In the 2–3 Yale loss to Boston University on March 27, Alex Lyon ’17 recorded 39 saves, including several dazzling stops that kept the Bulldogs close. When the final buzzer sounded, Lyon skated off of the ice for the last time of his sophomore season at Yale.
Lyon expected to have time to prepare for the subsequent fall when his junior season began. The accolades also came, one after another, and then on April 14, nearly three weeks after the loss in the Northeast Regionals, Lyon received word that he was selected to compete for the United States National Team in the 2015 International Ice Hockey Federation Men’s World Championship.
“It’s such an honor,” Lyon said. “It’s a huge deal for me to get to play against guys that I emulate and look up to so I could not be more excited.”
The National Team is scheduled to face such hockey powerhouses as Finland, Norway and Russia. Lyon and the U.S. team will travel to Ostrava and Prague, Czech Republic for the tournament. The Baudette, Minnesota native, who has never been to Europe, said that he was excited to take in the culture and explore the cities.
With 10 career shutouts, Lyon already holds the record for the most career shutouts in Yale history as only a sophomore. He led the nation in 2015 with a 0.939 save percentage and seven shutouts.
Lyon played best in the Bulldogs’ toughest games. In the 12 games in which he faced offenses ranked in the top 20 in the nation, Lyon stopped 93 percent of the shots taken and posted three shutouts.
“He’s the best goalie in the country,” forward Mike Doherty ’17 said. “Hands down. His numbers this year don’t lie.”
Lyon was also named first team All-Ivy League and first team All-American this past season.
To top it all off, he earned the Ken Dryden Award for the best ECAC goalie and accepted the award just a few weeks ago.
“It gives our team unbelievable confidence knowing he’s there behind us,” forward Frankie DiCharia ’17 said. “Just knowing that you have a goalie who has the ability to steal a game and make those key saves in moments where you need him to makes it a lot easier on us to play the game more freely all over the ice.”
The U.S. National Team roster features 11 players who played in the National Hockey League last season. In addition, Lyon will also be joined by four other college players including fellow Ivy League player Jimmy Vesey, a forward from Harvard.
The team will be led by current NHL coach Todd Richards, who served as the assistant coach for the 2014 U.S. Olympic Men’s Ice Hockey Team in Sochi, Russia. Richards led the Columbus Blue Jackets to a 42–35 record in the NHL this season, finishing 11th in the Eastern Conference.
Lyon said he has no great expectation to receive game time, and that he will focus more on practicing and competing hard. Lyon will most likely compete for playing time with other U.S. goaltenders, but he is currently the only goalie listed on the National Team roster.
Forward Mark Arcobello ’10, who played for the Arizona Coyotes last season, was one of the NHL stars selected for the team. According to Arcobello, he is excited to practice and compete with a fellow Bulldog. Arcobello does not have a contract for next year so he will use the time in Prague to showcase his own skills in hopes of garnering NHL attention.
“I think that anytime that you get the opportunity to represent your country it is definitely a huge honor,” Arcobello said.
Lyon believes that the professional style of Yale hockey will benefit his own transition to the National Team.
Furthermore, Lyon views his time with the national team as a way to gauge where he stacks up.
“I am looking forward to seeing where I am at in my career and seeing how I measure up,” Lyon said. “I have skated with high-caliber players before, but this will probably be the best collection of players that I have ever played with.”