Quinnipiac continues rivalry with Yale in ECAC Hockey Playoffs

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Photos: Olamide Gbotosho

Jack Main

What’s better than two bitter rivals facing off in a win-or-go-home playoff series?  When it’s the latest installment of the Battle of Whitney Ave.

For the first time since 2018, Quinnipiac and Yale will face off in the Men’s ECAC Hockey Playoff this weekend in Hamden. The winner of this quarterfinals series will advance to Lake Placid, New York, for a chance at the Whitelaw Cup and an automatic NCAA Tournament bid.

Matchup History (Playoffs)

The Bobcats and Bulldogs have met in the playoffs four times, playing six games. Quinnipiac has won five of them, but Yale’s lone victory came on the largest stage.

The first two times came in the 2013 season, playing twice in two different rounds. The first game was in the ECAC Hockey Tournament consolation game, a 3-0 win for the Bobcats in Atlantic City. It was also the game in which Quinnipiac senior goaltender Eric Hartzell tallied his program record 10th shutout.

The second matchup during the 2013 NCAA playoff run came in the National Championship Game at the home of the Pittsburgh Penguins, the CONSOL Energy Center. It was the first Finals appearance for either team. Yale exacted revenge on its in-state rival with a 4-0 shutout, clinching Yale’s first National Championship.

The very next season, the Bobcats hosted the Bulldogs in the ECAC Hockey Quarterfinals, sweeping the series 2-0. It was a big offensive series for the Bobcats, who outscored Yale 11-5.  James Connor lead the way with three points and the Clifton brothers, Tim and Connor, each scored a goal in Game One.

The teams didn’t meet in the playoffs again for four years, until the 2018 first round. This time, Ingalls Rink was the backdrop, as Quinnipiac had fallen to the nine seed and visited Yale. The home ice advantage didn’t help the Bulldogs, who lost by a combined score of 9-2.

All-Time Series   

Quinnipiac leads the all-time series vs Yale, 24-7-5.  Quinnipiac’s longest winning streak is six games and counting. The Bobcats haven’t lost more than two games in a row to the Bulldogs since 2010-2011. Quinnipiac is coming off its largest margin of victory against Yale in program history, a decisive 5-0 win to wrap up the regular season on February 29th.

What the experts think:

Steven Pappas: Quinnipiac in 2

Quinnipiac is one of the hottest teams in ECAC Hockey right now. They finished their season going 7-2-1 and are coming fresh off a 5-0 romping of the very team they are playing this weekend.

The only advantage for Yale might be the lack of fans in attendance, however the Bulldogs have struggled mightily in Hamden, not beating the Bobcats on opponent ice since 2011. It should be a quick series.  

Tom Krosnowski: Quinnipiac in 3

 Yale is coming off a huge series win against Union, winning two in a row, with the decisive Game Three going into double overtime.  The Bulldogs will ride into Hamden on a bit of a high, and with the inexperienced Bobcats not playing in two weeks, they might be a bit rusty out of the gate. However, the Bobcats have the edge on offense, goaltending and special teams and should pull away.

“I don’t know if I trust the Bobcats to get a sweep, but over 180 minutes of hockey, they will show that they are a better team.”

Patrick Flatley: Quinnipiac in 3

Quinnipiac is flat-out the better team, and they don’t lose to Yale at home.  Yale hasn’t scored a goal in Hamden since current captain Evan Smith did so in a 3-2 Bulldogs loss on February 24, 2017.

However, anything can happen in the playoffs, and if the Bulldogs have their backs up against the wall after Game One, expect them to come out firing in Game Two. The Bobcats will take it in three.

How to listen:

Tom Krosnowski and Connor Ullathorne will be on the call for all three games. You can listen at www.theqbsn.com/listen.

Be sure to follow @QBSN on Twitter and Instagram for updates from the ECAC Hockey playoffs, as well as the MAAC Basketball Tournament in Atlantic City.