Yale hockey season opens Saturday night against Sacred Heart

Yale and UConn will each take part in the Friendship Four in Ireland next fall. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri)

NEW HAVEN, CT – The new edition of Yale men’s hockey is on display for the first time this Saturday night at 7 when the Bulldogs open the 2016-17 campaign by hosting Sacred Heart. The game airs live on the Ivy League Digital Network and is the first of 15 regular-season games at Ingalls Rink.


The last matchup between Yale and Sacred Heart came on Nov. 13, 2013, at Ingalls Rink, a 5-1 win by the home team that included a 42-23 edge in shots in favor of the Elis.


The pre-season ECAC Hockey Media Poll picked Yale fourth. The Bulldogs have been ranked among the top 20 in the uscho.com poll since it began a few weeks ago, while Yale has also received votes for the USA Today/USA Hockey Magazine Poll.


Yale was 5-4-2 early and then went 14-5-2 the rest of the way for a 19-9-4 overall mark and a No. 10 national ranking. The Blue grabbed a share of the Ivy title and took second place in ECAC Hockey. The Elis were 7-4-2 against ranked teams and had the No. 1 ranked defense with a 1.74 average goals allowed.


The Elis began official practices on Oct. 7 and then skated last Saturday at Princeton’s Baker Rink in scrimmages against both Brown and the Tigers. Freshman forward Mitchell Smith had two goals while captain John Hayden, senior Frankie DiChiara and junior Ryan Hitchcock all found the net once. Junior defenseman Adam Larkin and freshmen forwards Evan Smith and Chandler Lindstrand all had helpers. Sophomores Charlie Curti (D) and Joe Snively (F) combined for five assists. Senior Patrick Spano, sophomore Sam Tucker and freshman Corbin Kaczperski all had time between the pipes.


Sacred Heart is the only Atlantic Hockey team on this year’s Yale schedule. The Elis, who have four straight wins vs. AH teams, did not face one last year, but they did register shutouts against Holy Cross and RIT in 2014-15.


The Bulldogs and Pioneers have met four times since the first encounter in 2009, an 8-2 Yale win at New Haven. Yale has a 3-1 lead and has outscored SHU 24-11 combined.


The Pioneers broke open a close game last Sunday with five goals in the third period to pull out a 6-3 win at AIC to impove their record to 2-3-1. SHU, which began last weekend with a loss to Boston University on the road, had a 4-4 OT tie with Union at Bridgeport earlier this season. The leading scorers for the Pioneers are seniors Evan Jasper (4-1-5), who had two goals against AIC, Jeff Carroll (1-3-4) and Justin Danforth (1-3-4), while sophomore goalie Brett Magnus has all the decisions in goal, registering a 3.81 GAA and a .891 SP.


For a second straight year, Yale was among the least penalized teams in the country in 2015-16 with a 7.7-minute average. When they took penalties, there was good coverage on special teams; the Elis led the nation on the penalty kill (94.4).


The essence of John Hayden’s impact on the Yale team was on display in one scoring sequence last season at Arizona State. The Yale forward, who led the Elis with 16 goals and five game-winners (4th in nation), blasted a Sun Devils defenseman with the puck in the slot and sent him sliding back into the goalie while Hayden grabbed the puck and flicked it top shelf. Hayden had the best season of his career last winter. He was one of Yale’s top scorers the year before despite missing a few games to serve as alternate captain for the U.S. National Junior Team at the IIHF World Junior Championships. Hayden gets much of his inspiration from the memory of former HoneyBaked (AAA Club) teammate, the late Ian Jenkins, a goalie whose motto was “Have a Purpose” (HAP). Hayden and others are currently organizing fundraising events to raise money for the Big “E” Have a Purpose Foundation. The Greenwich, Conn., native, a third round draft pick by the Chicago Blackhawks, has a HAP 35 logo on his stick and wore a sticker on his helmet when he was with the U.S. National Development Program. Hayden has plenty of Team USA experience, including winning a silver medal at the 2013 IIHF U-18 World Championships in Sochi, Russia.


“We’ve had a productive pre-season, and it’s obvious that guys put in a lot of work over the summer. We’re looking forward to the official season and ultimately winning championships.”


Sophomore forward Ryan Hitchcock, who had 14 points in 22 games last season, helped Team USA to a bronze medal at the 2016 IIHF World Juniors in Finland. The U.S. team beat Sweden 8-3 to grab third place. Hitchcock, the third line left wing for the U.S. squad and the eighth Bulldog to play in this tournament, played in every game while becoming the first Eli to earn a medal at the world juniors.


Joe Snively was the 2015-16 ECAC Hockey and Ivy League Rookie of the Year after leading the Blue with 28 (10-18) points. He earned two conference rookie of the week honors and was January’s ECAC Rookie of the Month. The Herndon, Va., native scored a goal against Dartmouth that was the No. 1 highlight on the NCAA Plays of the Week, while he enjoyed a career-high, three-point night. His 28 points were the most for an Eli rookie since Andrew Miller ’13 had 34 in 2009-10. Snively, the former USHL (Sioux City) star, has a pair of two-goal games (UMass, Harvard). His second of the night at Boston on Nov. 6, 2015, tied the game with under a minute to play. He was 8th among Division I rookies with .96 points per game.


Yale was 9-3-2 on the road last year and 3-1-1 in neutral site games… After missing five straight games, forward Chris Izmirlian roared back with six points over the last five games… Yale was 10-1-2 when scoring first… Blueliners accounted for 11 goals… Yale’s longest win streak last year was eight games, the longest active Division I streak at the time. The longest under Keith Allain was 11 during the 2010-11 season…Yale went 12 straight years (2003-04) without sweeping both Clarkson and SLU until last winter.


Yale came from behind to tie Harvard for first place in the Ivy League. The Feb. 26 Yale win at Princeton secured Yale’s seventh Ivy title under Keith Allain.


The Yale roster includes players from 11 different states and two provinces. There are four players from both Massachusetts and Minnesota while Michigan and Ontario each have three. Connecticut, New York and New Jersey also have a pair. All-time Yale hockey rosters have included players from 30 different states.


This winter the Bulldogs average 6-feet in height and 188 pounds.


The United States Hockey League contributed 15 players to the Bulldog roster, the most by any league. Here is a breakdown: USHL – 15… Prep/High School – 4… EJHL – 2… BCHL – 2…USNDT – 2… NAHL – 2


The Bulldogs have six seniors (29 goals last year), including four forwards, a defenseman and a goalie. There are five juniors (10), seven sophomores (22), and nine newcomers.

filed by Steve Conn, Yale Associate AD & Sports Publicity Director – steven.conn@yale.edu

SportzEdge.com provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Commenters who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s