Yale goalie Nick Maricic ’13 and Quinnipiac defender Loren Barron have a particularly longstanding hockey rivalry: For over a decade, the pair have faced off against each other in minor leagues, then as juniors in the USHL and now at the collegiate level. But this past June, Maricic and Barron finally suited up for the same side as they competed for Team USA in the 2012 International Ice Hockey Federation InLine Hockey World Championship.
The 17th annual tournament, which took place in Ingolstadt, Germany, in early June, brought together eight inline hockey teams from the United States, Canada, Czech Republic, Finland, Germany, Great Britain, Slovenia and Sweden. Team USA was undefeated in the preliminary round, but was upset in overtime by Finland in the quarterfinals. Canada finished the weeklong tournament in first place, followed by Germany and Slovenia in second and third, respectively.
Maricic and Barron were the youngest — and the only two current collegiate players — on the American team, which also included NCAA ice hockey graduates and a few inline hockey players who compete professionally in Europe.
Both Maricic and Barron said they enjoyed playing together for the same team, and Barron added that they have been friends and competitors since they were about 8 years old. Maricic said they grew up about 15 minutes away from each other in their home state of California.
“We always have a friendly banter going back and forth,” Maricic said. “I think I had the upper hand after sophomore year, but then he scored a nice goal on me last season so it’s pretty even now.”
“He’s a great goalie,” Barron said of Maricic. “He definitely makes us feel comfortable back there.”
Others shared Barron’s opinion of Maricic: he was named Team USA’s player of the game after it defeated Great Britain 18–1 on June 6. He finished the tournament with a 1.75 goals against average and a .902 save percentage, while stopping 65 of 72 shots on net.
Inline hockey differs from ice hockey in that it is played on roller blades and is a non-contact sport. Also, there are only four players and one goalie per team and the games take place on an Olympic-sized rink.
Maricic said he grew up playing inline hockey, which is more popular than ice hockey in warmer, southern climates, but switched to ice hockey when he was 12.
“Without hitting, [inline hockey] becomes more of a skill game,” Maricic said. “[As a goalie] you don’t have the same mobility on Rollerblades because you can’t slide, so you really have to anticipate the plays.”
Maricic first met Joe Cook, coach of the national inline hockey team since the summer of 2011, when he was playing for a Californian inline hockey team at the North American Roller Hockey Championships in Florida. Cook invited Maricic to join the national team in January.
Cook said that Maricic was “spectacular” as a goalie, even though the team finished fifth overall in the tournament.
“[Maricic] reads plays well as a goaltender, which is important,” Cook said in an email to the News. “He is a very calm guy, which makes him an asset on the floor while the game is going on. Some goalies get rattled or down on themselves and his solid demeanor was a huge asset for us.”
The Bulldogs’ conference season will start on Nov. 2 and 3 with games at Dartmouth and Harvard, respectively. Maricic and Barron will not face off again until Feb. 2, when Yale hosts Quinnipiac.
For the seniors on the men’s hockey team, ‘firsts’ are few and far between. The group has been to three NCAA tournaments, reached the national quarterfinals twice and won two ECAC titles.
But this weekend, the seniors will be facing a new challenge — for the first time in their careers, they will be playing in the first round of the ECAC tournament.
The Bulldogs (13–13–3, 10–10–2 ECAC) will host Princeton at Ingalls Rink this weekend for a three-game series in the first round of the ECAC tournament. In each of the last three ECAC tournaments — two of which they have won — the Bulldogs have been a No. 1 or a No. 2 seed and received a first-round bye. Captain and forward Brian O’Neill ’12 said those playoff trips have given the seniors the experience necessary to lead Yale on a deep playoff run this year.
“We’ve all been in the ECAC tournament and won a couple championships, so everyone knows what it takes, which is important,” O’Neill said. “I don’t think anything is too overwhelming for us right now, so I think that will definitely help us in the long run in the playoffs.”
This year’s squad heads into the tournament with only a No. 6 seed after falling to the middle of the ECAC pack this season. Despite the lower standing, the Elis begin the conference tournament with major momentum after finishing 3–0–1 over the last two weekends of the regular season. During that span, Yale has outscored its opponents 19–8. O’Neill said a new set of lines has re-energized the team’s offense over the past few weeks.
“I think we were getting a little bit stale with the lines,” O’Neill said. “To get some new life in the lines really gives everyone a little extra spark that you need in the second half of the season. I think that was a really good move by Coach, and we’re seeing the benefits of that.”
Princeton (8–14–7, 6–12–4) and Yale have faced off three times this season, with the first game back on Oct. 28. That game, part of the Ivy Shootout, was the first time either team had taken on an ECAC opponent this season, though it did not count toward conference standings.
The two sides were almost dead even in that contest, as they fought through 65 minutes of hockey to a 2–2 draw. Both teams scored two second-period goals and headed home with one point each.
But since then, Yale has clearly had the upper hand. The Elis first dominated Princeton on Jan. 7 when the Bulldogs hosted the Tigers at Ingalls Rink. Although the Elis fell behind by a goal early, they surged for four straight points and went on to a 6–2 win.
On both of those occasions, Jeff Malcolm ’13 was between the pipes for Yale. But Malcolm has been on the bench of late as head coach Keith Allain ’80 has opted for Nick Maricic ’13 in the team’s last four games. The two had rotated in net for about eight games until Malcolm was pulled after allowing three goals in 26 minutes to Cornell on Feb. 11. Since then, only Maricic has played in net, and it will almost surely be the California native in the crease tonight.
“[Maricic] was really good in our last game against Quinnipiac, which was awesome because it was a pressure-packed game,” O’Neill said. “For him to play like that, I think it should give him confidence going into the postseason. Nick has really stepped up for us going into the postseason, so he’s our guy.”
It was also Maricic in net for Yale’s most recent triumph over Princeton this past Friday, when the Elis trounced the Tigers 5–2 on the road.
