Yale vs. Quinnipiac men’s ice hockey preview

Jamie Palatini

It’s arguably the biggest sporting event of the year at Quinnipiac – The Yale Game. The first two times it was played at The Bank, the student section has been packed an hour prior to gametime, with an overabundance of thundersticks added to the yellow shirts to create a moving sea of gold.

The winner of the game is awarded the Heroes Hat, which was established in honor of those who risked or lost their lives on Sept. 11, 2001, and is given in honor of firefighter Joseph Mascali, whose children are Quinnipiac alumni.

What happened last time?
If you’re looking for a moment when the Bobcats’ fall from grace began, head back to Dec. 4 of last year, specifically 13:36 remaining in their game at Yale. Quinnipiac was  ranked fourth in country at that point, 12-1 overall, and the talk of the college hockey world. Brandon Wong’s power play goal at that mark of the third period gave the Bobcats a 4-3 lead. Then Yale forward Brendan Mason started a fight after the goal and was sent to the box for a 10-minute misconduct. This killed any momentum Quinnipiac had seized with the goal.

Quinnipiac’s two Hobey Baker Award candidates Eric Lampe and Wong began the season on a tear. Wong had 10 goals and 11 assists in his first 13 games, and Lampe had netted seven goals and added 12 helpers. Since then, the two have combined for 10 goals and 12 assists. Broc Little’s 35 points (24 G, 11 A) top Yale and Sean Backman is having a solid senior year with 19 goals. And which team leads not only the ECAC, but the entire country in goals per game, averaging just over four? The Bulldogs. Advantage: Yale

Quinnipiac’s defense is very young, and head coach Rand Pecknold has been dressing four freshmen regularly on the blue line. Brett Dickinson’s eligibility ran out in January, and the defense has been spotty. While Yale’s defense is by no means bulletproof, they haven’t needed to be because the offense has been scoring at such a high clip. Advantage: Push

Both teams have had inconsistencies in net this season. Dan Clarke has seen the bulk of the minutes for the Bobcats and has been serviceable, but he has cooled off following his hot start. Yale’s crease has had a revolving door on it, and this past weekend serves as a prime example. Billy Blase started in net on Friday, allowing three goals on seven shots in the first period. He was pulled in favor of Nick Maricic, who made enough saves to keep Yale in it and get a 7-5 win against St. Lawrence. On Saturday, Jeff Malcolm got the call, and gave up three goals early on. He was yanked in favor of Blase, who only allowed one goal this time to give Yale a 5-4 overtime win. Advantage: Push

Look for a shootout between these crosstown rivals. Yale comes into this weekend on a six-game winning streak, averaging five goals per game in that span. The crowd should breathe some life into a deflated Bobcats team, and in the past, Quinnipiac has often played up to their opponents. But the Bobcats have shown this season that once they get down in a game, they’re down for good. Yale’s offense will win out. Final Score: Yale 5, Quinnipiac 3

Photo credit: Caiti Kaminski