Friendship Four preview: Yale University
In the second of our Friendship Four team previews, we take a look at the Yale University Bulldogs...
Having only played five games so far, there's not a great deal to go on for Yale, who have started their season a lot later than the rest of the teams in this year's Friendship Four. So far in this campaign, the Bulldogs have struggled to find any consistency as they've found it hard to string two wins together, with wins at Brown and Colgate either side of a defeat at Cornell, while their last two games have resulted in a tie with Harvard and a loss to Dartmouth.
A former Yale alumni himself, Allain was a netminder with the Bulldogs in the 1970s, and he spent two years in Sweden's Division 1 following that before calling time on a very short career. It's his coaching that has been the far more impressive side of his career, the 60-year old starting by returning to Yale as assistant coach in 1982 before moving back to Sweden to take up the head coach roles with Jarfalla and then Arlanda, while also serving as a scout for the Washington Capitals. That then led to a four-year role as assistant coach with the Caps in the early '90s, before being picked up by the St Louis Blues as goaltending coach in 1998. However, the lure of college hockey proved too strong for Allain, who took the head coach role at Yale in 2006 and has been there since, leading them to a national Championship in 2013.
Walsh has graduated to wear the "C" this season for Yale in his final campaign with the team on the blueline. Also capable of playing forward if necessary, the 23-year old is a two-way d-man who is called upon to quarterback the powerplay as part of Yale's special teams, the Illinois native likely to get plenty of ice time across the weekend.
Sam Tucker (1.50 GAA, .945 SAV)/Corbin Kaczperski (2.61, .904)
With it being so early in the season, it's hard to tell who is the preferred option between the pipes for Yale as both players have had similar game-time. In that small sample, Tucker has been the much better of the two as the stats very clearly suggest, but with two games in a short space of time, this tandem operation could work in Yale's favour if they need to use both across the tournament.
Jack St. Ivany (Defenseman)
Usually it's a high-scoring forward or a shut-down netminder who is a key player for a team, but St. Ivany has been exceptional for Yale so far this season as one-half of their top defensive pairing, showing strong work on the defensive side of the game and also stepping up to the fore on the offensive side of things too. Expect him to eat a lot of minutes on the ice.
Joe Snively (left wing) - 4 Goals, 5 Assists, 9 Points
Kevin O'Neil (right wing) - 1G, 5A, 6PTS
Curtis Hall (center) - 2G, 1A, 3PTS
Jack St Ivany (defenseman) - 1G, 2A, 3PTS
Dante Palecco (left wing) - 1G, 1A, 2PTS
NHL Entry Draft picks
D: Jack St Ivany (2018, round 4, #112, Philadelphia Flyers)
F: Curtis Hall (2018, round 4, #119, Boston Bruins)
F: Luke Stevens (2015, round 5, #126, Carolina Hurricanes)
D: Philip Kemp (2017, round 7, #208, Edmonton Oilers)
What have they said?
Anthony Walsh, captain and defenseman
"A lot of us have history here, my grandpa was from here, and my family have come over as well so they can experience it too. It's one of the biggest parts of this, coming over somewhere new and getting to see the culture which has been really awesome.
"We've started well but we want to do better, and I think we have been improving each week. We're just trying to work out some kinks at the moment but the more we play together, the more we're gelling.
"We're just excited to get going now, it'd be huge for us to win the trophy, it's obviously what we came for."
What should we expect?
As I said, Yale have only played five games so far, so for all we know those five results may not be an accurate representation of how good they are. While there have been plenty of reasons to be excited for the Bulldogs, they need a lot more scoring from outside of that first line of Snively, Hall and O'Neil - if they get it then they could be dark horses to win the Friendship Four.
Unfortunately, the fact that they haven't played as much as the other teams could leave them playing catch-up a bit, and their best chance at a win may come in Saturday's consolation match as opposed to against strong conference rivals Union.
Belfast Telegraph Digital