O’Neill, who was recently named Ivy League Player of the Year and ECAC Player of the Month, had a hand in four of Yale’s five goals that game to lead the way. He has come up huge against Princeton all season with three goals and five assists overall, making him the player to watch this weekend. Although Allain acknowledged O’Neill’s strong performances in those games, he pointed out that he has been superb all season.
“I can’t think of a game where Brian didn’t play well,” Allain said. “He did get the four points up there against Princeton … but I never expect anything but Brian’s best effort.”
Princeton has struggled for most of the season and finished 11th in the 12-team ECAC. The Tigers have faced offensive woes and have scored just 75 goals, which puts them at 10th in the league. However, they have limited their vulnerability by recording the fewest penalty minutes in the conference (323), which allows them to play at full strength more than any other ECAC team. Still, Allain said that he expects Princeton to be a touch matchup.
“It’s going to be a heck of a battle every game this weekend,” Allain said. “They work really hard as a team, they have some team speed, their defense does a real good job of contributing to the offense and they get real good goaltending.”
Although Princeton does not appear to be a very significant threat, anything can happen in a three-game series. Just two years ago, the No. 11 seed, Brown, upset top-seeded Yale in a three-game quarterfinal at Ingalls Rink.
If the Elis hope to avoid such an upset this year, winning the opening game of the series is a good place to start. Going back to the 2008 ECAC tournament, the team that has won the opening game of a three-game series has gone on to win the set 72 percent of the time. However, Allain said he does not necessarily consider the first game to be the most important.
“You have to get two wins, it doesn’t really matter how you get them,” Allain said. “I don’t want to place too much importance on one game. The second win is the one you have to get.”
The series kicks off on tonight at 7 p.m. and will continue with Game 2 on Saturday night. If the teams split the first two games, Game 3 is scheduled for Sunday night at 7 p.m.
Facing off against two challenging opponents in Union and RPI on the road, the men’s hockey team proved that it could win with a shutdown defense as well as an explosive offense. The Bulldogs finished their road trip with a pair of victories that launched them into a three-way tie atop the ECAC with Cornell and St. Lawrence.
YALE WINS DEFENSIVE STRUGGLE
Against a speedy RPI squad, the Elis struggled to find their rhythm offensively.
But a suffocating defense gave the Bulldogs (4–1–1, 3–1 ECAC) a 2–0 victory over the Engineers, (2–9, 1–3). RPI generated six power play opportunities but came up empty-handed each time against the stout Elis’ penalty-killing unit, which has allowed just one power play goal so far this year.
The Blue and White offense drew first blood less than two minutes into the game.
Left-winger Josh Balch ’12 stole the puck away from defenseman Pat Koudys in the neutral zone and sped down the left side toward netminder Bryce Merriam. Balch faked a shot to Merriam’s left before slipping the puck behind the outstretched goalie for his first goal of the year.
But defensive plays dominated the rest of the game as neither team could create good scoring opportunities.
“I think we’re doing a good job just keeping it simple, getting back on pucks and moving them up to the wingers quickly,” Yale goalie Jeff Malcolm ’13 said about the defense.
After skating to a stalemate in the opening frame, the Engineers were determined to equalize the score in the second period, outshooting the Bulldogs 13–8. However, netminder Malcolm proved too tough for RPI to overcome, blocking every shot he faced. Malcolm finished the game with 27 saves and posted his second career shutout.
“Malcolm has been stellar since the beginning of the year,” forward Charles Brockett ’12 said. “When you have a guy back there that everyone has confidence in it definitely helps everyone to build confidence.”
The Elis’ blueliners stunned RPI’s offensive momentum all game long with relentless back-checking and disruption of the Engineers’ passing lanes. Despite drawing three penalties in the middle frame, the Bulldogs kept the Engineers scoreless through two periods.
With less than two minutes left in the game, the Blue and White struck the final blow.
Halfway through Yale’s third power play of the night, forward Kenny Agostino ’14 slipped the puck to a waiting Clint Bourbonais ’14 in front of the net. The sophomore center buried the shot into the back of the net for his second goal of the year.
“Me, Kenny and Antoine were cycling the puck,” Bourbonais said. “We made some good plays and we ended up with a 2–0 advantage in front of the net. Kenny gave me a great pass and I just put it in the back of net.”
VICTORY OVER UNION
After a defensive struggle against RPI, the Bulldogs unleashed a high octane offense against Union on Saturday.
Part of this was due to the return of Dan Otto ’12. Forced to sit out his first three seasons at Yale due to a string of injuries and failed surgeries, the senior right-winger scored two goals in his sixth collegiate game to lead the Bulldogs (4–1–1, 3–1 ECAC) to a 4–0 win over No. 9 Union (5–3–3, 2–2).
“A lot of people would’ve given up and focused on school, but he was determined to get back in the lineup and play hockey, if only for this last year,” Brockett said. “To see him not only get in the lineup and play but to be able to come in and contribute, it’s a great feeling. As a teammate and close friend, you love to see something like that.”
The Elis scored all four of their goals in the first 23 minutes of the game and held off a relentless Dutchmen offensive onslaught for the next two periods. Malcolm made a career-high 45 saves for the Bulldogs and notched his third straight shutout.
“I’m just having fun making the sa“When you have one of the best power plays in the nation on the other team and you’re able to hold them to no power play goals, it’s a good feeling,” Brockett said. “The penalty kill has been working really well for us, and we’re all working as a unit back there starting with Malcolm.”
The Bulldogs’ special team units have now killed 26 penalties on 27 attempts, best among all Division I schools.
With 10 minutes left in the game, Union enjoyed a two-man advantage as O’Neill and Colin Dueck ’12 were sent to the penalty box for slashing and kneeing, respectively. But the Dutchmen struggled to move the puck in the offensive zone and came up empty.
Union outshot Yale by a staggering 38–10 margin in the final two periods but could not get the puck past an impenetrable Malcolm, who now leads the nation with a .960 save percentage.
The Bulldogs will come back to Ingalls Rink on Nov. 19 to take on the UConn Huskies.
