A true in-state rivalry is inching closer to reality for Yale and Quinnipiac. After much speculation, the two schools are actively discussing the possibility of facing off for the first time on February 20 at Yale’s Ingalls Rink in New Haven, Conn.
“[Discussions] sort of kicked in starting on Wednesday and Thursday,” said Quinnipiac athletic director Jack McDonald, who noted that Yale sits atop his list of ECAC teams to play. If that contest does not occur, Quinnipiac is leaning towards a matchup with Clarkson or Union — in that order.
Yale is set to host Dartmouth on Friday, February 18, but was left without a Saturday opponent after the cancellation of Vermont’s season.
Enter Quinnipiac. Despite being locked in for a two-game series against Fairfield that weekend, the Braves are attempting to schedule the nonconference game against Yale on Sunday, setting up a situation where the Braves would play three games in a three-day span.
“We’ve always looked to Yale as the granddaddy of college hockey in Connecticut,” McDonald said. “We used to scrimmage them and that was a big deal for the kids. The possibility of playing them in a Division I game during the heat of conference play is exciting.”
Since the Vermont announcement, Quinnipiac, which has three open dates available for nonconference contests, had been courted by such ECAC teams as Clarkson, Union and Brown. There has been speculation that Quinnipiac and Union would schedule a game on Feb. 5, as both teams have open dates. The timing for a Union matchup would be perfect for Quinnipiac; the Braves have a 11-day drought sandwiched between an away contest against Connecticut on January 29 and a home bout with Sacred Heart on February 11.
While Quinnipiac has been open about its desire to take on its prospective in-state rival, Yale has been hesitant to schedule the MAAC team thus far. With the Vermont cancellation, however, the prospect of a sold-out Ingalls Rink with no opponent does not apparently sit well with the administration and coaching staff.
“There are a lot of plusses,” Yale head coach Tim Taylor told the New Haven (Conn.) Register on Thursday. “We want to fill the date somehow. There are a lot of season-ticket holders and tickets that have been sold.”