in three games, the Elis grounded Air Force’s attack.

    “You just have to stay the course,” captain Jimmy Martin ’11. “Against a team that was playing so tough, you just have to stay within yourself and have the confidence that you can break through, which we did.”

    That breakthrough in overtime lifted a crowd of 7,671 — most of which was clad in Yale blue — to its feet and prompted wild celebration by the Bulldogs. But the Eli victory was far from certain at any point during the game. The two teams were tied — first at zero and then at one — at each of the three intermissions. Yale recorded the fewest shots it has all season despite four attempts in overtime, and only one of the team’s top five scorers tallied a point.

    Serratore said that his team’s solid defensive performance began with a “rope-a-dope” game plan to outlast the Elis, who he did not think could maintain their frenetic pace for 60 minutes.

    The Falcons sustained Yale’s best efforts through a close, scoreless first period, but Brian O’Neill ’12 put his team ahead in the second stanza. Minutes after ringing a shot off the post, he found himself alone at the edge of the crease to tap in a cross-ice Nick Jaskowiak ’12 feed from the blue line.

    “O’Neill is really the heart and soul of this team,” head coach Keith Allain ’80 said. “He gives all he has not just every single night but every single shift. He exposes his body to some pretty devastating hits, but he just gets up, goes; gets up, goes; gets up, goes.”

    Yale almost carried its narrow advantage into the third period, but Sean Bertsch knotted the score at one with a wraparound 1:26 before the end of the frame.

    Rondeau had not allowed a goal in 240:53 when Bertsch ended his streak. He started a new streak immediately after Air Force tied the game. Although the Falcons matched Yale shot for shot for the rest of regulation and into overtime, even their best efforts were not enough to top the resolve of the Elis and heroics of Ziegler.

    After Torf stopped a Nick Jaskowiak slap shot, Ziegler charged toward the net and sent the rebound back at the netminder. The puck floated back out, Ziegler stretched onto his stomach, and the game ended with the forward’s backhand just inside the post.

    “When you’re the best team in the country, you get those bounces,” Air Force captain Jacques Lamoureux said.

    Though Lamoureux’s Falcons had most of the scoring chances in the extra minutes, they simply could not convert them. Even Allain said Yale had fewer quality opportunities than its opponents in overtime.

    But in the end, none of that mattered.

    “Their legs were gone; they were playing on nothing but heart,” Serratore said of the Elis. “But that got them that overtime goal.”

    Minnesota-Duluth, Yale’s next opponent, earned its slot in the national quarterfinals Friday afternoon with a 2–0 win over No. 8 Union.

    Yale will take on the other Bulldogs, who have all dyed their hair blond and look like the cast of villains in a Cold War film, at 6:30 p.m. Saturday in Bridgeport.

  5. LIVE BLOG | M. HOCKEY | Yale beats Air Force in NCAA Regional 2-1

    Leave a Comment

    We’re back live blogging the show down between Yale and Air Force at the NCAA Regional.

  6. M. HOCKEY | Yale hits Atlantic City jackpot

    2 Comments

    ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. — The men’s hockey team has one championship in hand. Now it’s about to chase another one.

    Three weeks after the Bulldogs lost a close contest for the ECAC regular season crown, Yale finally earned the chance to hoist a trophy Saturday night. That prize was for the ECAC Tournament championship, which the Elis (27–6–1, 17–4–1 ECAC) captured with a 6–0 thrashing of Cornell (16–15–3, 11–9–2). The Elis, who had beaten Colgate (11–28–3, 4–15–3) to advance to the final, led for all but three minutes and matched a shutout effort by Ryan Rondeau ’11 with a relentless attack. The win — Yale’s second tournament title in three years — sets the team on a hot streak as it prepares to open its campaign for an even bigger crown: the national title. The NCAA announced Sunday that Yale is the No. 1 overall seed for the tournament and will face Air Force on Friday night in Bridgeport.

    “It’s a big difference from last year, when we sat around for two weeks and practiced and tried to get back into our game,” Broc Little ’11 said, referring to his team’s early exit from the ECAC playoffs last season. “This year we’re going into the tournament playing our best hockey.”

    [ydn-legacy-photo-inline id=”4663″ ]

    Yale’s best hockey was more than Cornell could handle, and the Elis will hope the same holds when it takes on the Falcons in the first round of the NCAA tournament. Air Force used a furious third-period comeback to defeat Yale earlier this season, but that game took place at high altitude in Colorado. Friday’s game will be played for much higher stakes in Bridgeport, a quick bus ride from New Haven.

