Tag Archive: M. Ice Hockey

  1. M. HOCKEY | O’Neill ’12 charts course in pro hockey


    Within the span of five days last week, men’s hockey captain Brian O’Neill ’12 shut the door on a storied Yale career and took a big first step in moving onto a new hockey challenge.

    O’Neill’s collegiate career ended with the Bulldogs’ loss to Harvard in the quarterfinals of the ECAC tournament on Sunday. But he moved toward his dream of playing in the National Hockey League when he signed a contract Thursday with the Los Angeles Kings. Already, he has made an impact with a game-winning goal in his debut for the Manchester, N.H., Monarchs, the Kings’ AHL affiliate, on Saturday.

    “Before I got to college I didn’t realize [professional hockey] was a possibility,” he said. “I had four years ahead of me, so I tried not to look that far ahead. After my junior year it became a goal of mine, and I’ve finally realized that goal.”

    O’Neill said he did not always consider himself an NHL prospect, but playing at Yale has improved his game and helped him prepare for the professional stage.

    The Kings first expressed interest in O’Neill after his junior season, but he returned to Yale for his final year. After the Elis bowed out of the ECAC tournament this season, the Kings got in touch again, and the two sides negotiated a contract for one year.

    O’Neill was shipped out to play last Thursday when he was assigned to the Monarchs. He played in two games over the weekend, the first of which resulted in a 3–1 win over the St. John’s Icecaps in Newfoundland, Canada.

    The away game was important for the Monarchs, who are in second place behind the Icecaps in the AHL’s Atlantic Division. O’Neill’s game-winning goal came 43 seconds into the third period of a 1–1 tie, and he said that scoring the game-winning goal was a “big relief.”

    “You want to help your team as quickly as possible, and I didn’t know if I was going to be able to make an impact right away,” he said.

    O’Neill is coming off a superb senior season with the Bulldogs. He notched a team-high 21 goals and 46 points and was named to the ECAC first team for the second consecutive season. O’Neill finished the season on a hot streak, receiving ECAC Player of the Month honors for both January and February and recording a combined 14 goals and 29 points during that span.

    O’Neill’s contributions, both on and off the ice, led to his appointment as team captain this season. Forward Antoine Laganiere ’13 added that O’Neill was an exemplary leader.

    “He was great, not only within the room but also with everything outside the team,” Laganiere said. “He was outgoing with all the parents and the fans and he never really got stressed out. It was a pleasure playing under him because you work hard, but you also have a good time doing it.”

    The season capped off an impressive statistical career that was a major factor in the resounding success of Yale hockey during O’Neill’s four years. During his time at Yale, O’Neill tallied 69 goals, and his 163 total points are second only to Jeff Hamilton ’01.

    He was an offensive force, who led the Bulldogs in goals scored the past two seasons and total points the last three seasons, on Yale teams that won two ECAC championships and received a bid to the NCAA tournament three times.

    O’Neill said he has been welcomed with open arms by the Monarchs’ organization and added that he was grateful for the opportunity to play right away with the team. While it’s difficult to project his prospects at this point, Yale teammate Kenny Agostino ’14 said he thinks O’Neill has a good shot at playing on an NHL team.

    “He’s a pure goal scorer in every sense of the word,” Agostino said. “He can score from anywhere on the ice. Everyone has hockey sense as you move up in professional hockey, but I think his work ethic and determination are really going to set him apart as he moves up.”

    Although O’Neill has moved on to professional hockey, he still may be spotted around campus for the duration of the semester. The reigning Ivy League Player of the Year said he will be making the three-hour commute to New Haven once or twice a week to meet with his professors and ensure that he can graduate in May.

    O’Neill said he wants to work on the mental aspects of his game while in Manchester.

    “I was fortunate to be in a good program at Yale that prepared me for professional hockey,” O’Neill said. “[In the AHL] everyone is so good physically that the way you can improve your game most is being mentally prepared, thinking through the game as fast as possible, which will help you have as much success as possible.”

  2. M. HOCKEY | Bulldogs fall to Harvard in ECAC quarterfinals

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    Postseason play is over for the men’s hockey team this season after a shocking 8–2 loss to rival Harvard in Game 3 of the ECAC quarterfinals on March 11.

    The Bulldogs (16–16–3, 10–10–2 ECAC) fell to Harvard (13–10–11, 8–5–9) in three games and squandered their only chance at a spot in the NCAA tournament. Because the team’s regular-season record did not warrant an at-large bid, failing to capture the ECAC title kept the Elis from their only other route to reach the NCAAs.

    The quarterfinal matchup against Harvard was a true battle of endurance, and the Elis were not able to keep pace with the Cantabs throughout the second half of the three-game matchup. Harvard came in well-rested with a first-round bye in the tournament, whereas Yale was coming off a weekend of three games against Princeton.

    Still, Yale battled it out into overtime for the first two games. The Elis took the first game 2–1 and lost the second by one goal in double overtime. But by Game 3, Yale had run out of steam, and Harvard handed the team a devastating 8–2 loss to end the series.

    “We were so physically and emotionally invested in [Game 2] that coming to the rink the next night, I think we were just physically and mentally worn,” forward Kenny Agostino ’14 said. “We just looked like we ran out of gas that last game.”

    Agostino was the hero of the opening victory with a goal about four minutes into the extra period. The New Jersey native has had a knack for clutch goals this season. Earlier in the year, Agostino gave Yale a 5–4 win over Dartmouth by scoring with only 34 seconds remaining. He then scored in the Bulldogs’ next contest against St. Lawrence with 35 seconds remaining to tie the game at three.

    Agostino said a combination of luck and strong play from his teammates has led to his success late in games this season.

