Though the ECAC, which boasts the last two national champions, continues to dominate men’s college ice hockey, the highlight of Yale’s schedule might not be any of the four games against conference powerhouses Union and Quinnipiac. The second Rivalry on Ice may take the cake.
Fewer than seven months after the Elis thrashed Harvard 5-1 in the inaugural contest, which pitted the rivals against each other at Madison Square Garden, the Yale men’s hockey team schedule revealed that the series will officially continue on Jan. 10 of next year.
Last season’s game was played in front of a packed house of 15,524 fans. Forward Cody Learned ’16 earned MVP honors after scoring two of three Yale goals in a 3:06 span in the second period.
At the time, Yale head coach Keith Allain ’80 was effusive about the event, saying that if it can “sustain this kind of momentum,” he was all for the series continuing.
“Play[ing] a traditional rival in a building like MSG is something that I know our guys will never forget,” Allain said.
The Bulldogs’ newly released schedule also includes six conference games against NCAA Tournament foes: two each against Colgate, local rival Quinnipiac and defending national champion Union.
Though the Elis found success against Colgate last year, winning each matchup by three goals, things did not go as well against the national champion Dutchmen or against the crosstown rival Bobcats. Following a 3–3 tie at Quinnipiac during the Bulldogs’ second ECAC weekend last season, Yale dropped each of the next three games against the Bobcats, including a pair of ECAC tournament quarterfinal contests.
Union, meanwhile, beat Yale both times the two teams met, though the Dutchmen’s 2–0 victory at Ingalls Rink came despite 49 shots on goal from the men in blue and white.
Among notable nonconference matchups for the Elis this season are away games at Holy Cross and Northeastern, a Nov. 29 home game against the Rochester Institute of Technology and a Jan. 3 date with the Vermont Catamounts, who also appeared in last year’s NCAA Tournament.
Two of those opponents may be familiar to Yale hockey buffs: Both Holy Cross and Vermont appeared on last season’s schedule. In the Bulldogs’ final game of the 2013 calendar year, goals from Learned and fellow forwards Kenny Agostino ’14, Stu Wilson ’16 and Anthony Day ’15 keyed a 4–1 victory over the Crusaders.
“I think every nonconference game we have is going to be a good game against a quality opponent,” defenseman Ryan Obuchowski ’16 said.
Just six days later, on January 4, Yale settled for a 3–3 tie against Vermont after the Catamounts pulled their goalie and found an equalizer with 53 seconds remaining in regulation.
Yale starts this season on Halloween in the Liberty Hockey Invitational. After playing Princeton in the first game, the Elis will take on either UConn or Merrimack in the next round. In last year’s Liberty Invitational, Yale played Brown in the first round before taking on Princeton.