    The past weekend’s championship contests in Atlantic City were much further from home. Nor was Boardwalk Hall anything like Ingalls Rink. The cavernous stadium has a gold-column flanked stage at one end and holds more than 10,000 fans — though only a third of the seats were filled.

    Despite the strange setting, Yale played its finest brand of hockey in both of its dominant wins over the weekend. The offense clicked, the defense clicked, and the champions outscored their opponents by a combined 10–0 margin.

    “We were able to score six goals, but I was most pleased that we were sound defensively,” head coach Keith Allain ’80 said on Saturday. “Everyone committed to defense and that’s exactly what you need in the playoffs.”

    Yale’s defense — which is the stingiest in the nation — will continue to shine on the national stage if Rondeau maintains his hot hand. The netminder posted shutouts in both of the weekend’s games and lowered his goals against average, which was already the lowest in the country, to a mere 1.83. Though he was overlooked in the end-of-season accolades the ECAC announced Friday, Rondeau was named the most outstanding player of the championship weekend after saving all 44 shots he faced.

    While Rondeau’s third consecutive shutout earned him a slew of school records, he said he tries not to focus on his individual numbers, and cares mostly about seeing his team win.

    “You have to have the same routine for every game, whether you see 20 shots or 30 or 40, and whether you’re winning or losing,” he said. “The same routine, the same preparation, the same focus.”

    Rondeau’s perfect effort in net was especially important Friday night, when Colgate held Yale to a single goal through the first two periods. The last-place Raiders had already upset RPI and Union — the two ECAC teams other than Yale that earned spots in the national tournament — in the playoffs, and looked poised to threaten another favorite.

    “They were clearly the league’s hottest team,” Allain said. “And they gave us everything we could handle.”

    But everything Colgate had was not enough. The Elis struck three times in the third period and Rondeau shut the door on every Raider comeback effort he faced. Linemates Chris Cahill ’11, Brian O’Neill ’12 and Andrew Miller ’13 — who were awarded the three forward slots on the all-tournament team — combined for seven points and two goals, and Yale wore Colgate down with its relentless speed.

    “You look down for a second, and all of sudden they have a forward flying down the other end,” Colgate assistant captain Francois Brisebois said.

    If Yale wore Colgate down over three periods Friday, it took just three minutes against Cornell the next night to take control of the game. Kevin Limbert ’12 gave Yale the lead before most fans had settled into their seats when he beat rookie Big Red goalie Andy Iles on the power play.

    Limbert struck again to make the score 2–0 with a power play deflection of a Jimmy Martin ’11 slap shot later in the period. Normally the least noticed player on a line that includes star forwards Little and Denny Kearney ’11, Limbert has ratcheted up his production as of late — with two goals against Cornell, and six points in his last three games.

    “We were able to jump out to the early lead, but we knew that this was a good team and that any big play could be the one that starts the comeback,” said Kearney, who had three assists in the game.

    But Rondeau stood strong and any realistic Cornell hopes for a comeback were dashed when the floodgates opened in the second period. Colin Dueck ’13 chased Iles from the game with his first career goal, which made the score 5–0. Yale had needed only 15 shots to take that lead. Mike Garman — who had shut out Dartmouth in Friday’s other semifinal — fared better than his counterpart and stopped everything but a Little wrist shot. But the damage was done and the Elis were soon taking turns hoisting the championship trophy.

    The team donned championship hats after the game and celebrated the chance to call itself No. 1. Still, Little said the ECAC title will not distract the Bulldogs from their ultimate goal of winning the NCAA championship.

    Yale will have to win four more games in a row to claim the national title, and its next two to earn a berth at the Frozen Four in Minnesota. Although the Elis upset North Dakota in the first round of the NCAA tournament last year, they fell one game short of the Frozen Four after losing to eventual national champion Boston College.

    But for a few moments at least on Saturday night, the Elis seemed focused neither on that past NCAA tournament nor on next week’s games. Gloves and sticks flew into the air and the Blue mobbed Rondeau before taking turns at hoisting the championship trophy. Even the usually stoic Allain donned a championship cap and, at the bidding of “Keith! Keith! Keith!” cheers from the crowd, lifted the trophy himself.

    Yale returns to the ice against Air Force at 6:30 p.m. Friday at the Webster Bank Arena in Bridgeport for the first round of the NCAA East Regional. If Yale wins, it will play at the same time and place Saturday against the victor of a Friday contest between Union and Minnesota-Duluth.

  7. M. HOCKEY | ELIS WIN ECAC TOURNAMENT, EYE NCAA

    5 Comments

    ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. — They couldn’t have written the script any better.

