Holiday Tournament Preview: Ledyard Bank Classic

Danny Tirone (UNH - 35) - The Boston University Terriers defeated the University of New Hampshire Wildcats 4-1 (EN) in their Hockey East semi-final on Friday, March 20, 2015, at TD Garden in Boston, Massachusetts. (Melissa Wade)
New Hampshire’s Danny Tirone has started all 17 games thus far this season for the Wildcats (photo: Melissa Wade).

2017 Ledyard Bank Classic

Thompson Arena, Hanover N.H., Dec. 29-30

Pre-determined pairings:
Friday: Minnesota Duluth vs. Yale, 4 p.m.
Dartmouth vs. New Hampshire, 7 p.m.
Saturday: New Hampshire vs. Yale, 4 p.m.
Minnesota Duluth vs. Dartmouth, 7 p.m.



Players to watch: Corey Kalk, F (2-5-7), Kevan Kilistoff, F (3-3-6), Will Graber, F (2-3-5)

Notable: The Big Green ended the first half on a high note, rallying from three goals down to beat Denver 5-4 on Dec. 16 Dartmouth is 28-24-4 all-time in its own tournament. After facing the Wildcats Friday, the Big Green will play Minnesota Duluth on Saturday for the first time since 1995. The Bulldogs own a 3-1 lead in the all-time series between the two teams.


Players to watch: Joe Snively, F (7-5-12), Ryan Hitchcock, F (2-7-9), Ted Hart, F ( 4-4-8), Adam Larkin, D (0-1-1)

Notable: The Bulldogs take a two-game winning streak into their first appearance in the Ledyard Bank Classic… Yale and Minnesota Duluth last met in the NCAA East Regional final in 2011, a 5-3 UMD win… On Saturday, Yale will face New Hampshire for the second time this year. The Bulldogs lost to the Wildcats 4-0 on Nov. 25… Freshman defenseman Phil Kemp, an Edmonton draft pick, was on the roster at the U.S. National Junior Team’s pre-tournament camp earlier this month, but is back with the Bulldogs for the start of the second half.

No. 16 New Hampshire

Players to watch: Michael McNicholas, F (5-12-17), Max Gildon, D (7-8-15), Danny Tirone, G (9-7-1, 2.49 GAA, .918 save percentage)

Notable: New Hampshire will face Dartmouth in the opening game of the Ledyard Bank Tournament. The two teams are in-state rivals and typically play a non-conference rivalry game. The Wildcats hold the all-time mark in that series, 34-19-2… Because of the pre-determined schedule for this year’s tournament, New Hampshire will face Yale on Saturday night and thus not get a chance to face Minnesota Duluth… The up-and-down first half for the Wildcats began with five straight victories, but closed with UNH losing five of its final nine including the final two games to Army West Point and Merrimack.

No. 17 Minnesota Duluth

Players to watch: Jared Thomas, F (3-7-10) and Nick Wolff, D (3-5-8)

Notable: UMD entered the holiday break with its first win in four games, trouncing Omaha 6-2 on the road. A third of the Bulldogs’ nine losses so far came consecutively in December, beginning with a home sweep at the hands of then-No. 1 Denver and a 7-5 loss at Omaha on Dec. 8…UMD is one game under .500, but the Bulldogs are fifth in the country and second in the NCHC in shot margin (+7.21)…Duluth hasn’t been able to carry its nonconference success (5-2-2) over into NCHC play and currently sits nine points below a home-ice spot for the first round of the playoffs. Part of that may have to do with special teams: UMD is last in the league in penalty kill (76.5 percent) and sixth on the power play (16.9). What’s more, in league play, the Bulldogs are last in the NCHC in team offense (2.30 goals per game)…Goaltending is another question mark, as starter Hunter Shepard’s save percentage is just above the right side of 90 percent (.901)…A significant bright spot thus far has been the play of freshman blueliner Scott Perunovich, who leads UMD in assists and points, but is away with Team USA at the World Junior Championship.

Quotable: “We’re aware of the team that Dartmouth has and we’re looking forward to going up there with the opportunity to play them. Then we play Yale the next day in the matinee game. But knowing the teams that are in there, Yale, Minnesota Duluth, Dartmouth and ourselves, it should be a good tournament.

“We’re looking forward to the second half. Here we go. The first half is already over coming back from the holiday and it’s an important time for us beginning with this tournament.” – New Hampshire coach Dick Umile