The men’s ice hockey rivalry between Quinnipiac University and Yale University will be renewed this Friday at the TD Banknorth Sports Center. There will be excitement, intensity and, if all goes well, a giant pile of stuffed animals, thanks to the second annual Teddy Bear Toss, of course.
The last time these teams met up, Yale dominated Quinnipiac at Ingalls Rink in New Haven. The Bobcats were shut out for the first time since Nov. 11 and failed to score for only the fourth time this season. After a scoreless first period, Yale netted two goals in the second period against freshman goalie Dan Clarke. The Bulldogs notched another goal in the third to bring the final score to 3-0.
Despite the loss, the Bobcats are 5-2-0 against the Bulldogs, dating back to the 2005-06 season. The only other loss came in the 2005-06 season on Jan 8. In that contest, Yale edged Quinnipiac, 4-3.
In a switch from most other seasons, Yale currently sits at the top of the ECAC standings. They are 14-3-1 in the ECAC, putting them ahead of second-place Princeton with 29 points. The Bulldogs’ overall record is 19-5-1. They have been especially hot as of late, as they are riding an eight-game win streak coming into the contest against Quinnipiac.
On the other hand, the Bobcats have struggled within the conference. They are 2-4 in their last six games against conference opponents and are 4-6 overall in their last 10 games. With an 8-8-2 record in ECAC play, Quinnipiac is currently tied for sixth place with 18 points.
The Bobcats have been blessed with plenty of offense this season, but have had trouble establishing a consistent defense. Led by their top scorers, David Marshall and Bryan Leitch, Quinnipiac has scored a conference-leading 97 goals this season. Unfortunately, they have also allowed 81 goals and have posted a .902 save percentage, good for 11th in the conference.
After winning 20 or more games in eight of their last nine seasons, the Bobcats have an overall record of 15-13-2 with only four regular-season games remaining. The only other time they did not reach the 20-win mark was the 2003-04 season, when they managed a 15-14-6 record overall.
For the game on Friday, the teams will not just be fighting to improve their records. After a one-year hiatus, Yale and Quinnipiac will once again be battling for the “Heroes’ Hat” award. This award is presented to the winner of the final game of the season between the teams. The award is a tribute to honor those who risked or lost their lives during the World Trade Center attacks on Sept. 11, 2001.
The “Heroes’ Hat” began in 2002, and was at first a contest between Quinnipiac and the University of Connecticut. The Bobcats won the award four years in a row before it turned into a contest against Yale. The award especially remembers Joseph Mascali, whose family will present the award to the winning team.
This rivalry, however, will not be all about awards and standings. The Teddy Bear Toss will be taking place during first intermission of the game. Bobcat and Bulldog fans alike will be encouraged to team up, bring a stuffed animal to the game, and throw it on to the ice. The stuffed animals will go to the Yale-New Haven Children’s hospital as a donation through Don’s Hat Rack.
With so many events taking place, the game promises to be entertaining for everyone. The Bobcats hope to start off their last home weekend on a good note with a victory over Yale. The Bulldogs wish to keep their winning streak alive and clinch first place in the standings. Both will be vying for the “Heroes’ Hat” and bragging rights.
After this game, Quinnipiac will host Brown (2-19-4) on Saturday, Feb. 21 at the TD Banknorth Sports Center. Quinnipiac will be holding Senior Day events before the game begins at 7 p.m.