    The offense clicked, the defense clicked, and after 60 minutes of lopsided hockey Saturday, men’s hockey captain Jimmy Martin ’11 hoisted the ECAC Tournament championship trophy. A shutout from Ryan Rondeau ’11 capped a dominant Yale performance in which the Elis thrashed Cornell 6–0 to claim their second tournament title in three years.

    [ydn-legacy-photo-inline id=”4667″ ]

    [ydn-legacy-photo-inline id=”4668″ ]

    “We were able to score six goals but I was most pleased that we were sound defensively,” head coach Keith Allain ’80 said. “Everyone committed to defense and that’s exactly what you need in the playoffs.”

    That defensive commitment helped Yale clinch the No. 1 overall seed for the national tournament with a 4–0 victory over Colgate in the ECAC semifinals Friday. Now that the Elis have wrapped up their conference season, they can focus solely on the national title. Their hunt begins next Friday in Bridgeport against an opponent that will be announced on Sunday.

    Yale’s defense — which is the stingiest in the nation — will continue to shine on the national stage if Rondeau maintains his hot hand. The netminder anchored Sunday’s defensive effort with his third shutout in his past three games. Though he was overlooked in the end-of-season accolades the ECAC announced Friday, he was named the most outstanding player of the championship weekend after saving all 44 shots he saw in Yale’s two wins.

    Those two clean sheets lowered Rondeau’s goals against average, which already led the nation. It extended his school record for single-season shutouts, and marked the first time a Yale netminder has notched three consecutive shutouts. His 202:19 without allowing a goal is the longest stretch of its kind in program history. But Rondeau said he tried not to focus on his individual numbers, and cared only about the team’s win.

    “You have to have the same routine for every game, whether you see 20 shots or 30 or 40, and whether you’re winning or losing,” he said. “The same routine, the same preparation, the same focus.”

    Martin and Denny Kearney ’11 — who had three assists against Cornell and wore his championship cap into the post-game press conference — said maintaining focus was crucial to the team’s victory.

    Focus will remain a critical component of Yale’s game as the red hot Bulldogs prepare to enter NCAA Tournament play next weekend. The streaking Elis look once more like the team that posted 11 consecutive wins between November and January, and led the nation in scoring offense and defense.

    The Elis’ four-game playoff winning streak before the national tournament is a marked departure from last season, when their ECAC playoffs ended early with an upset at the hands of Brown.

    “It’s a big difference from last year, when we sat around for two weeks and practiced and tried to get back into our game,” Broc Little ’11 said. “This year we’re going into the tournament playing our best hockey.”

    Little said the Bulldogs’ ECAC title will not distract them from their ultimate goal of winning the NCAA championship. Yale will have to win four more games in a row to claim the national title, including two to earn a berth at the Frozen Four in Minnesota. Last year the Elis upset North Dakota in the first round of the NCAA Tournament, but fell one game short of the Frozen Four after losing to eventual national champion Boston College.

    While the NCAA Tournament looms in the future, Saturday’s massacre of Cornell — Yale’s eighth consecutive victory against the Big Red — was certainly cause for celebration. Yale led for all but three minutes thanks to a power play goal from Kevin Limbert ’12 before most fans had even settled into their seats. And the Elis had a five-goal advantage before the game was half over. But the team never let up its pressure on Cornell.

    “We were able to jump out to the early lead, but we knew that this was a good team and that any big play could be the one that starts the comeback,” Kearney said.

    Cornell never managed a comeback, and it was Yale that made all the big plays. Limbert struck again when he redirected a Martin slapshot past Big Red goaltender Andy Iles to give Yale a 2–0 lead heading into the second period.

    Then the Elis exploded. Yale blew Cornell out of the water with four second period goals from four different skaters. Antoine Laganiere ’13 and Chris Cahill ’11 each punched shots passed Iles before Colin Dueck ’13 chased the goalie from the game with his first career goal.

    Iles had allowed five goals on a mere 15 shots. Replacement Mike Garman — who had shut out Dartmouth on Friday — fared better and allowed just one of 18 Yale attempts past him. But the damage was done.

    “Everything was a problem today,” Cornell head coach Mike Schafer said.

    The only blemish on the remainder of the Elis’ night was an injury scare when a dirty Jordan Kary hit left Ken Trentowski ’11 sprawled on the ice. Kary was ejected from the game, but Trentowski missed the rest of the second period before returning to action.