It was a weekend of mixed emotions for the Eli faithful. After a drubbing from Cornell and a confidence-inspiring win over Colgate, it remains unclear how the Elis will stack up against their competition this year.
CORNELL PLAYS SPOILER
The Big Red (1–1–0, 1–0–0 ECAC) scored two goals in the final seven minutes of the first period Friday night, a deficit that proved too much for the Bulldogs (1–1–1, 0–1–0 ECAC) to overcome, resulting in a 6–2 loss. The defeat snapped the Elis’ 20-game winning streak at home.
The Blue and White jumped out to a blazing start, firing the game’s first seven shots on goal and finishing the opening frame with a 13–6 shot advantage. But Cornell’s goalie Andy Iles managed to hold off the Yale onslaught, saving every shot he faced.
“That was our best ten minutes [of the game],” captain and forward Brian O’Neill ’12 said. “When you don’t capitalize on that, it’s frustrating.”
A Yale turnover in the neutral zone set up Cornell’s first score of the night. With 6:11 left in the first period, an open John Esposito fired off a one-timer in front of the net for the game’s first goal.
The Big Red struck again with just 38 seconds left before the first intermission. A scramble in front of the Yale net sent the puck to left-winger Joel Lowry, who fired a rising shot past goaltender Jeff Malcolm ’13.
But the Bulldogs shifted the momentum back in their favor, scoring their first goal at home this season 32 seconds into the second period. After receiving the puck from Kevin Limbert ’12, forward Chad Ziegler ’12 immediately launched a low shot from the top of the left circle. The puck flew behind Iles into the far post, giving Ziegler his second goal of the year.
“It was offensive pressure from myself and my linemates,” Ziegler said. “We forced a turnover just inside the blue line, and Limbert just gave me a great pass. It was perfect for me just to get a quick shot off and be able to beat the goalie while he was moving across the net.”
The Big Red dominated the middle frame offensively, gaining a 16–8 shot advantage.
For the second period in a row, the Bulldogs gave up a goal with less than a minute to play. Malcolm blocked a shot by Brian Ferlin but could not hang on to the puck as Greg Miller swooped in and gave the Big Red a 3–1 lead with 52 seconds left on the clock.
“Whenever the other team scores late in the period that’s always a momentum-buster, and it just shouldn’t happen,” O’Neill said. “Any time you get a goal scored against in the last minute or two in the period, it’s pretty frustrating.”
Nicholas Weberg ’15 had a chance to tie the game five minutes after Ziegler’s goal. The freshman’s shot bounced off the post but the frantic scrambling that ensued could not give the Bulldogs the equalizer.
20 seconds into the final period, Cornell pulled further ahead when Lowry beat a defender off the wall and rifled the puck over Malcolm’s shoulder. Malcolm finished the game with 26 saves.
With 5:45 remaining, the Big Red struck the finishing blow when Kirill Gotovets escaped the Yale defense and sneaked past Malcolm’s right side to put the puck away. Cornell scored an empty net goal with less than minute left in the game.
“Every time they scored, we tried harder instead of trying to be smarter,” head coach Keith Allain ’80 said. “We didn’t respond the way we would have liked to.”
Blueliner Tommy Fallen ’15 scored the Bulldogs’ final goal of the night off a feed from Andrew Miller ’13. Fallen blasted a shot from the left point that sailed through traffic into the back of the net.
The Blue and White had not allowed an opponent to score six goals since their 9–7 loss to Boston College in the 2010 NCAA Northeast Regional Final.
RAIDERS COME UP EMPTY
But the Bulldogs (2–1–1, 1–1–0 ECAC) did not let the deflating loss to Cornell affect them on Saturday as they shut out No. 18 Colgate (5–3–1, 1–1–0) 2–0 for their first home win of the season.
For the fourth straight game, the Elis were outshot by their opponents. On paper, the Raiders seemed to have dominated the game offensively, finishing with a 39–22 advantage in shots on goal. However, the Elis ultimately proved to be the more potent offense of the night.
“I thought we had the better scoring chances most of the night,” Allain said. “Unfortunately on many of our good opportunities we missed the net, so you don’t get credit for that shot. But I thought we were the better hockey team.”
Penalties marred the first period as the two teams combined for five trips to the box. But the Elis took advantage and drew first blood.
Halfway through the opening frame, a slashing penalty sent Colgate forward Matt Nasca to the penalty box. With 15 seconds left on the power play, Nick Jaskowiak ’12 fired a long shot toward the goal that went high. But center Clint Bourbonais ’14 picked up the rebound and slipped the puck to a waiting Antoine Laganiere ’13 in front of the net. Laganiere’s shot trickled through goaltender Erick Mihalik’s legs, giving the Elis a 1–0 lead.
After the initial goal, neither the Raiders nor the Bulldogs could create good scoring opportunities during the second period. After giving Cornell plenty of chances right in front of the net, Yale’s blueliners forced the Raiders to settle mostly for shots on the perimeter.
“We talked about paying more attention to detail in our forecheck,” Allain said. “The real difference I think is that our guys were skating as a five man unit tonight. Last night they worked hard but it was kind of individual and tonight’s effort was more of a collective effort.”
The Elis consistently created turnovers during the second and early third periods and launched several speedy counterattacks that sent the crowd to its feet.
However, the Bulldogs could not finish the breakaway opportunities, often hesitating for too long and letting the Colgate defense catch up. The game stood at 1–0 in favor of Yale for over 30 minutes.
“We’re not scoring as much as last year,” Bourbonais said. “But we’re getting the same opportunities, and we just need to bare down in greasy areas in front of the net and along the boards.”
With less than eight minutes left in the game, the Elis put the final nail in the coffin. Left-winger Josh Balch ’12 sent a pass to an unguarded Bourbonais from behind the net. The sophomore fired a low shot from the slot that passed Mihalik’s outstretched skate.
The Raiders pulled their goalie with 1:42 left and desperately attacked the Yale defense. However, the man advantage did not translate into a goal for Colgate. The Raiders failed to take advantage when they had a player-advantage throughout the game, going 0-5 on power plays.