    “I’ve been fortunate to get a couple of those goals, and a lot of it is being in the right place at the right time and getting some fortunate bounces,” he said. “Also, without Jesse Root [’14] driving the net, that overtime goal [against Harvard] wouldn’t have happened, so I have to give credit to my teammates.”

    In Game 2, the two sides went to overtime for the second straight night. But there would be no hero for the Elis this time as Harvard defenseman Dan Ford scored halfway through the second overtime period to give the Crimson a 4–3 victory.

    Yale had picked up an early lead in Game 2 and was in a great position to record a 2–0 sweep and advance to the semifinals. Colin Dueck ’13 and Chad Ziegler ’12 both recorded first-period goals and put Yale ahead 2–0 after 20 minutes of play.

    But after holding Harvard’s No. 1 nationally ranked power play scoreless in four attempts during the first period, the Elis’ penalty kill unraveled in the second to hand the lead over to the Crimson. The Cantabs scored on three straight power plays over the course of about 25 minutes and, with about nine minutes left on the clock, took a 3–2 lead. Forward Antoine Laganiere ’13 said he noticed a different power play approach from Harvard in Game 2.

    “After the first game they probably adjusted and I think on the power play they were trying to take more shots from the point,” he said. “We played a more defensive and conservative style and instead of trying to pass around and make the perfect play they just put the puck on net more and it worked.”

    Although they were down 3–2, the Elis were not done fighting. For the second straight night, Yale got a late, dramatic goal, but this time it was from Laganiere. The Elis had pulled goalie Nick Maricic ’13 from the net and, with 27 seconds left, the move paid off. Laganiere put in a rebound off a Clinton Bourbonais ’14 shot as he fell to the ice in the slot.

    The Bulldogs seemed to pick up steam in the two overtime periods and outshot the Cantabs 20–14. But Ford found the back of the net by corralling a rebound that nobody else could locate and firing the game-winner from the left circle.

    “I don’t think anyone in the building knew where it was,” head coach Keith Allain ’80 said in a press release after the game. “The puck got shot into a pile and it took half a second for it to come clear. It went right to the one guy who was facing the goal.”

    But in the third and final game of the series, Yale was completely outskated. After grabbing a 1–0 lead early in the first period, the Elis fell apart and allowed six straight Harvard goals. Star forward Alex Killorn led the charge with two goals and two assists in that stretch. Laganiere found the net for the Bulldogs on a third-period power play, but by then the game and the series were far out of reach, as Harvard ran away with an 8–2 win.

    The Bulldogs reached the quarterfinal matchup with Harvard by registering a 2–1 series win over Princeton (9–16–7, 6–12–4) in the opening round of the tournament the weekend before. The Blue and White outscored the Tigers 15–10 at Ingalls Rink, a statistic that belies the hard-fought nature of the series.

    In Game 1, the Elis defended a 3–2 lead for the entire third period and barely fought off the Tigers to record a 4–2 win, with an Antoine Laganiere ’13 empty-netter finishing off the Tigers with a minute remaining.

    The second game was another battle but went Princeton’s way as the Bulldogs fell just short in a 5–4 overtime loss. That game was marked by a wild third period — the Elis were down by two, but pulled back to tie the score twice with the help of three power-play goals and one shorthanded goal. The second comeback saw Yale, down 3–1 with eight minutes remaining, tally three goals to Princeton’s one to head into overtime with the game tied 4–4. Andrew Miller ’13 scored the game-tying goal on the power play with about two minutes remaining.

    But the comeback effort exhausted the Elis as Andrew Calof scored for Princeton just 33 seconds into the first overtime period to send the series to Game 3.

    After the disappointing end to Game 2, Yale stormed back in the deciding final game and recorded a 7–3 beatdown. Anthony Day ’15 scored twice, and Laganiere recorded a hat trick to lead the Bulldogs.

    Agostino said Yale was confident heading into the series against Harvard following the win.

    “We definitely felt good after Princeton,” Agostino said. “Whenever you can get that first series out of the way, you obviously feel good going forward.”

    In the ECAC semifinals, Harvard went on to upset Cornell with a 6–1 victory, while Union cruised past Colgate 6–2. In the championship game, Union won its first-ever ECAC postseason championship with a third-period comeback to record a 3–1 win against the Crimson.

  3. M. HOCKEY | Harvard ends Bulldogs’ season

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  4. M. HOCKEY | Elis win opening playoff series

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    An unlikely pair of forwards lifted the men’s hockey team to a huge victory over Princeton (9–16–7, 6–12–4 ECAC) in the deciding game of the Elis’ opening series of the ECAC playoffs. Antoine Laganiere ’13 and Anthony Day ’15 combined for five goals to lead the Yale offense to a 7–3 win over Princeton and into an ECAC quarterfinal date with archrival Harvard next weekend.

    In a tight series, the third and final game was much closer than the final score indicated. The two sides went back and forth all night as Princeton refused to be put away for most of the game.

    Still, early on it looked as though the game would be a blowout. The Bulldogs (15–14–3, 10–10–2) scored three times in the first 11 minutes to deflate the Tigers, who came in riding high after a thrilling 5–4 overtime win Saturday night.

    Day did his damage during this early assault. He kicked off the scoring about five minutes into the game. Standing at the left circle, Day took a pass from Kenny Agostino ’14, turned and fired a shot past Princeton goaltender Sean Bonar.

    After Laganiere put in his first of three goals with a shorthanded tally, Day struck again off of an assist from Agostino. A tumbling Day knocked in Agostino’s centering pass right in front of the goal crease.

    Day’s two goals Sunday matched his total for the entire regular season.

    The next five tallies saw the Ancient Eight foes go blow-for-blow. Princeton stayed in the game with a late goal in the first period, but Yale came right back and killed the Tigers’ momentum when Laganiere notched his second goal of the game.

