Men’s ice hockey prepares for bout with Yale
The No. 11 Quinnipiac men’s ice hockey team will host No. 13 Yale tonight (Friday) at the TD Bank Sports Center, adding another chapter to the War for Whitney Avenue.
This year, however, the game between the rivals of Southern Connecticut presents a different twist.
Quinnipiac already nabbed a first-round bye in the ECAC Hockey Tournament with a 4-1 win over Clarkson last Saturday night. With a win tonight over the Bulldogs, the Bobcats can clinch their second Cleary Cup, awarded to the team with the best record in ECAC Hockey.
“They’re right down the road, you can’t hide,” Quinnipiac co-captain Matthew Peca said. “Obviously it’s intensified when you play Yale. Both team’s have been successful so it’s great for hockey and for the area.”
Quinnipiac head coach Rand Pecknold is excited for what the game brings, saying that he’s not worried about his players handling the unprecedented atmosphere of the rivalry.
“I never tell my players to amp it down,” Pecknold said. “We always want to go, that’s how we want to play. We’re going to be excited, and there’s going to be a lot of energy in the building.”
Quinnipiac and Yale already met once in this season, playing to a 2-2 tie on Jan. 31 at Ingalls Rink.
The Bobcats surrendered 31 shots in the tie, a number Pecknold thinks needs to go down in order for Quinnipiac to grab two points.
“We have to establish our identity,” Pecknold said. “We’re second in the country in shots allowed, and that’s one of the reasons we win. We don’t give up many scoring chances.”
With its recent 9-0-1 stretch in conference play, Quinnipiac has set itself up for the NCAA Tournament. At 20-8-2 overall on the season, the Bobcats are currently 10th in the PairWise Rankings.
Yale enters play at 15-7-3, 10-6-2 in the ECAC, having defeated both Union and Rensselaer last weekend.
“You always talk to the freshman and you say ‘You think we have a big crowd most nights, wait until you see it against Yale. That place is going to be rocking,’” co-captain Danny Federico said. “I think they understand, but you don’t get the full magnitude of it until you come into the rink Friday night, that place is going to be booming.”Follow @solari_nick