After giving up five goals to Cornell, netminder Jeff Malcolm ’13 rebounded on Saturday night, stopping all 39 shots he faced and posting his first career shutout. Malcolm’s 39 saves are the highest by a Yale goaltender since Ryan Rondeau ’11 made 40 saves against Princeton on Oct. 31, 2009 in a 5–2 Yale win.
“Guys did a great job in front of me, keeping shots to the outside, and letting me see the puck,” Malcolm said. “I just got into my groove and had some fun making some saves tonight. It’s tough to win in this league so you … just have to keep battling.”
The Elis will travel to New York next weekend to take on two ECAC foes, Union College and RPI.
“We’ll do what we usually do in the week,” Allain said. “Tomorrow morning we’ll lift and have a good practice and go over tonight’s game, and we’ll keep building our game as the week goes on each day in practice.”
Last year’s road trip to Union and RPI resulted in consecutive losses that knocked off the No. 1 ranked Bulldogs.
It has been 643 days since the men’s hockey team last lost a regular season game at Ingalls Rink.
The Bulldogs (1–0–1) will attempt to continue their recent dominance at home as they take to the ice this weekend against two ECAC foes, Cornell (0–1–0) on Friday and No. 18 Colgate (4–2–1) on Saturday.The Elis went undefeated in New Haven last season, skating to a 15–0–1 record at The Whale and distinguishing themselves as the only Division I team with a spotless record on its home ice.
Anticipation for the Elis’ home-opener is rampant. CBS Sports Network will broadcast Friday’s game live and only standing-room tickets were available at the Yale Bookstore as of Thursday afternoon. But fans are not the only ones who are excited. Forward Kenny Agostino ’14 said the team itself is also eagerly awaiting its first home contest.
“It’s going to be great to be back at Ingalls,” Agostino said in an email. “Playing in front of our crowd is a special environment, and we’re all pretty pumped for the home opener.”
The Bulldogs enter ECAC play this weekend after going 1–0–1 at the Ivy Shootout last Friday and Saturday, which does not count toward ECAC standings. Last week’s action included a 2–2 tie against Princeton and a 2–1 win over Dartmouth. Although the Elis were still getting accustomed to new members of the team and playing full games, head coach Keith Allain ’80 was satisfied with the team’s performance.
“I thought we improved in some areas,” Allain said. “If you get three points on the road in one weekend, that’s not a bad weekend.”
But throughout the Shootout the scoreboard held an unfamiliar sight for the Eli faithful – the Elis put up only four goals in two games. Last year’s team notched 14 goals in Shootout games against Dartmouth and Brown. But Allain said that the Bulldogs created ample opportunities to score, and he has no concerns about the team’s offensive output.
“I thought we had some opportunities to score more, but we weren’t real efficient around the net,” Allain said. “As long as we score one more than the next guy, I’m happy.”
Yale hopes to find consistencyfinishing this weekend when it hits the ice against Cornell on Friday night. The game will be a rematch of last season’s ECAC Final, which Yale took handily by a score of 6–0. The Elis have defeated the Big Red in eight consecutive meetings.
But each team will look drastically different from the squads that participated in that contest. Both Yale and Cornell lost important seniors, with the Bulldogs graduating nine players and the Big Red graduating seven. Cornell lost its top two goal-scorers, Joe Devin and Tyler Roeszler, who combined for 29 goals and 52 points last year.
Allain said that the Big Red tends to be made up of bigger players, an advantage it uses in executing a defensive style of hockey. The Elis hope to negate this size advantage through their speed and all-around playmaking ability.
“I think the success that drove a lot of the high-scoring games against Cornell was because of the kind of match-up we present,” forward Charles Brockett ’12 said. “Our constant motion in the offensive zone seems to have provided difficulties for their defensemen.”
Cornell lost its season opener to Mercyhurst College 5–4. The Big Red erased a two-goal deficit heading into the third period but allowed two goals in the final 10minutes, allowing the Lakers to leave Ithaca with the upset victory.
Colgate, which was just 11–28–3 last year, is off to a strong start so far this season. The Raiders went 2–1 against two nationally ranked opponents, Nebraska-Omaha and Miami (Ohio), and are averaging 3.28 goals a game.
“Colgate’s a team that’s got some dynamic forwards, and they’ve gotten strong goaltending this year,” Allain said. “In terms of tempo, Colgate generally plays a faster tempo game than Cornell.”
The Raiders have beaten Yale just three timessince Allain took over in 2006. The two team’s last three meetings at Ingalls have all gone into overtime, including a 1–1 draw a year ago, the only home game the Elis did not win.
The Yale defense, which had just three returning players last week, will welcome the return of Kevin Peel ’12, who missed the opening weekend recovering from a broken foot. Peel ranked second among defensive players last year with 14 points.
The Bulldogs played all three of their first-year blueliners last weekend. Bennett Carroccio ’15, Tommy Fallen ’15, and Matt Killian ’15 saw significant playing time and helped to hold Princeton and Dartmouth to just three goals total.
“My impression of the freshmen has been great,” Brockett said. “The more games you play the more comfortable and confident you become. We are looking to everyone of them to not only contribute this year but also make big strides throughout the season as we move toward the postseason.”
Jeff Malcolm ’13 will likely get the nod to start in front of the net again after posting a .948 save percentage in two Ivy Shootout starts.
“Jeff was very good [last week],” Allain said. “I thought he was much better Saturday than he was Friday. Not that he was bad on Friday, but I thought he had some patches where he wasn’t as aggressive as I’d like him but Saturday night he was outstanding.”
Faceoff against Cornell is at 7:30 p.m. and 7:00 p.m. against Colgate.
The hockey team debuted a new look at the Ivy League Shootout this weekend. The Bulldogs played low-scoring games behind a tough defense resulting in an undefeated opening weekend.
After outscoring opponents, 14–7, in last season’s Ivy League Shootout, the Bulldogs (1–0–1, 1–0–1 ECAC) held only a 4–3 advantage this season after a 2–2 tie with Princeton and a 2–1 victory over Dartmouth.