    Princeton’s Andrew Calof rebounded with his second goal of the game to make the score 4–2. Calof scored twice on the Elis for three of the past four games.

    With three minutes remaining in the second frame, Laganiere took a puck in the right circle and moved into the slot. He then moved past a defender and fired quick shot to beat Bonar for a hat trick. Fans at Ingalls Rink threw a shower of hats on the ice accordingly.

    It appeared Princeton had taken its final punch ith the score at 5–2 going into the third period. But the Tigers had a little more fight left in them as Michael Sdao scored less than a minute into the final frame.

    The score remained at 5–3 for almost 17 minutes until the Bulldogs put pesky Princeton away for good. Captain Brian O’Neill ’12 hit a diving empty netter, and Clint Bourbonais ’14 scored Yale’s second power play goal of the night to send Yale home with the victory.

    Princeton continually fought back on the scoreboard, but the Tigers also got physics in refusal to go home without a fight. The Orange and Black committed ten infractions, and the Elis scored two power play goals in seven tries.

    The Tigers lost their tempers in the last two minutes, as they were called for four penalties after the 18 minute mark. With 1:58 left, Princeton defenseman Michael Sdao and Yale defenseman Gus Young ’14 were both ejected after Young provoked Sdao into checking him to the ice following the whistle.

    On the other side of special teams play, the Yale penalty kill looked as good as it has all season and will be crucial when the team travels to Harvard next weekend. Princeton went just 1–8 on the power play.

    Jeff Malcolm ’13 stepped up big in net for the Elis. Although he had not started since Feb. 11, Malcolm got the call tonight and made 27 saves. Although Maricic has played well down the stretch, Malcolm’s performance gives head coach Keith Allain ’80 something to think about for next weekend.

    The Bulldogs will travel to Cambridge next weekend to take on Harvard in a three-game series for a chance to advance to the ECAC semifinals in Atlantic City, N.J.

  5. M. HOCKEY | Elis clinch home ice

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    It’s playoff time.

    The men’s hockey team (13–13–3, 10–10–2 ECAC) beat Princeton and tied Quinnipiac over the weekend in its final regular season games and ensured it will play Princeton at home in the first round of the ECAC playoffs this weekend. The Bulldogs went 3–0–1 over their last four games and finished sixth in the 12-team ECAC. Forward Jesse Root ’14 said the team is happy to end the regular season on a high note, but remains cautious for the playoffs.

    “It’s great to build up momentum, but when the playoffs start, you start from scratch.” Root said. “These are a couple of big games, and they’ll be tough.”

    For the Bulldogs this weekend, it was a grizzled veteran who stepped up one night and a rising star who stepped up the next. The Elis cruised to a 5–2 victory over Princeton (8–14–7, 6–12–4) on Friday night behind a goal and three assists from captain Brian O’Neill ’12. Saturday, they battled Quinnipiac (17–11–6, 9–8–5) to a 2–2 draw behind two goals from forward Jesse Root ’14. to the rubber in traffic and found Root, who picked out Laganiere for his second of the game.

    “It was a gutsy team effort,” head coach Keith Allain ’80 said. “I thought we won each period, which is big on the road. We were opportunistic in transition and solid defensively, not allowing many opportunities.”on Bourbonais ’14 stole the puck from a Quinnipiac defenseman at the Bobcats’ blue line and fired a backhanded shot that Quinnipiac goalie Eric Hartzell stopped. Hartzell could not control the rebound, however, and Root swooped in for an easy finish.

    “[Bourbonais] did a great job taking it to the net and made a really smart play to just throw it off his pads,” Root said. “I was just trying to beat my guy up the ice. Luckily I did that, Clint made a great play and I had an open net.”

    With seven minutes remaining in the second period, Quinnipiac tied the score again on a beautifully executed power play while Laganiere’s penalty was still in effect.

    After the flurry of goals in the second period, the teams returned to a stalemate in the third. Quinnipiac controlled the pace of the game for most of the period and outshot Yale 15–5. With less than five minutes remaining, the Bobcats looked as though they were going to score when they went on a power play. Quinnipiac had moved the puck effortlessly against Yale with a man advantage all night, but the Bobcats could not capitalize on their scoring chances.

    In overtime, the Bulldogs recorded two shots on goal to Quinnipiac’s zero. Allain added that he was happy with the way the Bulldogs persisted in overtime.

    “I thought we were the stronger team in overtime, and that’s very important,” Allain said in a press release. “Our team has the skill and grit to beat anyone in the league. If our attention is there, and our focus is there, we will see [in the playoffs] if we are good enough.”

  6. M. HOCKEY | Bulldogs seek second straight sweep

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    Plenty is at stake for the men’s hockey team as it heads into the last two games of the regular season this weekend.

    Coming off their first winning streak since November, the Bulldogs (12–13–2, 9–10–1 ECAC) will try to keep their momentum rolling on the road against Princeton (8–13–6, 6–11–3) and Quinnipiac (16–11–5, 8–8–4) before the ECAC playoffs kick off on March 2. A pair of victories this weekend will at least give the Elis a shot at earning a first-round bye and home ice advantage in the playoffs.

    In order to secure a chance to open up the postseason at home, the Elis, currently tied for seventh place out of 12 teams in the ECAC with 19 points, must finish in the top four of the conference standings. But two victories alone, which would give the team 23 points, will not be enough to guarantee a top-four finish. The Bulldogs will also need their competitors — Colgate, Clarkson, Harvard and St. Lawrence — to lose their matches this weekend.

    Yale’s last trip to Princeton ended in a wild shootout in which the Elis barely emerged victorious. The Tigers jumped out to a three-goal lead in the first half of the opening frame, only to see the Bulldogs tie the score by the end of the period. The Blue and White prevailed 5–4.

