|Blue Wave Invades Baker Rink|
This night belonged to Allain's men in blue: in a fitting pre-game a navy and white flag was hoisted in the parking lot accompanied by cigars and red wine. Ivy League tailgating in sub-freezing temps was somehow justified for the followers of this hockey juggernaut, Yale dismantled their orange rivals 6-0, the equivalent of it a tennis-set "bagel" to clinch a share of the Ivy League hockey title.
For the third time in six years the humorless Allain has assembled a national contender: four lines of
|Allain: Testy Taskmaster|
"Alex has been great all year long and I attribute it to hard work," said Allain. "He's really conscientious about preparing on a day-to-day, week-to-week basis, he's got athleticism, he's smart, he approaches things like a pro." The ultimate endorsement coming from a former NHL goaltending coach. The demand for Lyon will never be as high as it is now, and his chance to grab the NCAA brass ring is peaking as well. This all adds up to win now for Yale, because the odds are good that Lyon is playing his final month of hockey in New Haven.
The War on Whitney Avenue: The Rivalry That Isn't
Ever since Quinnipiac joined the ECAC in the 2005-06 campaign, the hockey community in New Haven county rejoiced. "It's the greatest," said New Haven Register beat writer Chip Malafronte. The only guy who won't give the rivalry any love is Allain. "We share a league and we share geography, but the programs are very, very different," said Allain in a New York Times story earlier this season. He then pointed out that they recruit different players, and that Yale does not offer athletic scholarships like Quinnipiac. In his mind, Friday's win versus Princeton had greater significance than the Saturday showdown of ECAC superpowers. "We had an opportunity to share the Ivy League championship tonight," said Allain in the post game media scrum, referring to the fact that this final Ivy victory gave Yale a 7-1-2 record versus Ivy opponents, the same as Harvard, giving them both a share of the crown. "It's a very, very important game." And how about the following night
against first place Quinnipiac? "Two points in the standings." He would not utter another word about the game or the rivalry. Yale has not beaten Quinnipiac in nearly four years, since the NCAA title bout of 2013.
|Eli Glory Daze of 2013|
This is the absolute best chance for Yale to knock off the team that has been at the top of the national polls for the past seven weeks. After Quinnipiac shut out the Bulldogs 3-0 at the Yale Whale back in December, Allain had a long list of team flaws that needed correcting: quickness to the puck; more efficiency on scoring opportunities, strength on sticks, and a faltering power play. Had these issues been addressed in the past 10 weeks? "We'll see," said Allain. "If we do those things well we'll be successful."
Late in the game an injured Yale senior texted that this year's Yale club is better than the 2013 NCAA champs. All-American defenseman Rob O'Gara said the two teams are very similar in all aspects but one: "Our senior class has that experience (of winning it all), and that's something we didn't have freshman year." O'Gara fired home his 13th career goal in the first period and is playing like a colt.
"It's the end of the year, it's exciting," said junior power forward John Hayden, team leader with 15 goals. "I feel good, I feel fresh, I feel confident."
Connecticut's answer to BU-BC, less history, but more intensity. Cats and Dogs. Puck drop 7 pm.