The last time Yale and Quinnipiac met on the ice the stakes were extremely high. The two schools were meeting at the CONSOL Energy Center in Pittsburgh to decide the winner of the 2013 NCAA National Championship. Yale came out on top that night to win the school's first national championship.
Saturday night at the High Point Solutions Arena on the campus of Quinnipiac the two teams will meet again. This time all that is on the line are two points in the ECAC standings, but don't tell that to the fans who are paying well over double face value on StubHub to get a chance to witness the rematch.
The two schools, separated by just eight miles, are both expected to once again challenge for ECAC supremacy and be in contention for another chance at the national tournament.
Quinnipiac is off to a hot start at 8-1 on the season. Rand Pecknold's team hasn't lost since an opening night defeat at the hands of Alaska-Anchorage. The Bobcats' top line of Connor and Kellen Jones and freshman Sam Anas is virtually unstoppable. Reinforcements up front such as Matthew Peca, Jordan Samuels-Thomas and Travis St. Denis provide QU with an advantage in depth. The defense has been adhering to the game plan and helping sophomore goaltender Michael Garteig step into the big skates of graduated Eric Hartzell who now plays in the Pittsburgh Penguins organization.
Yale is 2-1-1 in its bid to repeat as national champions. The Bulldogs lost their emotional leader, Andrew Miller, and starting goaltender Jeff Malcolm to graduation. Seniors Jesse Root and Kenny Agostino are the two big offensive catalysts up front. Junior Anthony Day who only had one goal last season has already tripled his production from a year ago. Freshman forward John Hayden, a USNTDP alum, is expected to make noise. Boston Bruins draft pick Rob O'Gara is one of the most underrated defenseman in the nation. He is chipping in more offensively this season, but his real forte is his shutdown ability. One of two freshmen, Patrick Spano or Alex Lyon, will be between the pipes for Keith Allain's team on Saturday night.
Both teams have other opponents to face first on Friday night. Yale visits Princeton while Quinnipiac hosts Brown. The coaching staffs have emphasized to their teams to not overlook the first foe of the weekend, but don't blame the fans for their excitement. Quinnipiac and Yale have quickly turned into one of the better rivalries in college hockey.
Jeff Cox covers college and junior hockey, NCAA recruiting, NHL Draft prospects and the AHL for SBNation. Follow him on twitter @JeffCoxSBNation.