College Hockey:
A “Little” thought or two about Yale

In case you’re looking for something to talk about while waiting for tonight’s college hockey games to get started, I figured it was about time for me to chime in on Broc Little as pertains to the Hobey Baker race.

That Yale offense that had been sputtering for a few games – and was held to a single goal a week ago in a 1-0 win over Harvard – found its groove against my alma mater last Saturday night, in a game I covered for the Valley News.  That included Little, who scored his 14th goal of the season in a 4-2 win over Dartmouth.  Heading into play tonight, Little is 18th in the country in points per game (1.26) and 13th in goals per game (.61).

As someone who’s included Little in the Hobey discussion all season long, I was paying special attention to Little during the game, and was certainly impressed by the goal he scored, a beautiful shot from the slot to the top right corner of the net. Some of his attempts to beat defensemen seemed to fall in the category of “too clever for his own good,” but overall, I could certainly see how he was one of the top scorers in the country for a good chunk of this season. With speed, creativity, and a strong shot, Little definitely has a package of skills that leads to a great season, and even with his recent slump that saw him go six games without a goal, his scoring pace is ahead of the junior year that put him on the radar.

Here’s where it gets interesting, though. As I’ve mentioned before, Yale has several bigtime scorers on the roster, although all of them suffered during Yale’s offensively-challenged January. At one point, as you may recall, Yale boasted four of the nation’s top seven scorers. Now, it’s five of the nation’s top 30 in points per game: Little at 18th, Brian O’Neill and Andrew Miller tied at 22nd, Chris Cahill at 29th and Denny Kearney at 30th.

Now, that’s a bit higher up the chart than the balanced scoring on last year’s Miami team – Andy Miele, Jarod Palmer, Carter Camper and Tommy Wingels ranked from 62nd to 78th, all averaging about a point per game – but it does come back to this question: with such a balanced offense, what are the chance’s Yale’s primary Hobey candidate (like last year’s Miami team) is a goalie?

Like North Dakota’s Jean-Philippe Lamoureux a couple of years ago, Ryan Rondeau has turned a perceived weakness into a strength for the Bulldogs. He’s fourth in the country in goals-against average (1.92) and seventh in save percentage (.929). That kind of improvement from his 2009-10 numbers (4.06, .880) is pretty much unheard of. There’s an excellent chance that Yale goes into the NCAA tournament as the top overall seed (not unlike the Miami team of a year ago), and if that happens, improved goaltending is definitely going to be a factor. Does that make Rondeau a darkhorse for a spot in the Hobey top 10? It’s possible, although I still like Little’s chances as a Hobey finalist as well.

As to whether either Little or Rondeau has a shot at the Hobey Hat Trick (or even the award itself), I think that’s a story that will be told in the days and weeks to come. At the moment, Little’s scoring isn’t quite there, and as much as he’s improved, Rondeau certainly doesn’t have “Ryan Miller numbers.”

There’s a long time between now and the Hobey voting, though.

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  • DIII hockey fan

    I’d like to know who votes in these polls or whose smoking Norwich’s Pole. Unfortunately most people can’t watch DIII hockey on TV like DI otherewise an honest hocky voter would see Norwich is not the team it was last year… not yet anyway. Bowdoin and Colby wins were overated. And I guess losses to unranked Plattsburg twice, Manhattanville, Weslyan, and Castleton all supposedly lesser teams, doesn’t count. Get a grip voters how can a team stay in the same position after such losses… five to be exact.

  • Typical North Dakota Troll

    But Yale hasn’t played anyone! They play in the EZAC! Have they ever been to the Frozen Four? Do they have SEVEN titles?!?!?

    • UNDalumCHITOWN

      no, but they did lose to st. lawrence tonight to go 2-3 in their last 5 against weak opponents (minus union)

      • Anonymous

        *Waving bye to Yale*

      • Just askin

        What does losing to St. Lawrence have to do with the Hobey Baker Award?

        • UNDalumCHITOWN

          I was just replying to the “Typical North Dakota Troll” comment which also had nothing to do with the article. My apologies for taking the topic off track.

          • Just askin

            You probably should have just kept your mouth shut because by taking the bait you revealed what everyone already knew. Some of you have become highly obsessive about Yale.

          • UNDalumCHITOWN

            Wow. I’m not even going to dignify that with a response. Theres a difference between obsessive and speculative. Get a grip homer.

          • Just askin

            That makes no sense.

          • UNDalumCHITOWN

            Wouldn’t expect you to understand. You said some of us have become obsessive about Yale. I disagreed and said there is a difference between obsessing over Yale and being speculative of their performance this season. I can bring in a 3rd grader and have him explain it to you if need be. Let me know.

