The Quinnipiac Bobcats sit as the top-ranked team in the country for the first time in school history, have already clinched their first ever ECAC regular season title, and guaranteed themselves a trip to the NCAA tournament for the second time in program history. But bragging rights will be on the line tonight when the Bobcats host cross-state rival Yale in a game that can be seen on NBC Sports Network at 7:30 EST.
This will be the second meeting of the season between the two Connecticut rivals, in what is starting to become one of college hockey's more intense rivalries. The first meeting of the season came on February 2nd, at Yale's Ingalls Arena, which was won by Quinnipiac 6-2. Yale jumped out to a 2-0 first period lead in front of a raucous sellout crowd, before the Bobcats bounced back with six unanswered goals in the 19th game of their remarkable 21-game unbeaten streak.
This game has a lot of meaning for Yale outside of the Nutmeg State, as well. The Bulldogs currently sit at 12th in the Pairwise rankings, currently good enough to get them into the NCAA tournament, but they'd likely feel a lot more confident if they could add a win to the country's top team to their resume. They also sit tied for 5th in the ECAC standings, and could use two points to improve their playoff position.
Individually, the Bobcats are led by senior goalie Eric Hartzell, who has had an outstanding season, and been arguably college hockey's best goalie. While both teams have a small handful of late round NHL drafted players, most scouting attention will likely be placed on some talented senior free agent prospects like Quinnipiac leading scorer Jeremy Langlois, and Yale power forward Antoine Laganiere.