Connecticut the Dots: Neighboring rivals Yale, Quinnipiac meet for NCAA hockey title
TribLIVE Sports Videos
By itself, Saturday's Frozen Four championship game at Consol Energy Center between Quinnipiac and Yale is a huge, important event for players, fans and the institutions. But there is more to it than even that.
Out of 16 teams that began the NCAA Division I Tournament more than two weeks ago, the two that remain compete in the same conference, have met three times already this season and share a patch of southern Connecticut 15 minutes apart — Quinnipiac in Hamden and Yale in New Haven.
Obviously, both clubs have a lot of smart players.
There also is the question of how each program regards the other in rivalry terms. In Quinnipiac's case the answer is clear.
“At the beginning of the year, every year, people say ‘Can you just imagine if you played Yale for the national championship?' '' senior defenseman Mike Dalhuisen said. “The Yale game, at home or at Yale, is always a huge deal. Probably the biggest deal of the year. But now to do this in the national championship is unbelievable.”
Dalhuisen acknowledged that he and his teammates gathered around a TV and cheered when Yale's overtime goal upset Minnesota in the regional semifinals.
“As soon as Yale scored in overtime we all celebrated,” he said. “And then we took a quick second and we were like, ‘Whoa, this is weird. We're celebrating for Yale.' But, you know, it's kind of cool.”
Junior center Connor Jones said Quinnipiac “hates” every opponent. But Yale is a different kind of opponent. “Everything's a little more intense, for sure,” he said. “A lot more intense.”
Since the teams started playing each other in 2006, Quinnipiac is 10-5-2.
As for Yale, no one player, or two, speaks for the entire team. Jesse Root, Yale's junior center from Mt. Lebanon, handled the question by citing the overall competitiveness of the teams' conference, the Eastern College Athletic Conference.
“I mean, anybody in our league, the league's so close,” he said. “We're definitely seeing the strength of the league this weekend and throughout the tournament. So we treat 'em as any other team.”
Asked if he looked at Quinnipiac as a potential opponent down the road during the tournament, Root said, “No, not really.”
Some Yale players see it differently. Sophomore Anthony Day even brought up North Carolina and Duke in basketball as a comparison. But it is a plain fact that Harvard-Yale is one of the most storied rivalries in all sports.
“I guess Yale doesn't really look at this as a rivalry,” said Kevin Bui, a senior left wing for the Bobcats. “Their program has been so established. I would see this as a backyard brawl more than a rivalry. This is just another chapter to the history of Quinnipiac and Yale. What better way to have it than on the grandest stage of all?”
Yale's Kenny Agostino, a junior left wing, struck a note of compromise.
“You could obviously say that Harvard's our biggest rival,” he said, “but there's certainly a tremendous rivalry that's been built over the years (with Quinnipiac), just being cross-town rivals like that.”
Quinnipiac, ranked No. 1 in the country and the top seed in the East region, had three convincing wins over the Bulldogs this season. But Yale already has beaten a pair of No. 1 seeds in the tournament. Another awaits.
“They're a different team,” Jones said. “They're rolling.”
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Steelers’ defense unfazed by noise, believes in potential
- Phone threats put scare into international flights
- Roman Catholic Diocese of Pittsburgh asking Supreme Court to hear case
- Overhaul possible for West Mifflin’s Century III Mall
- Man dies in North Buffalo fire
- Pirates pound Padres for 7th consecutive victory
- Penguins notebook: After reinterpreting rule, draft pick sought for Bylsma’s hiring
- Kiski River search finds kayak but no kayaker
- Japan to participate in joint exercise with U.S., Australia
- Juvenile status hearing, trial delayed in Franklin Regional stabbings
- Tarentum teen to be tried as an adult in New Year’s shooting