          • Just askin

            I knew you’d come back with this sort of bs. What I meant was what is “speculative” about your very first reply on this thread? Here, I’ll quote you so you remember:

            no, but they did lose to st. lawrence tonight to go 2-3 in their last 5 against weak opponents (minus union)

            That’s not speculative. That’s stating facts about what has already happened. In fact, nothing you posted in the past two months has been “speculative”. And yeah, you’re obsessed with Yale. You and UNDNorthStars show up in the comments to every article about Yale and ECAC.

  • Fanforum

    18th in ppg.. not a chance at winning the hobey. how about an article about polachek as the ezac’s only shot at the award.

    • UNDalumCHITOWN

      i agree. polachek should be considered

      • Elliot Olshansky

        I’ll be watching Mr. Polacek this afternoon against Cornell on the NHL Network, and will comment afterwards.

  • Guest

    Yale is first in the Pairwise Rankings. First in RPI. Say what you want about a weak schedule, but those two rankings factor in your opponents and Yale sits at the top.

    • bored to tears

      And they were number one in KRACH for a long time. The UND trolls were asked repeatedly to outline some alternate criteria or Strength of Schedule threshold that must be met for a team to be at or near the top of the polls. None of them answered. It was pointed out that a few weeks ago (when BC took over the top spot in the poll) that Yale’s KRACH SOS was about 27th while BC was about 20. Apparently 20 didn’t bother them as much as 27 did but I can only assume this is true because again, none of them bothered to reply. Now they seem to have moved on to bashing Merrimack and by extension BC be arguing that the bottom five teams in Hockey East are weak. Again, it completely avoids the question of just how good your SOS needs to be to satisfy them. Of course, they never say it outright but it is implied that they think they are the best by virtue of their record and SOS.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_VCPIBR5SQVNDYE4Y32Q53WTWAI Frank

    I was a student at RIT. I am still RIT fan. Congratulation for a new hockey arena. RIT Men’s hockey would go to CCHA in 2013-14 for 18 scholarship players.. RIT has a new best hockey arena. They would be on best league. go to CCHA instead of AHA.
    FOR women’s hockey move up to Division I on CHA with 18 scholarship players. Both of them should be the best teams with their new arena.
    Look forward in the future. Good Luck !

  • BC Jacket 5

    You do realize the CCHA is all but defunct beginning in 2013-14 right? The only 3 teams that haven’t found a new home from the current CCHA are Notre Dame, Bowling Green, and Western Michigan. BGU is almost 100% going to the WCHA, and WMU will either end up there or the ney NCHC. Notre Dame will be going to the NCHC or Hockey East (I really hope not though). No chance RIT leaves the AHA, which is a perfect conference for them and gives them a chance to compete, win, and promote their program.

  • http://twitter.com/joeyjr Joey Loeffler, Jr.

    If Notre Dame makes it in the National and gets to keep their abusive, hostile name while one of the founding members is forced to change theirs it will only further prove how completely subjective the NCAA’s stance is when it comes to big name/big money schools.

  • Guestbopper

    Prediction: If BGSU goes to the WCHA, varsity hockey folds in Huntsville.

  • BeaverPride

    I agree that the CCHA should find a way to stay alive.  The more auto-bids the better for programs’ success…   What about this option?

    CCHA: (7 or 8 teams)
    Notre Dame
    Alabama-Huntsville (Let them in!)
    Bowling Green
    Buffalo (Assuming they get this thing off the ground)
    Ferris State (Drop the WCHA and stay in a better geographic location)
    Niagra (Moves from AHA)
    RIT (See above)
    Robert Morris (Ditto)

    AHA: (8 teams)
    American International
    Holy Cross
    Sacred Heart

    WCHA: (8 teams)
    Air Force (Moves from AHA, makes geographic sense, get WCHA a DI school)
    Bemidji State
    Lake Superior State
    Michigan Tech
    Minnesota State Mankato
    Northern Michigan

    NCHC: (8 teams)
    Colorado College
    Miami (OH)
    Minnesota Duluth
    Nebraska Omaha
    North Dakota Fighting Something
    St Cloud State
    Western Michigan

    Hockey East, ECAC and Big Ten remain intact

    • Robert8_fun

      Hey, I like this!
      -Don’t forget to add Minnesota State Moorhead to the WCHA when they start a program.
      -Its the North Dakota Fighting Sioux.
      -Looks like Notre Dame is going to Hockey East. HE will then take UConn to get to 12.  
      -I would flip Canisius and RIT around. Canisius, like Niagara, is located in Buffalo which is further west than Rochester(geographic sense) and Canisius has stated that they want out of Atlantic Hockey so they can play with 18 scholarships in the CCHA. The same with Mercyhurst, which is located in Pittsburgh, west of Buffalo, - they want 18 scholarships too. That would leave AH with 6 members; American International, Army, Bentley, RIT, Holy Cross and Sacred Heart. All of those schools are ok with playing at 12 scholarships in AH. What happens then hopefully is that the Ivy League forms(6 schools) and the 6 ECAC non-Ivy League schools merge with the remaining 6 AH schools to form a potential 12 team ECHA.
      -I agree completely about moving Ferris State back to the CCHA and letting Alabama-Huntsville in the CCHA!  

