Four Schools, One Trophy
This weekend the state’s four NCAA Division I men’s hockey programs — UConn, Yale, Sacred Heart, and Quinnipiac — will battle at Webster Bank Arena in Bridgeport, Conn. to determine who will take the throne of CT College Hockey royalty in the SNY Connecticut Ice Tournament. The weekend slate for the 2020 Connecticut Ice Tournament features 4 total games, with 2 preliminary games Saturday featuring matchups of UConn vs. #18 nationally ranked Quinnipiac, and Yale vs. Sacred Heart. Sunday’s matchup will feature the Championship game at 7:00 PM and a consolation game between the two other teams at 3:00 PM.
Quinnipiac is currently the only nationally ranked team in Connecticut, but Sacred Heart has made a strong case for being in the national discussion this year, earning their first top 20 ranking in program history this year. They boast a ton of talent in Jason Cotton, Mike Lee, Matt Tugnutt, and Austin Mcllmurray who make up four of the five Atlantic Hockey leaders in points. With a highly-skilled offense, and only two out of conference losses and 7 total, this season (14-7-2) a matchup between the Pioneers and Quinnipiac in the finals could be likely.
UConn has shown promise defeating some nationally-ranked teams this year, most notably and recently, an OT win over a skilled Northeastern Huskies squad ranked #12 in the country. Like the past few seasons since their birth in the Hockey East Conference, inconsistent play has plagued the Huskies once again, although finishing the mid-way point of the season above .500 for the first time this year. The Huskies went from hoping to compete in their conference to expecting to win in the most highly regarded conference in college hockey. Finally, we get to the nation’s oldest college hockey program in the Yale Bulldogs, a team that has struggled early on in the season but seems to be on an upswing winning 5 of their last 7 games. Yale boasts the ultimate bragging rights in being the only CT team to bring home a National Championship in 2013, and the loser of that game? No other than the team whose home ice is eight miles down the road in Hamden, Quinnipiac.
Could we see a 2013 National Championship rematch between these two teams who have become a great rivalry for CT Hockey? Maybe we’ll see UConn continue to start this new year off on the right foot with a big victory of QU. Sacred Heart could very easily continue to show the state and the nation why they should earn their first NCAA tournament berth this year. Only time will tell, this is a great opportunity for each program, and more importantly Connecticut hockey in general, we hope it will be a tradition for years to come!