Let’s do that hockey

An inside look on what it takes to be a Quinnipiac hockey fan for its biggest game of the year

By on February 13, 2019

A rivalry like no other, Quinnipiac vs. Yale hockey is one of the fiercest contests in college hockey. 

A mere eight miles apart, the two universities boast excellent hockey teams as well as a passionate student body. 

“The Quinnipiac vs. Yale games are ones that do not matter how the year plays out, but as long as you win the series, it’s like winning the Super Bowl,” Steven DeVito, a junior business management major from Long Island, New York, said. “Everyone gets hyped for Friday night and it really is not like any other game throughout the year.”

Sam Saleh | The Quinnipiac Chronicle
Dubbed the “Battle of Whitney Ave”, the rivalry has quite the history. The two teams have played a total of 33 games against each other, with Quinnipiac having the better record at 20-8-5.

However, Yale defeated Quinnipiac in the Frozen Four championship game in 2013, despite being swept in the regular season. 

Part of this exciting rivalry is the “Heroes Hat,” which is the representation of the men and women that put their lives on the line to protect and save Americans during the September 11 terrorist attacks. 

The tradition of the helmet began when Quinnipiac played in the Atlantic Conference. The winner of the Quinnipiac vs. UConn game would receive the helmet, in remembrance of Joseph Mascali, a father of two Quinnipiac alumni, and Amy Jarret, the sister of former UConn letter winner Matt Jarret.

Now decided in the Quinnipiac and Yale games, the winner of the final game of the series wins the decorated helmet, a bit of extra motivation for the teams. 

Students break out all the Quinnipiac gear, from jerseys to hats, to the much-anticipated signs that are displayed at the game. 

“Everyone seems a lot friendlier on campus,” Jack Main, a first-year journalism major from South Burlington, Vermont. “I like the energy and the constant emergence of the yellow Bobcat jerseys.”

One of the most important days leading up to the game is ticket sale day. The Quinnipiac ticket office added additional servers to the site to prevent any crashes.

In an email released to the student body, Quinnipiac increased the number of tickets for the student section due to high student demand, especially with a guaranteed sell out.

“Student tickets normally sell out in around 10 seconds,” DeVito said. “Getting tickets for the game, in my opinion, is harder than registering for classes.” 

The day of the game creates a new atmosphere for the students on campus. There is a different sort of energy and excitement. 

Last Friday’s game was evidence of that nature as students waited outside the People’s United Center as early as 8:30 a.m, according to the Quinnipiac men’s ice hockey Twitter account. 

As the day continued, more people began to show up and line up outside. Some students skipped their 4 p.m. classes to get in line in pure hope of getting a good seat. 

Quinnipiac head coach Rand Pecknold noticed the student body’s dedication to the game and the team. He headed outside the arena with boxes of pizza and gave it out to the waiting students. 

Out in the bitter cold, students formed a line that began to circle the arena. To keep the fans entertained while the arena was being set up for the game, both the pep band and the Teletubbies (Quinnipiac’s spirit group) did everything they could to fire them up. 

“Athletics did a great job getting the students more excited than ever,” DeVito said. “Coach Pecknold bringing out the pizza, the band getting everyone rowdy or the Teletubbies hyping up the crowd, there were a lot more elements than normal.”

CJ Yopp | The Quinnipiac Chronicle
The moment the clock struck 5:30 p.m., the enthusiastic but bitterly cold fans stormed through ticket entry leading to a mad frenzy to find high-quality seating. 

There was a constant buzz amongst the crowd, especially the student section, leading up to warmups. The tradition of Quinnipiac students turning on their flashlights when the lights come down is energizing. 

Sgt. Dan Clark, “The Singing Trooper,” galvanized the already exhilarated crowd with his emphatic rendition of the national anthem.

Quinnipiac brought its ‘A’ game and it showed from the start as it fired shot after shot on net, registering 12 shots in the first five minutes. Each shot attempt drew a louder reaction from the crowd. 

Quinnipiac’s senior forward Nick Jermain chipped the puck into the back of the net during the first period after a sequence of loose puck attempts in the front of the net. The crowd was deafening during the celebration.

The iconic “Seven Nation Army” chant ensued after Quinnipiac’s goal, which led to non-stop chants throughout the remainder of the period.

“It was a euphoric wave of Bobcat nation,” Alec Williams, freshman class president, and first-year PA major from Syracuse, New York, said. “That’s the loudest I’ve ever heard the ‘Frank’ this year.”

Quinnipiac sustained its level of competitiveness in the second period, leading to two more goals.

Absolute domination by Quinnipiac, this game enticed the fans to dig in a little more with some random chirps, specifically when the game became chippy. 

“I’m a very verbal fan at the Quinnipiac games, I like to throw anything that comes to mind out there and get a laugh or two,” Will DeBlis, a first-year public relations major from Milburn, New Jersey, said. “I love when our team throws the body, makes the rest of the crowd more animated.”

The third period was more of the same for Quinnipiac as it added a fourth goal. The celebration by freshman forward Michael Lombardi right in front of the student section capped off the night for the crowd as Quinnipiac would go on to shutout Yale 4-0.

This win continued the unbeaten streak at home for Quinnipiac against its rivals since the team’s loss to Yale in the national championship in 2013. This also gives the team a sense of pride, most notably for players such as senior defensemen Chase Priskie and Luke Shiplo.

“Before the game, when we were standing in line when they were doing the anthem and stuff, I looked over to Priskie and was like, ‘hey this is our last go,’” Shiplo said. “We know we have the firefighter hat and we haven’t lost that since we’ve been here. It’s just unbelievable playing in the Yale game.”

The excitement of returning students motivates the newer ones to become part of such an enriched and emotional contest.

“It was so breathtaking to see how much school pride everyone has,” Nicole Mormando, a first-year advertising integrated communications major from Manalapan, New Jersey, said. “It really was an amazing experience and I can’t wait for next year.”

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