After graduating nine seniors, the Bulldogs are getting used to playing with new personnel.
“The group we lost last year was a great bunch of guys both talent and leadership wise,” goalie Jeff Malcolm ’13 said in an email to the News. “I think our guys this year have done a really good job stepping up into those roles.”
After trailing by a goal halfway through the game, Princeton tied the match with less than a minute left in a four-goal second period and held off a relentless Yale attack in overtime for the tie.
The Tigers frustrated the Bulldogs starting in the first period. The Blue and White peppered Princeton goalie Sean Bonar with 13 shots in the opening frame — the Tigers managed just four against Malcolm — but could not find the back of the net.
Less than five minutes into the second period, the Tigers drew first blood.
Defenseman Mike Sdao took a feed from center Eric Meland and sent a long shot that bounced past Malcolm. Sado also notched a goal against the Elis in a 5–3 loss last season.
But the Tigers’ lead was short-lived. Three minutes later, Nicholas Weberg ’15 deadlocked the game at 1–1 with his first career collegiate goal. Blueliner Colin Dueck ’13 sent the puck across ice to an unguarded Weberg, who then fired a shot from the right circle past the outstretched leg of Bonar. Matt Killian ’15 also recorded his first career assist on the play. The class of 2015 impressed all weekend, adjusting well to the college game.
“It’s usually a bit of a jump from the leagues leading up to college but [the freshmen] seemed to fit in really well this weekend,” Malcolm said in an email to the News. “We have a talented class that came in this year and I think we saw a bit of that this weekend.”
The Bulldogs struck again with less than five minutes left in the second period.
“We worked the puck around the perimeter until Brian [O’Neill ’12] and I had a 2-on-1 on the left side of the net,” Miller said. “The defenseman stepped up to play me so I slid it down to [Brian] on the goal line, and he made a good move to put the puck behind the goalie.”
O’Neill’s goal gave the Bulldogs a 2-1 lead. The senior captain notched a point for the sixth straight game since last March.
However, the Bulldogs could not take advantage of the game’s other four power play opportunities, coming away empty-handed each time.
With just 32 seconds left in the middle frame, the Tigers permanently tied the score up. Forward Rob Kleebaum streaked down the right side and flipped an off-balance backhand shot. The puck flew through the air into the upper left corner of the net.
Princeton outshot the Bulldogs 9–3 in the final period, but Malcolm did not let a single shot past him. The junior goaltender finished with 26 saves in his first regular season start since last November.
While the Elis attacked the net continuously in overtime, Bonar sopped all five shots he faced, finishing with 28 saves.
The last time the Blue and White skated to a tie was on Feb. 25, when Colgate managed a 1–1 draw against the No. 3 Bulldogs at Ingalls Rink.
A similar script unfolded on Saturday against Dartmouth as Yale took a 2–1 lead in the second period. But this time, the Elis hung on to claim their first victory of the season.
The two teams walked off the ice after tying the opening frame at 0–0. However, the Big Green controlled the puck all period, outshooting the Bulldogs 14–5. But Malcolm, in his second consecutive start, held off the Dartmouth onslaught.
“In close games in college hockey there are going to be at least two, maybe more, grade-A scoring chances,” Miller said. “If our goalie can come up and make those saves like Malcolm did, that puts us in an excellent position to win.”
Malcolm came up big again early in the second period. With Gus Young ’14 and Antoine Laganiere ’13 both in the penalty box, Dartmouth had a two-man advantage and seemed poised to jump out to an early lead. But Malcolm and the rest of the Bulldogs killed the penalty to keep the game scoreless. Malcolm said triumphs like these were made possible by the defense in front of him.
“I thought our guys played well defensively in front of me and kept most of their shots to the outside,” Malcolm said. “I thought our guys limited the second and third opportunities and let me see the first shot.”
The momentum shifted midway through the middle frame in favor of the Blue and White, who outshot the home team 14–8.
On a power play, forward Clinton Bourbonais ’14 fired a hard wrist shot toward the net from the top of the circle. Dartmouth goalie James Mello deflected the puck but could not react in time as Laganiere flicked it in for his first goal of the year.
The Bulldogs had an opportunity to extend their lead a few minutes later in a scramble in front of Dartmouth’s net. The puck went in, but the referees called the goal off for goaltender interference.
With 6:08 left on the clock, the Big Green’s Eric Robinson redirected a pass near the red line into center ice and toward a streaking Eric Neiley. The freshman forward launched a rising shot that went over Malcolm’s shoulder, tying the match at 1–1.
However, the Elis’ aggressive attack paid off again just a minute before the second intermission.
Left winger Chad Ziegler ’12 took a pass from fellow forward Charles Brockett ’12 behind the net and skated out in front of the crease before sending the puck past Mello’s left shoulder into the net.
The Bulldogs never gave the Big Green another chance to even the score up, killing two penalties in the third period, including a 6-on-4 situation where Dartmouth pulled Mello off with a minute left.
“Our guys showed great courage with a slow start on the road, having a goal waved off and fighting through the third-period penalty kills,” head coach Keith Allain ’80 said in an interview posted on the Yale athletics website.
The Elis will play their first home games of the conference schedule this weekend with games against Cornell and Colgate on Friday and Saturday nights.
Last season, the men’s hockey team won the ECAC Tournament, clinched the Ivy League title in decisive fashion and set a school record with 28 wins.
But the Bulldogs’ dream of a national championship ended prematurelyin the NCAA Northeast Regional finals, falling 5–3 to eventual national champion Minnesota-Duluth. After a seven-month hiatus, the Elis are back on the ice again and will kick off their quest for the Frozen Four with two games against Ivy foes, Princeton and Dartmouth, this weekend.
“The team’s goal this season is a national championship and anything less will be a disappointment to us all,” captain Brian O’Neill ’12 said. “We had some close calls in the past, but this year we are poised to take the next step in the process.”
The Bulldogs spent eight weeks last year ranked as the No. 1 team in the country, and expectations are high for the upcoming season.
