Why They’ll Win: Yale vs. Quinnipiac
|YALE BULLDOGS||QUINNIPIAC BOBCATS|
Go ahead and tally the reasons why Yale won’t beat its East Coast Athletic Conference brethren from Quinnipiac. The Bulldogs haven’t, yet, in 2013. They’ve lost to Quinnipiac three times this season; to outsiders, they should prepare to hang a fourth on that albatross.
Here is why they will beat Quinnipiac.
Easy stuff first: It’s the national championship, not the regular season or a conference tournament. The big stage and circumstance might be the big equalizer.
“Early in the year, I thought we were pretty good,” Yale head coach Keith Allain said. “And I told everyone that we'd be better in January than we were in December, and we'd be better in March than we were in January. Because of the time and the focus and the energy that these guys put into it, that's turned out to be true.”
Familiarity works both ways. Quinnipiac knows Yale; Yale knows Quinnipiac.
At some point, Yale must beat Quinnipiac. Numbers, odds, dice rolls ... have to come up “Bulldogs,” when so unfavorable.
Media scuttlebutt following Thursday’s national semifinals conceded the difficulty of one team beating another four consecutive times. More numerology: Yale enters the national title game with a 21-12-3 record. No men’s hockey team has won a championship with fewer than 22 victories since Michigan State did in 1966. Minnesota won the 1974 national championship with exactly 22 victories.
Another thing for the Bulldogs to buck.
Another is those three loses to Quinnipiac, the latter in the ECAC tournament consolation game.
Here are two qualifiers: The first loss came during Yale’s season-worst, five-game losing streak in February. The third loss was a game neither team wanted to play, after both had lost the previous day in the ECAC tournament semifinals.
Toss it out the window, per Allain.
“I think emotionally our team is in a different place now,” he said Friday. “In a consolation game, no one likes to play a consolation game, first of all. ... I don't think there was much life on either team.”
At some point, Yale must solve Quinnipiac goaltender Eric Hartzell. Why not the national championship game?
The Bulldogs already have chomped one elite goaltender. UMass-Lowell’s freshman sensation, Connor Hellebuyck, who entered Thursday’s national semifinal against Yale with 20 victories and the nation’s best goals-against average and save percentage, left defeated.
Finally, there is confidence, which comes back to familiarity, and pressure.
It’s all on top-ranked Quinnipiac.
-- Denise Maloof, NCAA.com
Why will Quinnipiac win it all Saturday night? C’mon. Just look at its record against Yale this season. Three wins, zero losses. This year, Quinnipiac has Yale’s number.
-- Rick Houston, NCAA.com