      • BeaverPride

        I agree with the Canisius and RIT flip – Forgot Canisius was in Buffalo area.  If ND goes to HE, I agree UConn will follow.  Maybe if both Buffalo and Moorhead both go DI, then LSS stays in CCHA as well and MSM goes WCHA.  Thanks for the ideas.  Wish someone with the ability to change this would read up.

    • Guest

      Air Force should definitely join the WCHA.

  • Joe C

    Anyone that has heard the Big Ten speak on the subject of Notre Dame KNOWS that Notre Dame would join based on football and all sports would follow. Notre Dame does not want to join ANY conference for football and lose its NBC contract.

    Your points are the same as what Todd posted and what I posted. There is no way that Notre Dame joins Big Ten or Big Ten Hockey Conference unless Notre Dame could no longer survive as a legitimate independent in football.

  • B.D.

    So, who is BSU’s rival?  Mankato?  And why could they not play them in non-conference games?
    Nope, not seeing any value in keeping Minnesota teams together in the same league simply to do so.

  • B.D.

    Or go to a lower division where they can be more competitive and travel less.

  • Joe C

    Bowling Green is not a AAU (Association of American Universities) and therefore will never get an invite from the Big Ten.

  • MSU – Mankato Fan

    I understand your writing off Mankato and Bemidji due to their lack of major D1 hockey tradition and history, but let’s not call MSU a small school.  Here’s a breakdown of the student body sizes (2010) at the 8 member NCHC schools, along with Mankato and BSU:

    Colorado College – 2,011
    University of Denver – 11,842
    University of Minnesota, Duluth – 11,729
    Miami of Ohio – 17,267
    University of Nebraska at Omaha – 14,903
    University of North Dakota – 14,076
    St. Cloud State University – 18,319
    Western Michigan University – 25,045

    Bemidji State University – 5,365
    Minnesota State University, Mankato – 15,393

    You read that correctly.  Mankato is the 4th largest university on the list.  Their downfall is that they are located in the third smallest (only to Oxford, OH and Bemidji) city out of the group.  Add in the fact that the state of Minnesota seems hell-bent on maintaining only one full D1 university, and a large collection of MSU students still cheer for the Gophers.

    I still argue, though, that if both North Dakota and South Dakota can have TWO D1 schools each, it’s absolutely ridiculous that SCSU, MSU, and UMD aren’t D1.  I guarantee you if Mankato or SCSU was D1 across the board, they wouldn’t have both been afterthoughts at the start of this whole process.

    I’m happy SCSU got in, but I’m bummed Mankato was excluded.  From an all-around standpoint, as a whole, SCSU and Mankato are twin schools.  They’re both D1 in hockey, both D2 across the rest of their sports, both are situated in okay-sized cities, and both are located about an hour from the Twin Cities.

    Along the same lines, I’m also happy that UMD got in.  However, one has to wonder.  If they hadn’t just won their first hockey National Championship, and had the state of Minnesota not funded a brand new arena for them, would they have been as highly sought after?  I realize their D1 hockey history stretches way back, but would that have been enough to make an otherwise D2 institution a must add?

    I hope all of this conference realignment works out well for everyone, but man do I wish my Mavericks had been one of the final adds to the NCHC.  Maybe someday.

  • BeaverPride

    A conference only needs 6 teams for an auto bid, FYI.

  • BeaverPride

    The value is in decreased travel costs, and increased ability for fans to travel between conference games.  Nope, there is some value there.

    I do, however, agree that the NCHC will snub both schools since MSU has not accomplished much in the current WCHA, and Bemidji is a smaller school that’s new to the WCHA.  Hope they keep that mind set for now, as BSU has proven to be a menace in post season play.

    By the way, BSU had a growing rivalry with NoDak (mostly for geographical reasons), UMD and UNO for sure.  If anyone doesn’t want them in the NCHC, it’s Omaha:)

  • Robert8_fun

    Air Force could always join the WCHA as a D-1 member. Air Force is based in Colorado Springs, Colorado yet plays in Atlantic Hockey. Air Force would fit in the WCHA. Let’s hope that happens.

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