Tag: Keith Allain

2013 Frozen Four logo

PHT’s Frozen Four preview

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This year’s Frozen Four in Pittsburgh offers up one of the great storylines for all the teams involved. One way or another, someone is going to win their first national championship in hockey.

For three out of the four schools (UMass-Lowell, Quinnipiac, St. Cloud State), it’s their first trip to the Frozen Four. Yale hasn’t made the national semifinals since 1952.

Thursday’s first semifinal matchup provides quite the contrast in styles. Hockey East champions UMass-Lowell bank on dogged defending and the play of budding superstar freshman goalie Connor Hellebuyck to lead them to glory. They’ve got some scorers in Scott Wilson, a Penguins prospect, as well as Joseph Pendenza, Derek Arnold, and Riley Wetmore. Make no mistake, if Lowell is going to win it all, it’ll be because of Hellebuyck.

Yale, on the other hand, loves to push play and use their speed to their advantage. Newly acquired Flames prospect Kenny Agostino (part of the Jarome Iginla deal) leads the way for them in scoring and has great support in a pair of seniors, Andrew Miller and Antoine Laganiere. Coach Keith Allain has helped Yale to become a consistent tournament team, but he’ll need senior goalie Jeff Malcolm to bring his “A” game to take out Lowell, something he’s done already in helping the Bulldogs upset Minnesota and North Dakota.

In the late game, Quinnipiac facing St. Cloud shows off a pair of regular season champions looking to prove that winning over the long haul of the season pays dividends.

source:  Quinnipiac has done their business all year thanks to a lineup that features 11 seniors. Making a run at the title is a heck of a way to go out with style. Goalie Eric Hartzell is a Hobey Baker finalist and the key to their season. The Bobcats have a host of talent up front in Lightning prospect Matthew Peca (not related to former Sabres/Islanders center Michael), Jets prospect Jordan Samuels-Thomas, senior Jeremy Langlois (pictured), and the super-twins Connor and Kellen Jones (the latter an Oilers prospect).

St. Cloud does things a bit differently. The bulk of their talent is made up of underclassmen with the lone exception being Hobey Baker finalist Drew LeBlanc. Junior and Kings prospect Nic Dowd has been a big time tournament player for them, but it’s a crew of freshmen that help steal the show. Jonny Brodzinski, Kalle Kossila, and Joey Benik have been big in the postseason. Senior and Flames prospect Ben Hanowski has stepped up big himself since being part of the Iginla deal.

If sophomore Ryan Farragher can keep holding things down in goal and silence the Quinnipiac attack, things are looking up for the Huskies.

Predictions: It’s impossible to pick against Connor Hellebuyck at this point. He and Lowell have been too strong. I like Lowell to take down Yale and then St. Cloud in the finals to win their first national championship.

Tonight on NBCSN: No. 8 Yale visits No. 18 Cornell in Ivy League mashup

Kenny Agostino - ECAC
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Legendary Lynah Rink in Ithaca, NY sets the scene for this Ivy League clash.

No. 18 Cornell Big Red (8-7-2) vs. No. 8 Yale Bulldogs (11-4-3) — 7:30 p.m. ET

Every season sees the Cornell Big Red have high hopes for a national championship attached to them. It comes with consistently being at the top of the ECAC. This season has been a bit more of a struggle for them, however, and facing off against a Yale team that’s on a roll makes tough times a little harder.

The Big Red have lost four of their last five games (1-4-0) and now they’ll head into tonight’s tilt without stud sophomore and Team USA World Junior gold medalist Cole Bardreau. Bardreau fractured his neck last week against Rensselaer. In case you were wondering if he was a real hockey player, he finished the game (!!!).

At the very least, coach Mike Schafer is happy to be back into league action after his misadventures in Denver. One thing he has to make sure his team does is stay out of the box. Cornell is leading the NCAA in penalty minutes.

Meanwhile, Yale is on a tear having won four in a row including a 4-0 steamrolling of Harvard last week on NBCSN. Yale’s hot streak has gotten them into the top ten in both polls and to fifth place in the all-important Pairwise Rankings (the system used to pick teams for the NCAA tournament). Coach Keith Allain has the team rolling and looking like tournament teams of the recent past.

NHL prospects to watch

Cornell boasts a roster with eight different NHL draft picks. The tops of them is Kings prospect Joel Lowry (SO – F) who’s second on the team in points. Bruins prospect Brian Ferlin (SO – F) has picked up his game as well. Nick D’Agostino (SR – D – Pittsburgh) is their most rock-solid blue liner.

Others to watch: Joakim Ryan (SO – D – San Jose), John McCarron (SO – F – Edmonton), Braden Birch (SR – D – Chicago), Reece Wilcox (FR – D – Philadelphia), Kirill Gotovets (JR – D – Tampa Bay).

For Yale, the big one to keep an eye on is the team’s leading scorer, junior forward Kenny Agostino (pictured). The Penguins prospect has 9 goals and 14 assists on the year and he’s tied in points with undrafted senior Antoine Laganiere. You’ll also senior forward Andrew Miller having a big game last week against Harvard.

Others to watch: Gus Young (JR – D – Colorado), Rob O’Gara (FR – D – Boston)

(Photo: David Silverman via ECAC)

Tonight on NBCSN: No. 12 Yale battles rival Harvard

Kenny Agostino
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The Crimson look to pull another surprise on NBCSN, this time against an ancient rival in Yale.

No. 12 Yale Bulldogs (9-4-3) vs. Harvard Crimson (5-8-1)

When last we saw Harvard, they were busy coming back from a 5-2 deficit against Boston University to take them down in overtime, 6-5. Now that they’re back into the ECAC schedule where the points are crucial, their high from beating BU went away fast after losing to Dartmouth. Harvard is 1-6-1 in their last eight.

Keith Allain’s Yale club isn’t quite the run-and-gun show we’ve seen in the past, but instead have found a nice balance of offense and defense. In the past, goaltending has hurt them but senior Jeff Malcolm has been steady leading the Bulldogs to a 3-1-2 record in their last six. That loss was a stunning 5-4 decision to Holy Cross in which they were down 5-2 at one point.

NHL prospects to watch

For Yale, the big one to keep an eye on is the team’s leading scorer, junior forward Kenny Agostino. The Penguins prospect has 9 goals and 12 assists on the year and he’s just one goal behind undrafted senior Antoine Laganiere. Others to watch: Gus Young (JR – D – Colorado), Rob O’Gara (FR – D – Boston)

The Crimson’s Alex Fallstrom (SR – F – Boston) now leads the team in points with 10. Team USA WJC gold medalist Jimmy Vesey (FR – F – Nashville) is one guy who can help spark the offense now that he’s back. Undrafted sophomore forward Tommy O’Regan showed he’s got some jump against BU.

Others: Colin Blackwell (SO – F – San Jose), Brian Hart (FR – F – Tampa Bay), Danny Biega (SR – D – Carolina), Patrick McNally (SO – D – Vancouver), Petr Placek (SO – F – Philadelphia)

(Photo: Yale Daily News)