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I was very nearly at Saturday night’s Yale-Dartmouth game at Ingalls Rink in New Haven. As a Dartmouth alum, I’m glad I wasn’t, but as a follower of the Hobey Baker race, I’m sorry that I missed it.

Yes, after starting the season on the sidelines because of Ivy League regulations, the Bulldogs joined the college hockey party this weekend by scoring a grand total of 14 goals in a pair of 7-3 wins over Brown and Dartmouth. In case you’re wondering, that’s more than Colgate has scored in four games, as many as Quinnipiac has scored in six, and more than either Northeastern or St. Lawrence has scored in seven games this season. All told, Yale has at least as many goals in two games this season as 11 other teams have in twice as many contests or more.

Is it any surprise that I expect Yale to figure prominently in the Hobey race for the first time since Christopher Higgins was a finalist in 2002?

When Keith Allain took the job in New Haven, he promised to open up the offense, and that’s exactly what he’s done, with magnificent results for a once-moribund program. For all that some observers and fans might want to bash the Bulldogs because they play in ECAC Hockey, the fact remains that last year’s Yale team beat a North Dakota team that is regularly among the nation’s elite, then went on to score more goals in their loss to Boston College than Miami and Wisconsin did combined in their two Frozen Four games against the Eagles. It’s a new season, but so far, Yale has shown much of the same goal-scoring prowess.

So far, seniors Denny Kearney and Broc Little are first and second in the nation in points per game, after racking up eight and six points in two games this past weekend, respectively, both split evenly between goals and assists. Brian O’Neill is fourth with two goals and three assists in the two wins. It’s hard to read too much from one weekend, but given that O’Neill, Little and Kearney finished last season with 45, 41 and 37 points, respectively, in 34 games, it seems safe to say that these numbers are more a hot start than a momentary outburst.

Of course, Yale has a similar challenge in producing a Hobey candidate to the one that Miami faces: there are multiple choices, and it’s uncertain whether that might weaken one or all of their potential finalists. Of course, that never seemed to hurt 2005 winner Marty Sertich or last year’s winner, Blake Geoffrion – both players had teammates who were Hobey finalists – but last season, Miami’s offensive balance left Cody Reichard – himself a platoon goaltender with Connor Knapp – as the RedHawks’ lone representative among the Top Ten.

Of course, it’s highly unlikely that a Yale goaltender will steal the forwards’ Hobey thunder – there are probably times when Keith Allain wishes he could get back between the pipes himself – but there’s still the question of whether one of Yale’s offensive stars can outshine the others, and that’s a question that will only be answered in the weeks and months to come. For now, the challenge is keeping annoying one-hit wonders out of your head, because the dogs have been let out.

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Elliot Olshansky covers the Hobey Baker Award beat for USCHO.com and also covers men’s and women's hockey and lacrosse at NCAA.com for Turner Sports. His experience includes four years covering college hockey for CSTV, stints at other media outlets including the New York Daily News and Spike TV, and freelance writing. His debut novel, "Robert's Rules of Karaoke," is currently available from The Write Deal (www.thewritedeal.org).
  • J

    i think its funny how you talk about yale scoring so much when they play agianst shitty teams all year round. id like to see yale play in wcha for one year and we will see how many goals they score…HOW ABOUT NONE im sick of these mediocre players winning awards where there strength of schedule is far behind other top teams with outstanding players yet those players dont even get looked at Minnesotas Jay Bariball should be a top player so far and i hate the gophers. jack connely or even matt frattin of north dakota…but ofcourse that makes me biased because im a sioux fan..all im saying is goals and assists shouldnt be the only factor of decision and i know its not but you uscho writers just suck soooo much yale is a good team but they need to play harder teams more consistently

    • Cctempserv

      Yale 3 North Dakota 2… i guess there bad

  • Callanmp

    All three of those Yale players have solid chances of playing in the NHL with the exception of O Neil due to size being the only drawback. How about more love for your” so difficult” to play rivals the high powered offense of the midgets at UMD?

  • Anonymous

    I have to agree with J above…however he appears to rate the WCHA a little to highly. I believe this will be yet another Hocley East domination year and would not be surprised if they place 3 teams in the Frozen Four. Denver swept by BC, North Dakota dominated by Maine BU on a roll and UNH always a regular season powerhouse…

  • Kuhn&Friends

    please submit this to ESPN outside the lines, I think this deserves an in depth report as do many in the k-zoo area

  • Union Alum ’97

    I am a Union fan and have been waiting over 20 years for our first NCAA game, but after seeing this, I wouldn’t mind at all if Western Michigan won the darn whole thing for that family. Great work guys.

    • UMD_what_UMD_what_UMD

      I had the same thought. I have been a UMD fan since I can remember and have been waiting for a championship. Now I want this team to win it all. Best of luck to your team as well. It should be a very evenly matched offensive show!

  • HE Parent

    This is one of the most touching stories I’ve seen. As a parent of another D1 hockey program player, since his team is done for the year, I will be rooting for Western to win it all. This is why hockey is the greatest sport with the best people in it. Go Broncos! Get better kid!

  • SiouxInMinny

    Touching. Very nice of the Broncos.

  • Whetto345

    WOW Go Broncos!

    UNO fan

  • Tiger Fan

    This was truly inspiring and I think after watching it, it’s hard for anyone to not support this Western Michigan team. When players go out of their way to do things like this because it means something to them as well is amazing. Division I athletes have a lot on their plates as students, but for them to take their free time and spend it the way they did shows a lot of character and heart, both things I’d like to see help them take home the title this year.

    RIT Tiger fan

  • Lenytobias

    At almost 9 mos pregnant and having no defintie names, I instantly just fell in love with the name Gideon.

  • Lenytobias

    At 9 mos pregnant and no definite names, I instantly just feel in love with the name Gideon.

  • TigerJim

    If my team doesn’t make it, I’m rooting for Western Michigan!

  • Anonymous

    That right there is what college hockey is all about… inspiring kids that they can do anything. Shows a LOT of heart from the Broncos team. NCAA should make an award for a team that is outstanding off the ice for their community service and heartfelt inspiration of youth.

  • Bucky

    Class act all the way!

  • Tim

    Thats why hockey players are the finest athletes…….always keeping it real! Ct now roots for the Broncos!

  • KzooHockeyMom

    As a Western Alum, I am very proud of these boys and the way they have adopted the Schripsema Family. What a statement of this fantastic sport and the athletes involved. I am also a Hockey Mom of a 12 yo boy – it warms my heart to see him watching these young men go above and beyond the call of duty and want to be like them. Go Broncos!!!!

  • Oracle

    I am a UND fan, however I will be rooting for Western in my heart.

  • EngineerHockey

    THAT is what college sports is all about! From an RPI and college hockey fan I say well done Broncos. That was truly amazing!

  • M.E.

    I just don’t think I can truly express my admiration for the Broncos hockey team for this heroic display of compassion. As a lifelong college hockey fan these young men displayed true heart. They have shown the real colors of what it is to be a collegiate athlete, and how to be true role models for the young kids that idolize them. My hats of to you Western Michigan….again and again.

  • NDFangasm

    No way the Gopher fans cheer for the Sioux. I would not be caught dead cheering for the Gophers. The Gophers could be playing against a team of aliens for the cure for aids and I’d cheer against them. I hope Gopher fans show up and boo the Sioux. One of the best things about college hockey is the atmosphere during a rivalry. Go Sioux!!

  • achybreaky

    The Fighting Sioux want you to know something, Wolverines. They are not afraid of you! They WILL NOT underestimate you. The Fighting Sioux are here to win #8.

  • MGoBlue

    Go Blue!!!!