Tuesday, March 22, 2011

East #1: Yale

Yale University Bulldogs

1 seed vs. Air Force, East Regional (Webster Bank Arena at Harbor Yard, Bridgeport, CT)
ECAC Tournament Champions
Record: 27-6-1
Malcolm G. Chase Head Coach: Keith Allain

Hail to the Elis, securing the #1 overall seed and earning a hearty "Boola Boola" from the blue-bloods and earning the right to play at the East Regional that they are hosting in Bridgeport. Earning the first overall #1 seed for an ECAC team since Cornell in 2003, Yale can clearly see the sting of the bizarre 9-7 loss to eventual national champion Boston College in last year's regional final. The Bulldogs, led by alumnus Keith Allain, posted three straight shutouts to solidify its place at the top of the bracket and put some silence in the doubters who saw Yale fade down the stretch (allowing Union to claim the ECAC regular season title.)

Yale is a team that likes to play with a lead. The forward lines, led by center Andrew Miller and right wings Brian O'Neill and Broc Little can score with the best of them and their assist totals (81 between the three of them) show that this a team that can pass and beat you in a lot of ways.

The reality is, however, it's going to come down to goaltending. As CHN's Adam Wodon makes the case, Ryan Rondeau holds the key to Yale's efforts to advance to Saint Paul for the Frozen Four. While it seems perhaps cliché that goaltending will make the difference for a #1 seed to advance, particularly as the "hot goalie" thesis has won more than a few NCAA tournaments (cough|Turco|cough), Rondeau does seem to be the mercurial power upon which Yale's fate pivots. When he's on, he's really on, but as the second part of the season pointed out, his lows are so extreme that they tease you for weeks in their absence. Which Rondeau will standup? We will find out Friday and maybe Saturday.

No comments: