Another chapter of the Quinnipiac-Yale on-ice rivalry will be written on Friday night. This latest meeting of neighboring foes can carry serious implications on seeding for the ECAC Men’s Ice Hockey Tournament.
What’s at Stake for the Bobcats:
After taking his team to last year’s NCAA Men’s Ice Hockey Championship, Quinnipiac men’s ice hockey Head Coach Rand Pecknold has watched his Bobcats struggle to find consistency all season long. With an 11-8-1 conference record, Quinnipiac currently sits in the fifth spot in the ECAC. Should the Bobcats finish here, the team will have to play in the first round of the tournament, something not done since 2012.
Ahead of Quinnipiac and in fourth place is St. Lawrence who shares the same number of wins as the Bobcats but has three more ties, bringing its conference record to 11-5-4.
The Bobcats will have a chance to jump the Saints and finish in fourth place, but they will need both perfection and luck. To have the best chance at earning a first round bye, Quinnipiac will need to win both of its matchups this weekend against rival Yale and last-place Brown. The last time Quinnipiac played Yale on Feb. 4, the Bobcats handed the Bulldogs a 5-2 defeat at Ingalls Rink in New Haven, Conn. The day before in Providence, R.I., Quinnipiac narrowly defeated Brown by just a 1-0 margin.
Meanwhile, St. Lawrence is on the road to take on eighth place Dartmouth followed by a tough matchup against second place Harvard. To keep things simple to understand, whichever team between Quinnipiac and St. Lawrence earns more wins this weekend will be automatically through to the ECAC quarterfinal round. If the win totals match, the tie goes to the Saints and the Bobcats will most likely be hosting the 12th seed in a best-of-three matchup.
What’s at Stake for the Bulldogs:
Aside from pride, there is still something to be earned for the seventh place Bulldogs after losing on home ice to the Bobcats a few weeks ago. Yale is mixed in with Dartmouth, Colgate, and Princeton, who all could finish anywhere from seventh to 10th place in the conference.
Yale could also theoretically finish as high as sixth, though it would need a lot to happen. For this high of a finish, the Bulldogs would need to win both of the weekend’s away contests at Quinnipiac and at tenth place Princeton. A tie or a loss would eliminate any chance of a finish in the top half of the conference.
Furthermore, the Bulldogs would need outset help in the form of sixth place Clarkson dropping its final two games of the regular season. Like St. Lawrence, Clarkson will travel to play Harvard and Dartmouth this weekend. The Golden Knights have the edge in conference record, 9-8-3 to the Bulldogs’ 7-9-4, meaning Yale will need Clarkson to lose its remaining two contests even if they win out to take the sixth spot.
Most important for the Bulldogs will be to defend what they currently have: Home-ice advantage in the first round. As long as Yale wins at least one of its games this weekend, the team’s first round series will take place in New Haven. The last time Yale played Princeton, the Bulldogs fell 4-2. The team will need a better result against what should be the less difficult opponent during a tough final weekend of play.
Though rivals, Quinnipiac and Yale are in similar situations with their final landing places for the postseason not completely in their hands. Both teams will share common rooting interests, hoping Harvard and Dartmouth bring their best in their remaining regular season matchups.
Quinnipiac hosts Yale at 7 p.m. on Friday at High Point Solutions Arena. The next night, Quinnipiac will host Brown while Yale travels to Princeton. Puck drop for both Saturday games will also be at 7 p.m.