    “[Princeton is] usually more of a run-and-gun team, but this year they’re more structured and play a more defensive style,” defenseman Gus Young ’14 said. “But our philosophy doesn’t change either way, we want to bring the game to them.”

    The key to this weekend’s action for the Bulldogs is their offense, which ranks seventh in the nation with 3.48 goals per game. In their last four victories, the Elis have averaged a stunning 5.5 goals per game.

    Last weekend, the Bulldogs outscored Ivy rivals Dartmouth and Harvard by a combined score of 12–4 and showed a deadly transition offense that has been missing from their game all season long.

    Defenseman Kevin Peel ’12 said an aggressive offensive game plan will be especially important against Quinnipiac on Saturday. The Bobcats bested the Bulldogs 2–1 at Ingalls Rink in January.

    “[Quinnipiac is] solid defensively, so we need to think shoot-first all the time,” Peel said. “The more pucks we put on net, the better chance we’re going to have at scoring enough goals to win. We didn’t do that last time we played them, and that’s how they were able to beat us.”

    The Bobcats’ defense is ranked 13th in Division I hockey, surrendering just 2.47 goals per game. But even more impressively, the Quinnipiac penalty-killing unit ranks third in the country, one spot ahead of Yale.

    In their last seven losses, the Elis converted just three of their 28 power play opportunities.

    “It’s going to be very important to get a strong showing from our power play this weekend,” Peel said. “You’ve got to take advantage of that situation if you want to win. They have a very good penalty kill, but if we keep it simple and stick to what’s been working for us, I’m confident that we will be successful.”

    The Bulldogs went a combined 6-for-18 on power plays last weekend against the Big Green and the Crimson, which raised their season average to 23.8 percent.

    On Saturday night, the Blue and White will likely face a hostile horde against Quinnipiac at TD Bank Sports Center, where a sold-out crowd last season tried in vain to faze the Elis. Young said the team is excited to take on the unfriendly atmosphere.

    “It should be fun,” Young said. “We’re pretty pumped. They’ll have a lot of students, and it’s going to be fun to play in front of them.”

    The puck drops at 7 p.m. on Friday at Princeton and 7 p.m. again the next night at Quinnipiac.

  7. M. HOCKEY | Elis blast Ivy foes

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    In the last regular season homestand of their career, the seniors of the men’s hockey team went out in high fashion.

    The Bulldogs (12–13–2, 9–10–1 ECAC) showcased the dynamic offense for which they are known. The team clinched a 5–3 win over Dartmouth (10–13–4, 7–10–3) on Friday night before throttling archrival Harvard (8–7–11, 6–4–9) 7–1 the next day. With the ECAC playoffs fast approaching, the wins launched the Elis into a tie with St. Lawrence for seventh place in the conference.

    Head coach Keith Allain ’80 said the two games combined showed the team at its full potential.

    “I think it’s been our best weekend of the year, certainly at home,” he said. “To get the sweep was big, and we go on the road feeling pretty good about ourselves.”

    Dartmouth tied the game at 1–1 six minutes into the second period. But Brian O’Neill ’12 struck back and gave the Elis a 2–1 advantage less than a minute later. After receiving a pass from Colin Dueck ’13, O’Neill put the puck past Mello and raised his hand in triumph before the rink’s audience completely realized what had happened.

    “[Dueck] got the puck out to me, and I had all day,” O’Neill said. “If you make a decent shot, it’s going to go in.”

    But with just four minutes remaining in the second frame, Dartmouth caught Yale off-guard with a counterattack and tied the game up at two.

    With the game hanging in the balance going into the third period, the Yale power play caught fire at the perfect time. Within the first five minutes of the final period, the Elis notched two power-play goals to take a 4–2 lead. The first goal came just two minutes into the frame on a perfectly executed power play. O’Neill picked out Jesse Root ’14 standing in the right circle and served up the puck. Root took a slap shot that found the roof of the net and claimed a 3–2 lead the Bulldogs would not relinquish.

    The team scored a second-straight power-play goal just two minutes later off Ziegler, which gave Yale some breathing room. The team’s performance with a man-advantage marked improvement over last weekend, when the Elis scored only once off of 13 power plays.

    Although Dartmouth pulled within one with 10 minutes remaining, the Elis finished off the Big Green with nine seconds left when Peel scored an empty-netter, and the Big Green went home defeated.

    coring three goals in the opening period, the Bulldogs dominated the tempo of Saturday’s game against Harvard from the beginning. The smackdown continued throughout as Yale racked up seven points to outmatch the Cantabs’ one. O’Neill notched three assists, and Agostino finished with two goals and two assists.

    Nearly nine minutes into the game, O’Neill gave the sold-out crowd at Ingalls Rink a lesson on puck handling. As Yale’s first power play wound down, the forward sprinted into the slot while fending off three defenders. O’Neill then quickly passed the puck to Antoine Laganiere ’13 for the opening goal.

    The Elis kept their red-hot offense rolling less than a minute later. Agostino skated down the right side of the rink and sent the puck across the ice to Andrew Miller ’13, who squeezed the puck into the net to widen the Elis’ lead to 2–0. Agostino said the Bulldogs’ ability to move the puck from defense to offense was responsible for much of their success over the weekend.

    “Transition hockey is so big in college hockey, and we capitalized on transitions numerous times,” Agostino said. “That’s how we got a lot of our goals this weekend.”

    With less than two minutes left in the opening period, Harvard struggled to set up its offense in front the Yale net, which allowed Agostino to slip behind the Crimson defense unnoticed. Laganiere sent the puck to a wide-open Agostino for the easy breakaway goal.

    In a desperate attempt to maximize its scoring chances, the Crimson pulled its goaltender off the ice in exchange for an extra skater with less than a minute to go in the opening frame. The gamble led to two concurrent penalties for Yale and set up a five-on-three power play goal for Harvard just 23 seconds into the second period.

