November 8, 2013

Yale, Quinnipiac set for national championship rematch

By Dan Guttenplan

The Bulldogs captured the 2013 national championship with a 4-0 victory over Quinnipiac in the title game. (Photo: Dave Arnold/New England Hockey Journal)

It's not every weekend that the eyes of the college hockey world are on ECAC Hockey.

Much attention is expected to be paid to the conference Saturday night when Yale and Quinnipiac square off in a rematch of last year's national championship game.

Yale came out on top in that game, 4-0, recording the last of three upsets of No. 1 seeds in the NCAA tournament. The Bulldogs entered the national tournament as the 16th seed of 16 teams.

Quinnipiac entered as the No. 1 seed, and thus, the Bobcats will be hungry to make a statement after last year's disappointment. They spent seven weeks last season ranked atop the college rankings in the midst of a 21-game unbeaten streak in January and February.

Despite the attention that is being paid to Saturday's game, Quinnipiac coach Rand Pecknold insists he isn't looking past Friday's game against in-state rival Brown.

"Honestly, we're thinking about Brown," said Pecknold. "Saturday morning, we'll have a film session (in preparation for Yale)."

Quinnipiac (8-0-1) will look drastically different than the team that skated for a national championship in March after the graduation of 11 seniors. Freshman Sam Anas has emerged as a top scorer on a line with two potential 100-point scorers in brothers Connor and Kellen Jones. Connor recorded his 100th point last weekend, while Kellen sits at 97 points. Anas is tied for third in the nation in scoring on the smallest line in Division 1 hockey. None of the three players stands taller than 5-foot-9 or weighs more than 165 pounds.

If you're thinking of going to Saturday's game at Quinnipiac, good luck. The game is sold out and is likely to eclipse the 4,074 fans that attended the game at Quinnipiac last February.

Player of the Week

Sam Anas, Quinnipiac University

Freshman, Forward

Anas continued his hot play with a team-leading five point weekend in a pair of wins against Colgate and No. 14 Cornell. In a 7-2 win against Colgate, Anas had a goal and three assists while he also picked up an assist in the Bobcats 3-0 win against Cornell. Anas' five points were the most among all Division 1 skaters in the nation last weekend.

Game of the Week

Yale at Quinnipiac

Saturday, 7 p.m. (TD Bank Sports Center)

A rematch of last year's national championship game, tickets on StubHub are selling for $150 to $200 each for the best seats and $50 each for general admission.

ECAC Rankings

1. Quinnipiac (8-1-0, 2-0-0): Goaltender Michael Garteig ran his winning streak to eight games Saturday night with his first career shutout against Cornell. The ECAC Hockey Goalie of the Month was 8-1-0 with a 1.56 GAA.

2. Yale (2-1-1, 1-0-1): Yale lost its opener against Brown in its first game back on the ice after last year's national championship, and the Bulldogs tied St. Lawrence last weekend after unveiling their banner at home. Otherwise, they're perfect. Lesson: No more celebrating last season.

3. Clarkson (7-2-1, 1-1-0): Clarkson has seven wins through the first 10 games after compiling just nine in 36 contests last year. The Knights are 4-0-1 in one-goal games this season after winning just three of 17 one-goal games in 2012-13.

4. RPI (5-2-1, 1-1-1): Junior forward Ryan Haggerty (Stamford, Conn.) has 10 goals through eight games.

5. St. Lawrence (4-2-2, 0-0-2): In eight games, freshman Matt Carey (5-5-10) and his All-American brother Greg Carey (4-9-13) have combined for nine goals, 14 assists and 23 points.

6. Union (3-2-2, 2-0-0): The Dutchmen must be feeling like there's no place like ECAC Hockey. After going 1-2-2 in its non-league games, they swept Dartmouth and Harvard last weekend.

7. Cornell (3-1-0, 1-1-0): Big Red goaltender Andy Iles made his 74th consecutive start Saturday night in a loss to Quinnipiac.

8. Harvard (2-1-1, 1-1-1): Goaltender Raphael Girard appears to have secured the job at Harvard with two shutouts in four games.

9. Brown (2-1-1, 0-1-1): After posting an 0-1-1 record in a road set at St. Lawrence and Clarkson last weekend, the Bears will be eager to make a statement against Quinnipiac Friday night.

10. Princeton (1-3-0, 0-2-0): Freshman Colton Phinney made his debut in net for Princeton Saturday in a 3-1 loss to Colgate.

11. Colgate (3-5-1, 1-1-0): The Red Raiders scored three third-period goals Saturday night in a victory over Colgate.

12. Dartmouth (0-4-0, 0-2-0): The Big Green hit rock bottom last weekend when they allowed 14 goals in losses to RPI and Union.

Twitter: @Dan_Guttenplan