    Little made the score 6–0 with a goal late in the second and the Elis were soon mobbing Rondeau and taking turns at hoisting the championship trophy. Even the stoic Allain donned a championship cap and, at the bidding of “Keith, Keith, Keith” cheers from his players, lifted the trophy himself.

    The Elis take the ice next for the NCAA East Regional in Bridgeport Friday. Their opponents will be announced in a tournament selection show at 11:30 a.m. Sunday on ESPN2.

  8. LIVE BLOG | M. HOCKEY | Yale defeats Cornell 6-0 in ECAC Final

    Leave a Comment

    The News live blogs the ECAC final in Atlantic City versus Cornell.

  9. M. HOCKEY | Bulldogs end Colgate run, advance to finals

    2 Comments

    ATLANTIC CITY, NJ — In the end, Colgate could only beat the odds so many times.

    Yale pulled away in the third period and ended the surging Raiders’ Cinderella dreams with an emphatic 4–0 victory Friday afternoon in the ECAC semifinals. As the Elis (26–6–1, 17–4–1 ECAC) pulled away from the streaking Raiders (11–27–3, 4–15–3), they simultaneously clinched a spot in the conference tournament championship game and the No. 1 overall seed in the NCAA tournament.

    Although the Raiders finished the regular season last place in the ECAC, they caught fire late in the year and rolled to playoff upsets of RPI and Union — which had beaten Yale out for the conference’s regular season title.

    “They were clearly the league’s hottest team,” head coach Keith Allain ’80 said. “And they gave us everything we could handle.”

    But everything Colgate had was not enough. Although the Raiders held Yale scoreless through the first period, the Elis exploded with three goals in the third period and goaltender Ryan Rondeau ’11 anchored the Eli victory with his fifth shutout of the season.

    The senior broke the school season shutout record with his 22-save effort, but he said the personal mark was the last thing on his mind on Friday. The senior netminder has been a fixture for Yale all season — a marked change from last year, when Allain started a carousel of four goalies.

    Rondeau has ridden the starting role to the second-best goals against average and save percentage in the country, but received no end of season accolades from the ECAC for his performance. On Friday, he may have been the most valuable player on the ice. Captain Jimmy Martin ’11 called the goalie’s steady play in net crucial, as Yale led by no more than a single goal through the end of the second period.

    “The two words that come to mind are steadiness and a sense of calm,” Allain said of Rondeau.

    While Rondeau ensured that the Raiders never set the red light flashing, Colgate forward Brian Day said the Yale win stood as a testament to entire Bulldog squad. On offense, linemates Chris Cahill ’11, Brian O’Neill ’12 and Andrew Miller ’13 buoyed their team with a combined seven points and the two of the Elis’ four goals.

    That production from Yale’s top scoring line was one familiar element in a game that looked on the surface unlike a typical conference contest, as the teams squared off in Atlantic City’s Boardwalk Hall — a vast converted theater with high arched ceilings and a gold-column flanked stage. The Elis also saw an unfamiliar site in the stands: empty seats. The small crowd that turned out to cheer on the teams was also dwarfed by the massive arena.

    The game, however, was typical Yale. The Bulldogs struggled to get on the board early but wore down Colgate with their relentless speed and offensive outbursts.

    “You look down for a second, and all of sudden they have a forward flying at the other end,” Colgate assistant captain Francois Brisebois said.

    Cahill’s second-period strike immediately after a faceoff broke a scoreless tie that Colgate already seemed to have ended five minutes earlier. The Raiders appeared to grab the lead 18 seconds into the second period, but the referees waved off the goal after determining the puck had been kicked into the net.

    Colgate could not muster any more serious scoring chances until after Kenny Agostino ’14 widened the Yale lead to 2–0 early in the third period. The rookie forward knocked in the rebound of a Miller shot to notch his 11th goal of the season.

    Miller’s next shot didn’t have a rebound. He all but sealed the game with a perfectly-placed wrister that snuck under the crossbar with five minutes left in the final frame, ensuring that Yale would not suffer the kind of collapse it did against St. Lawrence after losing a similar two-goal, third-period lead in the first game of the ECAC quarterfinals.

    “I’d say that was a pretty outstanding effort in the semifinals of a championship hockey game,” Allain said of Miller, who tallied two assists along with his goal.

    Antoine Laganiere ’13 scored an empty net goal in the closing seconds and Rondeau stopped a slew of dangerous last-ditch efforts by the Raiders, who will have a chance to reclaim playoff success in Saturday’s consolation game.

    The Elis celebrated little after their win, and immediately turned their minds to Saturday’s championship game against Cornell, which defeated Dartmouth, 3–0 iin the second semifinal game.

