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Rivalry isn’t a factor
They’ve met three times this season. All of which have been mismatches in Quinnipiac’s favor. The rivalry will continue tomorrow night when the Bobcats and Bulldogs battle for the national championship in this year’s fourth edition of the War for Whitney Ave.
One thing is sure, however. Although rivals and playing on the big stage, for both teams, it will just be like any other game.
“The fact that it’s a rivalry game is irrelevant,” Jordan Samuels-Thomas said. “Right now, both teams are competing for a national championship. They are our rivals, but I don’t think anyone is thinking about that.”
Captain Zack Currie reiterated comments from Samuels-Thomas.
“We got asked that question going into this weekend; ‘what would happen with you and Yale in the championship,’” Currie said. “Our answer is the same each time. We don’t care who it is as long as we’re in that game.”
In their first meeting of the season at Ingalls Rink in New Haven, Quinnipiac scored six unanswered goals in a 6-2 beat down over the Bulldogs. The Bobcats followed their performance with a 4-1 victory in Hamden on Feb. 22 to take the Heroes Hat Championship for the first time since 2010. Quinnipiac later continued its success against Yale by dropping the Bulldogs 3-0 in Atlantic City in the ECAC Tournament consolation game.
Yet since late March, Yale has rattled off NCAA Tournament upsets against Minnesota, North Dakota and UMass-Lowell to advance to the championship game.
“They’ve got some high-end players,” Quinnipiac head coach Rand Pecknold said. “Yale is on a run right now. Both teams are going to be fired up.”
No team finishing with less than 22 victories has won the national championship since 1966, a trend Yale is looking to break after playing to a 21-12-3 overall record.
“We have a game plan set up for tomorrow; we’re ready to work hard,” Yale forward Antoine Laganiere said. “Nothing changes tonight or tomorrow.”
“We’re going to stick to what we do,” Bulldogs Carson Cooper said. “Play Yale hockey. It’s gotten us here, and we’re going to keep doing that.”
Pecknold isn’t taking Yale lightly, and knows that Quinnipiac will need to keep its emotions in check to earn it’s first national championship.
“This is a big one,” Pecknold said. “We’ll definitely do what we’ve done all year. It doesn’t matter who we’re playing. We could play the Montreal Canadiens tomorrow night; we’re gonna play the same way.”