Despite not having played a game due to Ivy League restrictions, the latest USCHO poll ranked the Elis 10th while the regional media and ECAC coaches selected the Bulldogs as the preseason favorite to win the ECAC.
Known for his recruitment of undersized but quick forwards, head coach Keith Allain ’80 has fashioned Yale into one of most feared offenses in the country. The Bulldogs finished last year’s campaign averaging 4.19 goals per game, best among all Division I schools.
Yale’s high-octane attack will be anchored by O’Neill and Andrew Miller ’13, the team’s leading scorers last year. O’Neill notched 20 goals and 46 points while Miller led the team in assists with 33. However, the Elis face the difficult task of replacing Broc Little ’11 and Denny Kearney ’11, one of the best duos ever to skate in Blue and White. The pair combined for 117 goals and 273 points over its four-year career.
Also gone is Chris Cahill ’11, a physical forward who ranked fourth on the team last season with 15 goals, including four game-winners.
“Obviously you can’t completely replace those guys because they were so good for all four years,” Jesse Root ’14 said. “[But] I think we still have a lot of talent all the way around on the team that can pick up the scoring slack.”
One of the players expected to step up on the offense is Kenny Agostino ’14, who had 11 goals and 14 assists in his debut season for the Bulldogs. Agostino spent a week in August at the U.S. National Junior Evaluation Camp, leading all scorers with tenpoints and is hopeful for one of the 22 spots on the U.S. National Junior Team.
The Elis’ explosive offense was complemented by a stingy defense that led the country in scoring defense last season, surrendering just 2.06 goals a game.
The departure of starting goalie Ryan Rondeau ’11 created the biggest void for the Bulldogs’ defense. Rondeau notched six shutouts last year and is Yale’s career leader in goal allowed average and save percentage.
“It’s always tough when your goalie graduates, especially after how well Rondeau played last year,” Kevin Peel ’12 said. “But we have three very capable goaltenders this year and our whole team has confidence that any one of them could be the one that helps us win that national championship.”
Allain has yet to name a starting net minder and will probably rotate players at the spot, the same tactic he used last year before Rondeau’s breakout.
Jeff Malcolm ’13 started in the net for the Bulldogs in their 2–1 exhibition loss against the University of Waterloo while Nick Maricic ’13 finished the second period saving all 16 shots he faced. Newcomer Connor Wilson ’15 saved seven of eight shots in the final period but allowed the game-winning goal for the Warriors.
While the Elis lost only three blueliners, they have only three returning defensemen available for now. Peel broke his foot during the summer and still needs a few weeks to recover fully.
This means that the Bulldogs will have to rotate regularly their three first-year defenders on the ice every game. But players said they are confident in the freshmen’s abilities to make plays.
“Yale hockey is a team that prides itself on defensive play, and I think these new guys have learned that pretty quickly,” Agostino said. “They are in the process of making good transitions, and we are going to have to put our trust in these young players.”
Before last season began, players used the slogan “Unfinished Business” to remind themselves how close they were to the national title in the 2009-’10 season. This year, the Bulldogs’ slogan has changed to “Back for More,” an indication for their desire to build on last season’s success.
“We have gotten close to that national title, but not close enough,” Peel said. “Everyone believes we have the team that can win, and now we have some experience on our side, which is only going to help us achieve our goal.”
Yale will face off against Princeton on Friday in Hanover, N.H. as part of the Ivy Shootout. The Tigers proved to be a tough opponent last season, nearly upsetting the Bulldogs at home after jumping out to a 3–0 lead in the first period. The Elis managed to erase the deficit and walked away with a 5–4 victory.
“As good as Princeton is, we care about us and what we are doing out on the ice,” Root said. “We’d like to make them react to us and not the other way around.”
The Bulldogs will take on Dartmouth, which finished second in the Ancient Eight last season, on Saturday at 7 p.m.
If New Haven’s largest residential apartment owner has its way, all of Yale’s varsity sports teams may soon have customized off-campus houses to call their own.
On Oct. 5, Pike International LLC completed the renovations on a new “Hockey House” — the home to eight members of the Yale men’s varsity hockey team. Inspired by the Eero Saarinen-designed rink in which the team plays, the new house is Pike’s first customized house for a sports team, designer Fernando Pastor said, adding that the company hopes to work on similar projects on the Crown Street “sports block” in the future.
When the team decided it wanted to downsize from its previous house on Edgewood Avenue, it contacted real estate company Pike to find new housing arrangements, team captain Brian O’Neill ’12 said. After locating a house at 380 Crown St., Pike hired a 50-person construction crew to finish the project — a $165,000 renovation — in 45 days. The company hired Argentine designer Pastor to remodel the house, formerly a single-family home and more recently a barbershop, with sustainability and reusability in mind.
“In this era of scarce resources, we believe it’s our duty to reuse valuable materials from the same building we are renovating and from others that have been repurposed or demolished around town,” Even Schmitt, director of property management at Pike International LLC, said in an email.
As part of the renovations, recycled roof rafters created a screen in the building’s foyer, the hardwood floorboards and granite countertops traveled from an old house in Millbrook, N.Y. and paneled doors salvaged from Yale’s former Brewster Hall serve as the front entrance to the house.
Schmitt added that the company follows the adage “Your junk is my treasure” and finds aesthetic and functional value in items discarded by others.
Renovations on the house, which is owned by Pike and rented to the hockey players, were inspired by Eero Saarinen’s Ingalls Rink, Pastor said. A mural of one of Saarinen’s hand sketches hangs on the living room wall.
Five seniors and three juniors have been living in the Hockey House since Oct. 10. O’Neill said one of the benefits of living there is it is less expensive than living in Yale housing.
“We have more freedom,” he said. “We can cook our own meals, there’s not as much noise, and not as many distractions [as on-campus housing]. It’s not a party house.”
Nick Maricic ’13 does not live at the house but said he stops over to kick back and watch a hockey game when he gets the chance.
“Everyone [at the house] is on the same schedule,” Maricic said, “so it’s convenient for coordinating rides to practices and games because everyone is going to the same place.”
