Preview: No. 1 men’s ice hockey preps for regular season finale vs. rival Yale

Nick Solari

When Quinnipiac men’s ice hockey senior captain Soren Jonzzon reflects on his four years as a part of the rivalry vs. Yale, he thinks about one specific night during his freshman year.

Jonzzon, living in a freshman residence hall at the time, remembers hearing students scream in excitement at 10 p.m. after being lucky enough to get a ticket to the latest chapter of the War for Whitney Avenue.

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That was when he first realized just how big of an event the game was.

“I remember thinking at that time, ‘this is really cool for us,’” Jonzzon said. “It’s been so much fun just to see everyone rally behind us so much… Obviously, having the fans be so amped up and loud, it means a lot.”

Jonzzon and the Bobcats enter the weekend with a 23-2-7 overall record, posting an impressive 14-1-5 mark in ECAC play. If the Bobcats earn just one point in the regular season’s final weekend, they’ll clinch the top seed heading into the conference tournament.

Quinnipiac hosts Brown on Friday night, then caps off its regular season against Yale on Saturday. The No. 7 Bulldogs currently sit in second place in the conference, boasting a 13-4-3 record.

“I think now that it’s getting toward the end of the year, everyone is focusing in and realizing how important each game is,” Quinnipiac alternate-captain Sam Anas said. “Every game is equally as important, and these last two games are big for us before the playoffs start here.”

Anas currently leads the Bobcats with 42 points (21 goals, 21 assists) in the 2015-16 season. Senior Travis St. Denis has recorded 36 points of his own, netting 17 goals and adding 19 assists.

For St. Denis and his teammates, taking things one day at a time has been the recipe for success all season long.

“The mindset is to just get ready for playoffs,” St. Denis explained. “With our league it doesn’t matter who we play, we need to play a full 60 [minutes]. We’re kind of getting into the playoff mentality now.”

But even though Quinnipiac has to take care of business first on Friday, St. Denis says he’s excited for Saturday’s bout with Yale.

“I always look forward to it every year. Every time we play them it’s been kind of an unreal game.”

Jonzzon says the veteran Quinnipiac players will likely talk with the team on Saturday morning, going over what to expect from the different atmosphere the Yale game brings.

And for Jonzzon, St. Denis and the other Quinnipiac seniors, it could be the last time they get a taste of the rivalry.

“It’s going to be loud and exciting,” Jonzzon said with a smile. “You’ve just got to enjoy it.”

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