    But the Bulldogs answered a minute and a half later as forward Kevin Limbert ’12 scored on a breakaway to give the Elis a 4–1 lead. Allain said Limbert’s goal was a pivotal moment in the game.

    “For us to answer the way we did was huge,” Allain said. “When they scored it was a potential for the momentum and the game to slip into their favor, but I think with Limbert’s goal, we put our hands right around it again.”

    Tempers flared as the Crimson players increasingly favored an aggressive playing style. In a span of three minutes, the referees whistled seven penalties, five of which they assigned to the Cantabs. The Crimson finished the game with 13 penalties, while the Bulldogs had eight.

    Agostino took advantage of the chaos and scored an unassisted power play goal 8:48 into the second period, which put the Elis ahead by 5–1.

    Limbert said better awareness around the net led to the Bulldogs’ high-flying attack.

    “People are putting the extra effort in and making a solid tape-to-tape pass, and the receiver on the other hand is ready to shoot the puck,” he said. “I think everyone is making crisp passes and is ready to release the puck as soon as it’s on their stick.”

    With 1:29 left in the game, Limbert tallied his second goal of the night off a rebound from Matt Killian ’15. One minute later, Agostino fed fellow forward Day for the freshman’s first collegiate goal.

    The Elis will be back in action next weekend when they travel to Princeton and Quinnipiac for their final regular-season contests of 2012.

  8. M. HOCKEY | Bulldogs angle for home-ice advantage

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    The Bulldogs (10–13–2, 7–10–1 ECAC) could be playing their last home games of the season when they take on Dartmouth and Harvard on Friday and Saturday. After this weekend’s homestand, the Elis will finish up the regular season next weekend when they travel to Princeton and Quinnipiac.

    But a few more games in front of the Ingalls crowd are not yet entirely out of the question. The top four teams in the ECAC get first-round byes in the postseason tournament, but this advantage is unlikely for the Bulldogs. Instead, Yale is likely to finish in the bottom eight of the ECAC. The four teams which comprise the upper half of the bottom eight each play a three-game home series against one of the bottom four teams. Currently, the Bulldogs are in eighth place, which would barely qualify them to host a first-round series at Ingalls against the team that finishes in ninth. Whether or not the Elis maintain home ice advantage depends on the team’s success over the next two weekends.

    “It’s huge to get home ice advantage, not only because of the fans, but also because if we get home ice advantage we will have won most of the next four games, which will give us some good momentum going into the playoffs,” forward Antoine Laganiere ’13 said.

    Yale is coming off a hard-fought but frustrating 0–2 weekend against top-notch ECAC competition. The Bulldogs traveled to upstate New York last weekend and took on Colgate and Cornell, falling 4–2 on consecutive nights. The Elis played solid hockey in both games and actually outshot the Raiders and the Big Red by a combined 69–53 margin.

    “[Last weekend] was terribly frustrating, especially Colgate,” Laganiere said. “I thought we played better than them the whole game. We got a couple bad bounces, including a late one at the end to break the tie. That seems to be the story of the year.“

    Although Yale’s offense created enough pressure to succeed last weekend, the Elis could not take advantage of enough goal-scoring opportunities to outpace the high-powered Colgate and Cornell offenses. This included a woeful 1–13 performance on the power play over the course of the two games, continuing a trend that has plagued the team since the start of the second semester. Prior to the Elis’ Jan. 14 matchup against St. Lawrence, they had gone 19–67 with a man-advantage, good for a 28 percent conversion rate that put them as high as second in the nation in that category. But since that game, they have scored just six goals in 45 power plays, a paltry 13 percent mark.

    However, the power play might lose its significance if this weekend’s games go anything like the team’s last matchups against Dartmouth and Harvard did. Three weeks ago when the Bulldogs traveled to take on the two Ivy League foes, they only went on the power play three times and converted once. Laganiere remarked that although the Harvard game was fairly clean overall, he thought the low amount of power plays was likely a coincidence.

    The Elis first skate against the Big Green (9–12–4, 6–9–3) on Friday. Dartmouth gave Yale a run for its money when the teams last played on Jan. 28. After heading into the second period down 4–1, the Bulldogs stormed back and captured a 5–4 victory when forward Kenny Agostino ’14 scored with 34 seconds remaining. With the two teams deadlocked at 15 points apiece in the ECAC standings, Friday’s game will be strongly contested.

    Although the Dartmouth game will be televised on NBC Sports Network, Saturday’s game against Harvard (8–7–10, 6–4–8) will likely be the game to watch. Aside from the rivalry, the game will give the Elis a chance to put a serious dent in the five points separating the two teams in the ECAC standings.

    The most interesting matchup on the ice this weekend is between Harvard forward Alex Killorn and Yale captain Brian O’Neill ’12. The two are almost identical statistically and have each led their respective teams offensively. Although O’Neill has tallied 17 goals to Killorn’s 16, Killorn leads O’Neill in points, 31 to 30. Like O’Neill, Killorn has been a force to reckon with on the power play. He has notched eight power-play goals through 25 games, just two fewer than O’Neill’s Division I high of 10. Laganiere, who played with Killorn at Deerfield Academy prior to Yale, said that despite their similar numbers, the two players have distinct playing styles.

    “They’re two hard-working players, two very skilled players,” Laganiere said. “I think O’Neill is a little grittier and works harder. Obviously, it’s been a couple years since I played with Killorn, but from what I remember he’s very skilled and dangerous when he’s on the puck, but when he doesn’t have the puck I think it’s to O’Neill’s advantage.”