    “Our first priority is to eat, get plenty of fluids, and prepare for tomorrow,” captain Jimmy Martin ’11 said.

    The puck will drop against the Big Red in Boardwalk Hall at 7:30 p.m. Saturday.

  10. LIVE BLOG | M. HOCKEY | Yale vs. Colgate ECAC Semifinal | Yale wins 4-0

    1 Comment

    Men’s hockey faces off against Colgate in Atlantic City and the News is here to live blog every moment.

  11. M. HOCKEY | Elis advance

    Leave a Comment

    The men’s hockey team survived St. Lawrence’s hardest hits, and now it can book its tickets to Atlantic City.

    Yale (25–6–1, 17–4–1 ECAC) asserted its place as national title contender Sunday when it clinched a chance to play Colgate in the ECAC semifinals with a dominant 4–0 shutout of St. Lawrence (13–22–5, 6–15–1). The win capped a decisive Yale comeback after St. Lawrence upset the Elis on Friday. That loss in the opening game of the best-of-three series left Yale on the brink of its second early elimination from the ECAC tournament in two years. But the Bulldogs rallied and outscored the Saints 9–2 in the last two games of the series.

    “We played with a sense of desperation,” Jimmy Martin ’11 said. “It’s what you have to do with your backs against the wall.”

    Desperation was the word of the day in the ECAC, as all four quarterfinal series were decided in third games on Sunday. Yale was the only team that did not put its fans through agony. The conference’s other three contests were decided by a single goal, and two went to overtime.

    One historic upset came out of those close games and will directly impact the Bulldogs’ quest for their second tournament championship in three years. In a contest between the ECAC’s first- and last-place teams, scrappy Colgate shook off three separate one-goal deficits to gut out an unprecedented victory over Union. No last-place team has ever advanced to the tournament semifinals before.

    The streaking Raiders have recovered from a miserable start to the season, and have looked like a new team since February. They have tripled their win count since beating Clarkson on Feb. 5, with eight in their past 13 games. That stretch includes a 6–3–1 record against the four nationally ranked teams in the ECAC.

    But Yale has also been hot lately.

    “There isn’t any margin for error against a team like this,” St. Lawrence head coach Joe Marsh said. “It seemed to me that every time we broke down, the puck was in the back of the net.”

    The Elis found the back of the net quickly Sunday. St. Lawrence got in penalty trouble early, and Chris Cahill ’11 made sure the visitors paid the price when he corralled a loose puck in the crease and tapped it past goaltender Matt Weninger just 2:41 into the game.

    Penalties continued to haunt the Saints when a power play goal from Brian O’Neill ’12 made the score 2–0 just five minutes later. Nonetheless, the underdogs did not let up the physical play that hurt them early in the game. The two teams exchanged rough hits all game, and tempers started to boil in the third period as the Saints watched the game slip out of reach.

    “Emotionally, with both teams hanging on for dear life, things got a little messy,” Marsh said.

    After the mounting tension peaked late in the third period when a vicious hit by St. Lawrence’s Jacob Drewiske sparked a tussle on center ice, Marsh called a timeout which he said was an attempt to settle his team. The 24 penalty minutes — including a 10-minute misconduct to Charles Brockett ’12 — that resulted from the confrontation were more than had been issued in the entire first game. The 56 total penalty minutes issued Sunday were more than had been issued in the first two games combined.

    “Guys don’t forget hits,” Denny Kearney ’11 said Saturday.

    Kearney, along with linemates Broc Little ’11 and Kevin Limbert ’12, was instrumental throughout the series. The trio combined for 17 points over the weekend, including Yale’s last two goals and five points on Sunday.

    The line had suffered through a scoring drought late in the season, but Allain said they were the team’s leading force against St. Lawrence.

    “They were our best line all weekend,” Allain said. “That’s what’s special about this team. It seems like each and every weekend we get a new group of heroes.”

    Kearney and Little were not the only seniors who anchored the team. Netminder Ryan Rondeau ’11 made 21 saves as he tied a Yale single-season record with his fourth shutout. The team also set a school record with its 25th victory of the season.

    The Elis will get the chance to extend that record even further when they take on Colgate on Friday and — win or lose — play in NCAA regionals in Bridgeport the following week.

    “It doesn’t get much better than this,” Allain said.

  12. LIVE BLOG | M. HOCKEY | Yale vs. St. Lawrence Game 3

    Leave a Comment

    The News live blogs the decisive third game versus St. Lawrence.