The men’s hockey season starts this weekend with an exhibition game against the University of Waterloo on Saturday night at 7 p.m.
The Indiana Ice, a team in the amateur United States Hockey League (USHL), announced Wednesday morning that it had hired Kyle Wallack as general manager and head coach. Wallack, who was Yale’s associate head coach and recruiting director, joined the program in 2006, soon after head coach Keith Allain ’80.
“It’s a league where it’s more of a business than the college game, but there’s an opportunity to be a head coach and that’s been a goal of mine,” Wallack said. “I’m excited to see where it takes me, and hopefully I can come back and coach at Yale one day.”
Wallack was known at Yale for his recruiting. His efforts helped draw the key pieces of the Elis’ recent successful teams to New Haven from as far away as California and British Columbia.
“[Wallack] gets to know your family, not just you,” said forward Chad Ziegler ’12, a native of Alberta, Canada. “He shows an interest in you as a person just as much as a hockey player. That’s a major thing to prospective players.”
Yale had a losing hockey program when Allain took over and hired Wallack as his second in command. But the pair have elevated the Elis into the national spotlight in recent years by building around undersized, speedy forwards and with recruiting coups that included bringing USA Hockey’s 2009 Junior Player of the Year Andrew Miller ’13 to campus.
Players said that the personable manner that helped Wallack as a recruiter carried over to the ice and locker room. Goaltender Nick Maricic ’13, whose first contact with Yale was with the coach, described Wallack as a vocal presence who pointed out what players were doing wrong but also had a sense of humor. That sense of humor included a bet in January that Ziegler — who is known for being vocal about his Canadian heritage — could not go a week without mentioning the name of his home province. Wallack won.
“I think his ability to make guys laugh helped us to keep things in perspective during rough times the last few seasons,” Maricic said.
Wallack — a Connecticut native who started at goalie for all his four years at Springfield College — had coached for the University of Connecticut and Holy Cross before joining the Bulldogs. He said that he grew enormously as a coach during his time at Yale and with Allain.
“If [Allain] hadn’t given me the stamp of approval, I don’t think I would have left,” Wallack said. “I’m sure I’ll be on the phone with him next year quite a bit picking his brain on different situations.”
Wallack may be making those phone calls from North Dakota, Nebraska or Ohio. Each state has at least one team in the USHL, a junior league that players enter to hone their skills and earn the attention of NCAA and NHL scouts. It includes athletes as young as 16 and as old as 20. Those players — many of whom finish high school while with their teams and move away from home to enter the league — can be drafted or traded during their time in the league.
Former Indiana head coach and general manager Charlie Skjodt was promoted to president of the club on May 5, leaving an opening at his former position.
“Kyle embodies everything the Indiana Ice stands for here in Indianapolis,” said team CEO Paul Skjodt, Charlie’s brother, in a press release Wednesday. “The most impressive part of his stay at Yale was his ability to not only recruit, but to build a team of student athletes that require the highest standards of education to gain entry and still win at the college level.”
Wallack said he officially signed with the Ice over the weekend. His contract runs through 2013–14, according to a press release announcing his hiring.
On Tuesday, Wallack emailed the Yale team to announce his departure.
Nine members of the 2010-11 Elis played in the USHL, and former star goaltender Alec Richards ’09 skated with Indiana for a year before he came to Yale.
After he was ejected midway through his team’s season-ending loss to Minnesota-Duluth in the NCAA tournament, men’s hockey captain-elect Brian O’Neill ’12 could not bring himself to watch the remaining playoff games on television.
O’Neill, who has led the team in scoring for the past two seasons, had to watch his team implode from the locker room. One month later, however, he is focusing on the future. His teammates have elected him as the 117th Yale captain of Yale hockey, and the right winger from Pennsylvania already has his sites fixed on a familiar goal: a national championship.
O’Neill’s teammates say he has led by example in his three years on the team, but has also gradually taken on a more vocal role in the locker room. He has blossomed on the ice during that time from a member of the College Hockey News’ All-Rookie Team after his freshman year to the scorer of almost half Yale’s NCAA tournament goals last season.
“He is really the heart and soul of this team,” head coach Keith Allain ’80 said.
O’Neill had two assists in his first ever game in a Yale uniform. He has not let up the scoring pace since. He was instrumental in his team’s ECAC playoff victory last season, and his scoring touch helped Yale land the No. 1 overall seed in the national tournament.
He kept putting pucks in the net as the stakes increased, and scored the Elis’ only regulation goal in their NCAA tournament-opening victory over Air Force. He scored again the next night, against Minnesota-Duluth. But, following his ejection, he could not contribute as that game slipped away.
Without its leading scorer playing, Yale limped to a season-ending 5–3 loss. Allain defended O’Neill after the game, and replays seemed to show that the hit had been clean. But the loss stood, and the season ended prematurely for a team that had its sights set from the outset on a national title.
Now O’Neill says that he and his fellow rising seniors want to lead the team to build on this past season’s success. But the team they will lead is losing nine seniors, all of who played crucial roles last year. Half the defensive corps is graduating, as are three of the team’s top five scorers. Departing goaltender Ryan Rondeau ’11 shared team most valuable player honors with O’Neill at the end of the season.
Next year’s Yale squad will lean heavily on untested underclassmen to replace those seniors, but O’Neill says he does not plan on captaining a rebuilding team.
“It’s up to the seniors to help the freshmen adjust,” he said. “After three, six games, most guys acclimate to the college style, and we’re hoping to pick up where we left off.”
O’Neill had little trouble adjusting to the college game himself. He led Yale freshmen in scoring in his first campaign with the Elis. His scoring production has increased steadily since then, and his 117 career points put him 12th on the University’s career list.
“He’s relentless,” former captain Jimmy Martin ’11 said. “He’s one of those guys who just have a knack for putting the puck in the net.”
Martin and O’Neill have more than the captainship in common — Yale lists both as 5 feet 9 inches. But that number was a point of contention at the team’s annual awards banquet on Monday, when each took the podium and said that the other stood only 5 feet 7 inches.