    Last time the two sides met, Killorn had the upper hand. The senior from Quebec scored twice, including the game-winner with just 1:19 left to play. Still, O’Neill made it interesting by scoring a goal in the first period that gave the Bulldogs a 2–1 lead. Whether or not O’Neill or Killorn has the hot hand on Saturday could give either team an advantage.

    For the Bulldogs, the goalie situation remains unclear. After Jeff Malcolm ’13 and Nick Maricic ’13 had alternated in net for three consecutive weeks, Connor Wilson ’15 made the trip last weekend and saw action in the Cornell game. At this point, it is reasonable to expect to see any of the Elis’ three goaltenders between the pipes.

    The Bulldogs will kick things off at 7:40 p.m. on Friday against Dartmouth and round out the weekend when the puck drops at 7 p.m. for Saturday night’s game against Harvard.

  9. M. HOCKEY | Bulldogs drop two games on road

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    Sometimes, having an advantage in shots on goal does not translate into victory.

    In suffering back-to-back 4–2 losses against Colgate (17–10–3, 11–6–1) and No. 13 Cornell (13–6–6, 10–3–5) on the road, the men’s hockey team (10–13–2, 7–10–1 ECAC) learned this lesson the hard way this weekend. The Bulldogs outshot the Raiders 35–28 and the Big Red 34–25 but could not outscore their opponents. With four games left before the ECAC playoffs, the losses dropped the Elis into a tie with Dartmouth for eighth place in the conference.

    “We came out with two losses, but those were very winnable games,” forward Kenny Agostino ’14 said. “We feel encouraged going into the playoffs.” ,” Agostino said. “Against Colgate, I really thought we were the better team.”

    Despite skating neck-and-neck with the Raiders for 60 minutes, the Bulldogs failed to convert several golden opportunities and went just 1–5 on the power play.

    Just three and a half minutes into the first period, Colgate struck for an early power-play goal. Six seconds after forward Charles Brockett ’12 went to the box for hooking, Colgate’s Corbin McPherson sent a weak shot through traffic that beat Jeff Malcolm ’13 and gave the Raiders an early lead.

    “We worked very hard tonight and created a lot of chances,” head coach Keith Allain ’80 said. “We were close, but still not running on all cylinders.”

    The Elis kept it competitive in the second period and managed to knot things up with about 10 minutes remaining. Yale was given a power play when Colgate’s Chris Wagner was penalized for tripping. On the ensuing man-advantage, forward Antoine Laganiere ’13 one-timed a pass from Jesse Root ’14 into the back of the Colgate net.

    But Yale’s fifth and final penalty of the night gave the Raiders an opening that they jumped at with about five minutes remaining in the period. A long Colgate shot bounced off the boards and, after a scramble in front of the net, popped out to a waiting Colgate forward who banged it home for the 2–1 lead.

    “I think if we had gotten more traffic [in front of the net] and more screen plays, we might have been able to capitalize on our scoring opportunities.” Root said.

    Yale tied things up again with another rebound off the boards behind the net. Defenseman Tommy Fallen ’15 took a long shot that fell to Brian O’Neill ’12 on the left side of the net. He tapped it in for his 16th goal of the season.

    But the Raiders struck back. Off of a faceoff, a failed Yale clearance ended up on the stick of Thomas Larkin, who moved the puck to Lidgett for his second goal of the night.

    After Allain pulled Malcolm from the net, the man-advantage created two opportunities for the Elis to score. But the Bulldogs could not find the net, and Smith, a favorite for the Hobey Baker Award, put one away to seal the 4–2 victory for Colgate., this time in front of a sold out Lynah Rink, allowing the Big Red to clinch the Ivy League title.

    Despite finishing with the same score, Saturday’s matchup with Cornell looked much different than the game against Colgate on Friday. During that game, the Elis were able to keep pace with the Raiders in the goal column throughout all three periods. But on Saturday, Yale fell behind early and faced a four-goal deficit until only five minutes remained in the game.

    Still, Allain said he was still impressed with the team’s efforts.

    “I’m real proud of the way we hung in there tonight,” he said. “We battled back against some adversity on road. The bottom line is we had to work way too hard for goals, while theirs came much too easily.”

    For the third game in a row, the Elis gave up a goal in the first five minutes to fall into an early hole. Forward Sean Collins scored his first goal of the period from the left circle on a slap shot. He followed up with another goal from the same spot with just three minutes remaining in the period.

    About five minutes into the second period, Locke Jillson took a shorthanded attempt from the top of the right circle that found its way into the Yale net. Following the goal, Allain pulled Malcolm for Connor Wilson ‘15, who made his collegiate debut.

    Wilson was thrown into the fire right away. Just two minutes after being put on the ice, Cornell’s John McCarron grabbed a rebound off a Wilson save and put it in with about 12 minutes remaining in the period.

    “Cornell is a tough place for a goalie who hasn’t had a whole lot of experience to play,” Root said. “[Wilson] did a great job of stepping in last night and I think that definitely energized us. We were kind of slow to start off the game and that send us the message that we need to get going.”

    In the final period, the Bulldogs outshot the Big Red 15–2, but it took them almost 16 minutes to get the puck across the goal line.

    Nick Jaskowiak ’12 finally broke through with a slap sho, his second goal of the year.

    The Bulldogs struck again with 51 seconds remaining to pull within two. After a pass from Fallen, O’Neill scored his second goal in two nights and 17th of the year by putting one over Cornell’s Andy Iles’ shoulder.

    “I think in our next couple of games, we need to be much more consistent in all three phases of our games,” Root said. “We need to play more confidently and take the pressure off.”

    The Elis will be back in Ingalls Rink for the regular season finale next weekend to take on Dartmouth and Harvard. The games begin at 7 p.m. on Friday and Saturday.

