Preseason Top 16: Number 10
Whew. We finally made it to the top 10. After our first 6 teams profiled, it’s time to preview the teams that are expected to make a push for their respective conference titles, and to perhaps contend for a Frozen Four bid. We begin with #10 Yale
Last year the Bulldogs rode balanced scoring and just enough defense to come virtually out of nowhere to win the ECAC crown. Hosting a regional, they lost their opening game to eventual Frozen Four participant. But with the experience they gained from last year they should be back in the ECAC mix.
Yale brings back the top 10 scorers from ECAC Hockey’s top scoring team. Although they had just four players reach double digit goal totals, the Bulldogs were very balanced. Sean Backman led the way with 20 goals and found his way into our all-ECAC team. Mark Arcobello and Broc Little provided much of the secondary scoring, but my player to watch for next year is Sophomore Bryan O’Neill. As a Freshman he had 12 goals and 26 points and should only improve as he gains experience and is now adapted to playing a college season.
About the only thing to cause alarm in Bulldog country is the graduation of goaltender Alec Richards. Richards had the 5th best save percentage in the league, but had the 3rd best GAA in part because of the defense and in part because of Yale’s offense putting pressure on their opponents. Whether Senior Billy Blase or Junior Ryan Rondeau gets the majority of the time in net, the Bulldogs will have a heck of a time replacing Richards. However, if they get even 80% of Richards’s production, Yale will be an NCAA tournament team once again.