Whatever the new captain’s true height, he stands shorter than most defensemen he faces. But that size disadvantage does not stop him from crashing the opposing net.
“[O’Neill] is the type of player that won’t shy away from any situation in the game,” said goalie Jeff Malcolm ’12, who has seen plenty of his teammates’ shots up close in practice. “That grittiness helps him to get into the right positions and become an offensive threat.”
Indeed, both of the political science major’s goals during the NCAA tournament began with perfect positioning. Against Air Force, he parked himself at the corner of the net and buried a perfect pass from defenseman Nick Jaskowiak ’12 with ease. His goal the next night came when he converted another one-timer, this one after he had created some open space for himself in the high slot.
Those two goals left O’Neill with eight points in his five career NCAA tournament games.
“He’s a big-game player and one of the most competitive people that I know,” linemate Andrew Miller ’13 said. “He always shows up in big games. And that tells a lot about his character.”
Miller, Martin and other teammates point to that production as a sign of O’Neill’s leadership by example. Media and opposing coaches recognized his skill when they named him to the first team All-ECAC and one of three finalists for the conference’s player of the year.
As captain, O’Neill will be expected not only to keep producing, but also to be a vocal presence. But, Martin said, his successor will not have to change much to fill that role.
“A leader is a leader,” he said. “And O’Neill is one on and off the ice.”
Although O’Neill said that he already tended to be a voice in the locker room, he said that he would have to work especially hard next year to help create unity between the team’s veterans and its large incoming class of freshmen.
The incoming captain will not be alone in that work. He said that he expects the rest of his class to step up and do as much work as he will to lead the team.
“We’ll be seniors, and it will be our team,” he said. “We’ve been through a lot together and we’re excited to go into next season as a class.”
O’Neill’s position on the team and success on the ice are a surprise for a student from Yardley, Penn., far south of traditional hockey hotbeds. O’Neill said his path to hockey began with his father’s encouragement to try skating and an immediate passion for the game.
“The rest is history,” he said.
The right wing’s individual production has already guaranteed him a place in the Yale record books. His success as captain could help make his class the first in school history every to qualify for the NCAA tournament four times. Not to mention the first to win the national title.
Mike Matczak ’11 was in bed when the Adirondack Phantoms called last Saturday morning. The American Hockey League team wanted him to play for them that night.
The former men’s hockey blueliner packed his bags and drove three and a half hours to the Phantoms’ rink in Glens Falls, New York. By 7:00 p.m., he was wearing one of the Phantoms’ orange jerseys and skating shifts on defense against the Wilkes-Barre Penguins.
“Saturday is a big blur for me at this point,” Matczak said. “I woke up at New Haven, and next thing I know I’m playing for the Phantoms.”
Matczak is one of five Elis to have received calls from professional hockey teams since the Yale season ended with a loss in the NCAA Tournament almost two weeks ago. Goaltender Ryan Rondeau ’11 has also signed with the Phantoms, and Denny Kearney ’11, Chris Cahill ’11, and Jimmy Martin ’11 have also logged time on professional teams.
All five heard from the professional clubs in the same manner — a phone call — and then left Yale for an unfamiliar city. Cahill had the longest trip of the group: a flight to Wisconsin for his gig with the Milwaukee Admirals. The rest of the Elis have had easier commutes — Kearney had to drive just an hour to his gig with the Springfield (Mass.) Falcons.
The Falcons, the Admirals, and the Phantoms — who have Rondeau on their roster as well as Matczak — play in the American Hockey League, just one step below the top professional league in the world: the National Hockey League. The minor league is full of players who have seen action in the Big Show, or are on the verge. The game is faster-paced and more controlled than college hockey.
“It’s the same sport, but each man is a little more skilled than the guys are in college,” Kearney said.
That higher level of play has not stopped the former Yale left wing, who has racked up a goal and three assists in his three games with Springfield. His most recent assist, which he earned with a pretty pass across the crease to linemate Greg Moore, came in a familiar location: Bridgeport’s Arena at Harbor Yard, the site of Yale’s season-ending loss to Minnesota-Duluth on March 26.
“During warmups, the goal judge from our game against [Duluth] said, ‘Hey, remember me? When you scored on UMD you jumped against the glass and scared me to death,’” Kearney said. “That was funny, but being there was strange. It was too soon to be back.”
Although Kearney is the only Eli who has made the trip to Bridgeport for a game so far, all have experienced the same rapid turnaround from the end of their Yale season to the beginning of what each one hopes will be a long professional career.
Martin had just two days to make the transition. The Reading Royals of the East Coast Hockey League called him last Tuesday. He was on a plane to Pennsylvania before the day was out, and played that Wednesday.
“You’re still getting over the [Duluth] loss, and having to think about moving on was brutal,” Martin said.
The Reading regular season ended last Saturday, so Martin played three games in four days with the club before he returned to Yale and to classes. The rest of the Elis will all spend at least a full week with their new teams because the AHL regular season does not end until this weekend.
For Matczak, Kearney, and Cahill, those extra games meant missing a full week of school.
“Luckily, I have a lot of downtime,” Matczak said. “So I’ve been able to keep up with most of the work.”
The five Elis have all signed amateur tryout contracts that expire at the end of their professional teams’ regular seasons this weekend. After that, they will return to Yale, graduate, and train over the summer.
“My plan is to go back to school and hopefully my play will catch the interest of someone,” Kearney said. “I’m hoping I can parlay the opportunity to showcase my skills at this level into a contract for next year.”
If Kearney and his former teammates become full-time athletes next year, they will compete against each other, former teammates such as Ryan Donald ’10 and Sean Backman ’10, and dozens of former NCAA opponents. Kearney, for one, is currently playing on a line alongside Cam Atkinson, whose Boston College team eliminated Yale from last year’s NCAA Tournament.
“It’s an overwhelming situation,” Martin said. “Obviously, I’ve played with other teams before, but I’ve been with Yale for four years and the core group there had played together all season. It’s tough to move on.”