  10. M. HOCKEY | Elis feel growing pains


    Last Friday’s loss against St. Lawrence was characteristic of how the hockey team has played this season, but Saturday’s victory against Clarkson might indicate that things are on their way up.

    The team played a strong first period Friday but was outskated in the second and fell into a 3–1 hole. In the third period, the Bulldogs picked things up and managed to tie the game with just 34 seconds remaining. But with the crowd’s hopes running high, the Elis gave up a power play goal two minutes into overtime, which caused at least one Yale skater to smash his stick and sent the Yale fans into the night shaking their heads.

    Friday’s game was emblematic of the Bulldogs’ entire season — two periods of great play, ruined by 20 sluggish minutes and a bad break in overtime. Such inconsistent performances have led to the team’s 10–11–2 overall record and its seventh place standing in the ECAC.

    At this point, the Bulldogs will need to make a run in an ECAC postseason tournament filled with strong teams if they are to earn a bid to the same NCAA Tournament in which they were the favorites last year.

    After a season in which the Bulldogs earned their first ever national No. 1 ranking and held it for two months, anything short of a conference title and an appearance in the Frozen Four was going to disappoint the Yale faithful this year. But with the team in the bottom half of the conference, and its NCAA hopes hanging in the balance, many Yale fans have been left scratching their heads and wondering what has gone wrong.

    In reality, this is not the same team fans saw last year. Last year’s group set the bar high, but nine of the players who made that success possible graduated in May. Forward Charles Brockett ’12 said the Class of 2011 was a big asset to the program.

    “They were an unbelievable group of guys, both talent-wise and leadership wise,” Brockett said. “They did a great job of leading by example. That’s apparent in the fact that seven or eight of them play professional hockey right now.”

    On the defensive side, the most painful departure may have been goaltender Ryan Rondeau ’11. Rondeau entered the season as a question mark with little experience, but the Albertan proved superb all season and ended up first in the nation in shutouts with six, second in goals against average at 1.92 and third in save percentage at .928.

    Jeff Malcolm ’13, another player who entered the season without much experience, has taken to the net in Rondeau’s stead. Unlike Rondeau last year, however, Malcolm has not been a consistent shot-stopper. Recording three straight shutouts in November against Colgate, RPI and Union, Malcolm came out of the gate on fire. But this year’s netminder, also from Alberta, has cooled off since then. He has posted a 3.36 goals against average since the team’s 4–0 win over Union on Nov. 12.

    But the defense in front of the goal has also taken a hit. The team graduated three defensemen last year, each of whom played at least 34 games. The group included the team’s captain Jimmy Martin ’11. Allain filled those gaps with four players, three freshman and Gus Young ’14, who played only five games last season.

    Perhaps the most noticeable change to observers has been the offense. Last year’s high-octane attack skated circles around opponents, scoring 100 goals through the team’s first 23 games. This year’s team has tallied just 78 goals through as many contests, nearly one goal fewer per game.

    The most obvious explanation is the loss of three of the team’s top four goal-scorers. Broc Little ’11, Denny Kearney ’11 and Chris Cahill ’11 scored 19, 16 and 15 goals respectively, behind only current captain Brian O’Neill ’12, who tallied 20.

    Last year’s team thrived off depth, with its top six forwards combining for 234 points. But this year’s team has been inconsistent past the first line. The top six forwards have combined for just 122 points thus far.

    Last year’s team could rely on its older players almost exclusively, and Agostino was the only freshman who saw regular ice time. Allain has consistently rotated five freshmen through the lineup this season, and although the Class of 2015 has been brilliant at times, the squad has been less consistent from top to bottom.

    O’Neill said the transition to a younger lineup has hit speed bumps, although the team is improving.

    “We have a lot of younger players that are getting acclimated to our style of play and that takes time,” O’Neill said. “But we’re starting to gel as a team, and we’re getting more comfortable on the ice.”

    The good news is that the season is not over yet. After Friday night’s disheartening loss to St. Lawrence, the Elis got back on the ice and played one of their strongest games this season against Clarkson, a team higher in the ECAC standings than St. Lawrence. The Bulldogs thumped the Golden Knights 5–1 in front of a sold-out Ingalls Rink. Although Yale fell behind 1–0 just two minutes into the game, the Elis bounced back and scored five straight behind solid goalkeeping from Malcolm. After the game, forward Andrew Miller ’13 said that the win could give the Elis some much needed momentum.

    Winning a postseason tournament is all about getting hot at the right time. Although this season has not gone according to plan so far, and time is running short, there is still a long way to go for the men’s hockey team.

    “For the past couple weeks, we’ve put together one really good game, and one night that hasn’t gone our way,” Brockett said. “Coming out and making sure that we’re consistent not only this weekend but also heading into the last two weeks of the season is extremely important heading into the postseason.”

    The Bulldogs have six games remaining before the ECAC tournament, which begins March 2.

  11. M. HOCKEY | Mixed results for Bulldogs

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    It was a tale of two teams for men’s hockey this weekend. After a frustrating 4–3 overtime loss to St. Lawrence (10–15–3, 6–9–1 ECAC) on Friday, the Bulldogs bounced back in a big way with a 5–1 thumping of Clarkson (13–12–5, 7–6–3) on Saturday.

    Center Andrew Miller ’13 said it was an important win for the team.

    “It was a big difference from [Friday] night,” Miller said. “[Friday] night was a tough game for us, and to win one at home in front of our home crowd was a lot of fun. Winning by a 5–1 margin, it’s big for our team.”

    Continuing a recent trend, head coach Keith Allain ’80 put Jeff Malcolm ’13 in between the pipes after giving Nick Maricic ’13 the start on Friday. The move did not seem to pay dividends early on, as the Elis allowed the game’s first goal just two minutes into the opening period. But Malcolm was able to shake it off and keep the Golden Knights off the scoreboard the rest of the way.

