Student section steals the show as Quinnipiac tops Yale in Battle of Whitney Avenue


Jack Muscatello

Official attendance for the Quinnipiac men’s hockey’s Feb. 17 game against Yale is listed as 3625, over 200 more than the listed capacity of M&T Bank Arena.

Cat Murphy, Associate News Editor

 There is never a scarcity of media coverage of the Quinnipiac men’s hockey team. The players. The games. The statistics. 

Rarely covered, though, are the fans. 

Head coach Rand Pecknold’s squad, like many other collegiate sports teams, boasts a dedicated fanbase with its own share of unique campus traditions. 

No tradition in Quinnipiac ice hockey culture looms larger than the phrase “Beat Yale.” 

The annual Battle of Whitney Avenue between the Connecticut rivals took center stage on Feb. 17 as the 5-16-4 Bulldogs headed to Hamden to face the 24-3-3 Bobcats. 

Prior to puck drop, several members of the Quinnipiac community turned to Yik Yak, an anonymous social media app that allows users to view posts within a five-mile radius of their location, to discuss the game. 

“Quick guys, let’s get a bag of air inside the M&T Bank Arena for the Yale game and then sell it on eBay afterwards,” one user posted a few hours before the game. 

Beyond the classic “Yuck Fale” and “Happy Beat Yale Day” posts, dozens of students took to the app to sell and buy student tickets to the game. 

“y’all are so shady for selling tickets you got for free but shit i would be doing the same thing,” one user wrote. 

Ticket posts on Yik Yak became so frequent in the hours leading up to the game that other users began mocking the trend. 

“Are you looking for a Yale game ticket?” one user wrote. “Call your local dealer today!” 

Another user joked on the app about selling tickets but “only accepting payment in the form of answering riddles.” 

“if in the student section ye wish to be, ye must answer my riddles three,” another user commented in response. 

Although most fans in attendance donned Quinnipiac gold, a select few honored a Bobcat tradition that has defined the front row of the student section for more than a decade: the Teletubbies. 

“Only way to get into the Yale game,” said John Killam, senior film, television and media arts major, about his decision to don a Teletubby costume. “I couldn’t get a ticket, so (my friend) offered me the opportunity to be a Teletubby at the game.” 

The tubbies were far from the only costumed fans, though. One fan in the arena donned a Quinnipiac onesie, while another dressed in a banana suit. 

Headgear, too, came in several varieties. In addition to beanies, baseball caps, yellow hard-hats and one hot dog hat, many students at the game donned bone-shaped foam hats distributed before the game as part of Quinnipiac Athletics’ partnership with Connecticut Orthopaedics. 

Between turning around during the Bulldogs’ pre-game lineup announcement and doing “the wave,” Quinnipiac students, Teletubbies, banana-fans, construction workers and boneheads alike engaged in a myriad of Bobcat traditions to invigorate the crowd. 

“The energy of the fans is going to electrify this team,” said Samantha Hartmann, a graduate business administration student who arrived at the stadium seven hours before puck drop. “The hours beforehand, you have a whole lot of fun and then the team brings the rest of the energy to you.” 

The student section was not without its lulls, though. 

Although the final score reflected Quinnipiac’s dominating performance in the final two frames, the Bobcats’ unproductive first period sparked early panic in some students. 

“We were in pain,” Hartmann said about Yale’s 1-0 lead at the end of the first period. “You could see it on our faces—we were sitting there very defeated.” 

Graduate business administration student Samantha Hartmann arrived at M&T Bank Arena seven hours before Friday’s game against Yale. (Jack Muscatello)

Other fans posted to Yik Yak about the uncomfortable first period. 

“I was pissed and wanted to cry,” one user wrote after the game about the first period. “Thank god they got their shit together.” 

However, several students at the game were adamant that the Bulldogs’ early lead was meaningless. 

“I’m excited for the second period,” said Jake Cassidy, a first-year health science studies major in the entry-level physician assistant program, during the first intermission. “We’re going to score three goals.” 

Predicting that the Bulldogs would not score again, first-year mechanical engineering major Kyle Derienzo said the Bobcats had allowed Yale freshman forward David Chen to score because the team had not netted a goal against Quinnipiac since February 2020. 

“We felt bad for them,” Derienzo said. “We let them score.” 

Scored 37 seconds apart in the second period, Quinnipiac freshman forward Sam Lipkin’s game-tying and go-ahead goals at 14:27 and 15:04 re-energized the arena. 

“It was exhilarating,” said Cassidy, who also plays the drums in the Quinnipiac Pep Band. “That’s the only word to describe the energy in the room.” 

Both Derienzo and Cassidy’s predictions ultimately rang true: the Bulldogs failed to find the back of the net again and the Bobcats went on to score three goals in the second period before netting another two in the third. 

Although Yale’s first-period goal quieted the anxious crowd for the majority of the first half, Quinnipiac’s assertive five-goal response electrified the student section for the remainder of the game. 

“The energy just exploded after that first goal,” Cassidy said after the game. “I feel like that carried over for the next four and Yale just couldn’t keep up.” 

The Bulldogs could not keep up on the ice. Off it, however, the Bobcats’ student section could.