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Welsh's role with Bulldogs increasing

Whistler puckster adjusting to the Ivy League

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It took him longer than he would have liked, but Whistler forward Tyler Welsh has his first NCAA goal.

The 21-year-old had to wait until his second season with the Yale Bulldogs, but it came at an opportune time, giving Yale the lead in an eventual 3-3 draw against rival Harvard.

"It was a bit of a relief just to get one. Hopefully some more will come now," he said. "It was pretty cool (to score) against Harvard because that's one of our bigger games of the year with a pretty big crowd at home."

Welsh described the goal as the culmination of a pretty passing play that left him with a wide-open net.

Welsh, who came to New Haven, Conn. after a prolific junior career with the Campbell River Storm and Victoria Grizzlies, said he's feeling more at ease with the team this season. Welsh started last year as a healthy scratch but he quickly earned his ice time and played 28 of 31 games.

"The second season has started out pretty well for myself and for the team. Personally, I felt a little bit more comfortable going into this year knowing what to expect," he said. "Being a returning player from last year, I've taken on a little bit more of a role. I've been playing a bit of power-play time, so that's been good to see this year."

Yale (5-2-2) is entering this weekend's home games against Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and Union College on a roll, having won three in a row, and will look to keep its ascent going before the Christmas break.

The winning streak started during an overseas trip to Northern Ireland to play in the Friendship Four tournament in late November. Though Yale narrowly missed playing in the championship game, losing 2-1 in a shootout to Union, they recovered with a convincing 6-3 over the University of Connecticut. Welsh recorded an assist in both games, doubling his scoring output this season.

"It was nice to pick up a couple points," said Welsh, who is on pace to blast past the five assists he recorded last season. "My parents made the trip over, so it was nice to play in front of them."

The experience was eye opening for Welsh, as the team visited Dublin in Ireland, and immersed itself in the local history.

"We went over for the whole week, so we got to visit a lot of places before playing on the weekend. We got to learn about their culture," he said. "We got to visit one of the local schools in Belfast, so that was a pretty cool experience.

"We explored the Crumlin Road Gaol as well, which has a lot of the history of The Troubles (violent conflict between the Protestant majority and Catholic minority between 1968 and 1998)."

Welsh, who is studying economics, is also happy with how his academic pursuits are coming along at the prestigious university.

"It's going pretty well. We're just coming up on finals now, so I've been putting in some time in the classroom. Overall, it's not too bad, I'm enjoying it," he said.

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