    “I just try to focus on the next save,” Malcolm said. “You get a bad bounce like that … you just come back and concentrate on the next save, and after that you … get in a rhythm.”

    Clarkson got on the scoreboard when forward Allan McPherson brought the puck from behind the net and attempted a wraparound, only to be stuffed by Malcolm. But the Canadian netminder was unable to corral the rebound before McPherson popped it in the net to put the Golden Knights up by one.

    However, the Elis evened up the score just four minutes later. After some nice puck movement in the offensive zone, defenseman Tommy Fallen ’15 ended up with the rubber at the point. Clarkson goalie Paul Karpowich saved his shot, but the rebound fell to the right side of the net. Waiting there was Miller who grabbed it, made a move around the keeper and put it in for his fifth goal of the year.

    The second period was all Brian O’Neill ’12 as the Elis turned the 1–1 tie into a 3–1 advantage. The captain and forward was recently named the January ECAC Player of the Month and defended his title in the middle frame.

    He got the party started just one minute into the period with his ninth power play goal of the season, tying him for first in the nation in that category. After taking a pass from Jesse Root ’14, O’Neill cut between two defensemen and beat Karpowich handily.

    His second tally of the period came with only two minutes remaining. A great find from Miller, who recorded his second point of the night, set O’Neill up for the easy goal. Standing at the right circle, Miller picked out O’Neill, who was moving toward net on the edge of the left circle. Karpowich was helpless as O’Neill finished for the 3–1 lead.

    “I really hadn’t seen him before, but when I turned he was calling for it and streaking to the net,” Miller said.

    The Bulldogs and Knights went back and forth for the first 40 minutes, with the Blue and White holding a narrow 22–20 advantage in shots on goal after two periods. But the Elis closed out the last half of the third period in dominating fashion.

    With 8:03 left in the game, forward Antoine Laganiere ’13 skated down the middle of the ice sandwiched between two defenders. Although Karpowich blocked his shot, the ensuing chaotic scramble in front of the net allowed winger Kenny Agostino ’14 to notch his 10th goal of the season.

    Eighteen seconds later, the Bulldogs put the game completely out of reach for the Golden Knights.

    Off the edge of the crease, center Clinton Bourbonais ’14 took advantage of another scramble in front of the Clarkson goal for the final tally of the night. The Bulldogs outshot the Knights 33–28, and Malcolm finished with 27 saves, likely earning himself another start when the Elis travel to Colgate on Friday.

    Malcolm’s big night came one day after the loss to St. Lawrence, a back-and-forth game in which the Elis seemed poised for another come-from-behind victory. But a controversial penalty gave St. Lawrence a man-advantage in the sudden-death overtime and allowed the Saints to escape with a 4–3 win when they scored just 15 seconds into the power play.

    Although fans and players alike were visibly upset after the boarding call against forward Antoine Laganiere ’13, A and a half minutes into the action, the Bulldogs found a golden scoring opportunity as two St. Lawrence players were sent into the penalty box. But the Yale offense could not take advantage of the five-on-three opportunity, finishing the opening frame 0 for 3 on the power play.

    “I didn’t think we did a good enough job on that [power play],” Allain said. “I thought that killed a little bit of our momentum.”

    Through the first half of the opening frame, the Elis dominated puck possession and generated consistent offensive pressure on the Saints, who were being outshot 10–2 at one point. The relentless attack paid off for the Elis 11:09 into the game.

    Laganiere took the puck behind the St. Lawrence net and quickly skated into the right circle, firing off a shot before St. Lawrence goalie Matt Weninger could react.

    But the momentum shifted in favor of St. Lawrence during the last half of the first period as the Saints kept the puck on Yale’s side of the ice for most of the time. Making things even more frustrating were a few exceptional saves by St. Lawrence’s Weninger.

    With under 3:30 remaining before the first intermission, Yale goalie Maricic could not cover up the puck after two quick scoring attempts by the Saints at point-blank range. Taking advantage of the chaos in front of the net, winger Greg Carey tied the game at 1–1.

    The Yale offense was anemic throughout the second period as the Saints overtook the Elis in shots on goal, 26–19. Two minutes and 14 seconds into the period, the Saints’ Jacob Drewiske found a hole in the Bulldogs’ defense and ripped one past Maricic, giving the Saints their first lead of the game.

    Eight minutes later, St. Lawrence struck again.

    Maricic blocked a shot by the Saints and knocked the puck into the air. As the goalie fell down in front of the net, the puck fell between him and a wide-open net, allowing Chris Martin to widen the lead to 3–1.

    But the Bulldogs came roaring back in the final 20 minutes of the game.

    Eight minutes and six seconds into the final frame, Kevin Limbert ’12 took possession of the puck behind the net and found a waiting Chad Ziegler ’12 waiting off the edge of the crease. Ziegler punched in the puck to cut the deficit to 3–2.

    The Saints’ defense held off wave after wave of assault but finally cracked with less than a minute left in regulation.

    As the game clock wound down, the Bulldogs launched a final counterattack. As Laganiere skated down the right side of the rink, he found an undefended Agostino across the ice. The junior winger quickly passed the puck, allowing Agostino to tie the game with just 34.2 seconds remaining in regulation.

    “On that game-tying goal, he got a nice pass across the ice, and he did a good job finding some net on the short,” Allain said.

    However, the Elis could not keep the momentum going into overtime. Two minutes and nine seconds into the extra period, Laganiere was called for a questionable boarding penalty and sent into the box. Fifteen seconds after the penalty started, Carey fired off a slap shot from the right circle to give the Saints the win.

    After taking three points with the win over Clarkson, the Elis stand at seventh in the ECAC. The Bulldogs will travel to Colgate and Cornell next weekend to play two of the conference’s top teams.