Despite having won six of eight games, the men’s hockey team could technically be considered underdogs at home this weekend, depending on how you look at it.
Considering that the Bulldogs are 5-1 against ranked teams, while having dropped contests to Union, Clarkson and St. Lawrence — who all sit considerably lower than the Bulldogs in conference standings — this perspective could make all the difference in what looks to be a tough pair of ECAC match-ups for the Elis this weekend.
Yale welcomes division rivals Princeton and Quinnipiac to Ingalls Rink this weekend for a pair of 7 p.m. contests.
The No. 18 Elis (13-5-1, 8-3-1 ECAC) currently sit in second place in conference standings, yet are still behind No. 9 Princeton (13-5-0, 8-4-0) in USCHO.com rankings. The Tigers are hot on the Bulldogs’ tails in the ECAC, with only a point separating second and third place.
Despite an impressive start to the season, the Tigers have struggled of late. After dropping their season opener, they went on to win 12 of 13. Yet, since, they have dropped their last three conference match-ups.
As if Yale needed any more incentive to defeat its Ivy rivals, the Tigers knocked the Bulldogs out of the ECAC tournament last season in Princeton, N.J., winning two of three games by a total margin of 10-4. The Elis were shutout in both losses, while winning, 4-3, in their lone victory. The Tigers went on to win the ECAC tournament.
Although unranked, the Bobcats (13-9-2, 6-4-2) — who sit in fifth place in the ECAC standings — are an equally considerable foe, especially considering the fact that Quinnipiac-Yale is the equivalent of the Subway Series — only it’s Interstate 91 that separates the two schools.
According to head coach Keith Allain, the Tigers play a similar style of hockey as the Elis. They emphasize smaller, quicker players as the Bulldogs do, so a high-energy game with a lot of scoring is expected. As for Saturday’s match against Quinnipiac, several Eli players spoke of the great rivalry and of the “buzz” surrounding the game.