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February 6, 2013 E-MAIL PRINT Bookmark and Share

The Heating of a Rivalry

Quinnipiac, Yale — Top 10 and 10 Miles Apart

by Bryan Lipiner/CHN Reporter

NEW HAVEN, Conn. — In the midst of the program's best season to date, Quinnipiac has rattled off a 19-game unbeaten streak dating back to Nov. 9 against Colgate, while also playing to a 12-0-2 record in conference play. This streak has put Quinnipiac into some lofty territory — first in the Pairwise and first in KRACH.

“Our confidence as a team has been excellent,” goaltender Eric Hartzell said. “Everyone shows up to practice ready to work every day, and that’s the biggest reason for all of this.”

Some 10 miles down the road from Quinnipiac's Hamden, Conn., campus is New Haven, home of the more distinguished and prestigious Yale University.

On the ice, Yale has taken seven of their last nine after starting the year 2-2-1, placing seventh in the Pairwise.

Yale, of course, is known for berthing many American presidents, while the closest Quinnipiac has come to that is its growing reputation as home to a national political polling operation.

Even on the ice, Yale, while not historically up there with college hockey powerhouses, has been more accomplished, especially recently.

All of this is changing, and for both squads, 2013 has provided a unique opportunity, since the teams had yet played to this high of a caliber simultaneously. This level of play set the scene perfectly leading into Saturday evening at Ingalls Rink for the first matchup of the season between the Bobcats and Bulldogs.

The game was played in front of a packed and electric crowd at Yale's Ingalls Rink. There's a long way to go to match the intensity of other notable geographic rivals — Boston University and Boston College, separate by a couple of miles; and Clarkson and St. Lawrence, 10 miles apart; both of have decades of history of huge games — but it's a start.

After two Yale power play goals within the first 6:45 against one of the top penalty kills in the country, Quinnipiac head coach Rand Pecknold called his timeout to re-organize his team’s composure. The Bobcats responded with six unanswered scores, overcoming Yale’s initial lead and drubbing the Bulldogs, 6-2. Three of Quinnipiac’s goals came via the power play.

“It’s a huge rivalry. It’s at the point where it’s almost an event, which is great for the state of Connecticut,” Pecknold said. “Both teams competed and played hard tonight. We’re real fortunate to get out on top.”

Established in 2005, the War for Whitney Ave. began when Quinnipiac joined the ECAC after leaving Atlantic Hockey. The rivalry didn’t officially begin until Jan. 8, 2006 at Ingalls; the first ECAC meeting between Quinnipiac and Yale, with the contest ended in a 4-3 Bulldog victory. The Bobcats have since led the all-time series, playing to an 8-5-2 record.

But for Yale, it's still a secondary rivalry, unable to compete with centuries of animosity built up against Harvard, Princeton and Cornell.

But because of how good the teams have become, there is finally credence to the promise of a big rivalry hoped for when Quinnipiac joined the ECAC.

It helped when, in 2007, Quinnipiac-Yale meetings held in Hamden have assumed the title of the Heroes Hat Championship; a contest dedicated to those who lost their lives in the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001. The Bobcats have gone 4-1-1 in those games.

This year, Quinnipiac and Yale are currently first and second in the ECAC standings with 26 and 19 points, respectively. Unfortunately for Yale, they may be without starting goaltender Jeff Malcolm for the stretch run of the season. The senior left Friday night’s game against Princeton injured in the first period, only to be replaced by backup Nick Maricic.

Allain declined to disclose the nature or timetable of Malcolm’s injury.

Meanwhile, Yale hopes to reverse their luck starting with a road matchup at Brown next weekend, before finishing their season series with Quinnipiac at The TD Bank Sports Center on Feb. 22.

"We have a great fan base, they know hockey and love Yale hockey,” Yale senior Andrew Miller said. “This is nothing new."

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