Union-Yale ECAC Hockey semifinals pregame report
Good evening from Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City, N.J., when Union seeks another ECAC Hockey tournament championship as it faces Yale in the semifinals.
The 18th-ranked Dutchmen (19-12-5) won their first Whitelaw Cup last season when they beat Colgate in the semifinals and Harvard in the final. Union was the top seed last year. But this season, the Dutchmen are the No. 4 seed. Yale, which won the 2010 Whitelaw Cup, is the third seed.
The Dutchmen come into the tournament on a roll. They have won four straight, and are 6-2 in their last eight. They have been winning because they have been firing pucks on opposing goalies, and getting great goaltending from Troy Grosenick and, for the regular-season finale against Clarkson, Colin Stevens.
This game is important for Union in its hopes of making a third straight NCAA tournament. The Dutchmen are 15th in the PairWise Rankings. A win over Yale would improve their position for securing, at least, an at-large bid. A loss could drop Union out of the top-16.
Here is the Union lineup, starting with the forwards (LW-C-RW):
Daniel Ciampini/Kyle Bodie/Wayne Simpson
Daniel Carr/Josh Jooris/Matt Wilkins
Matt Hatch/Max Novak/Kevin Sullivan
Cole Ikkala/David Roy/Sam Coatta
The defensive pairings are:
Mat Bodie/Sebastien Gingras
Greg Coburn/Shayne Gostisbehere
Ryan Forgaard/Shawn Stuart
Grosenick starts in goal.
The 11th-ranked Bulldogs (18-10-3) dropped the season series to the Dutchmen, 0-1-1. Yale rallied from a 2-0 deficit for a 2-2 tie Dec. 8 at Ingalls Rink. In the second meeting Feb. 15 at Messa Rink, Yale took a 1-0 lead on a first-period power-play goal by Tommy Fallen. But goals by second-period goals by Max Novak (short-handed) and Matt Hatch (even-strength) gave the Dutchmen a 2-1 lead, and they went on to a 4-1 win.
In that second game, Nick Maricic started in goal because No. 1 netminder Jeff Malcolm was injured. The two goals Maricic allowed were soft, bad-angle goals. After the Hatch goal, Maricic was replaced by Connor Wilson.
The Bulldogs have one of the top offenses in the league. They are led by junior forward Kenny Agostino, who has 15 goals and 27 assists. Senior forward Andrew Miller is next with 16 goals and 19 assists, followed by senior forward Antoine Laganiere (14-13-27) and sophomore defenseman Tommy Fallen (7-15-22).
Here is the Yale lineup, starting with the forwards:
Charles Orzetti/Stu Wilson/Antoine Laganiere
Josh Blach/Carson Cooper/Cody Learned
Kenny Agostino/Jesse Root/Andrew Miller
Trent Ruffolo/Clinton Bourbonais/Anthony Day
The defensive pairings are:
Gus Young/Rob O’Gara
Tommy Fallen/Ryan Obuchowski
Colin Dueck/Mitch Witek
Malcolm starts in goal.
Peter Feola and Scott Whittemore are the referees. The linesmen are Glen Cooke and Jim Briggs.
I’ll have updates on the on Twitter. If you’re not following me, my Twitter handle is @slapschotts. The hashtags I will use for this game are #UnionHockey, #YaleHockey and #ECACHockey. If you have any questions during the game, feel free to ask.
I’ll update my Parting Schotts blog after each period, and have more description of the game.
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Enjoy the game!