Thursday, February 24, 2011

Yale would love to see Cleary this weekend

Apologies for letting the blog slip this week. Been battling the flu for the second time in six weeks along with my 3-year old, and it ain't pretty.

I did get over to Ingalls Rink this afternoon, where Yale is practicing for its final regular-season home weekend. Union stands in the way of a third-straight Cleary Cup for Yale, but the Bulldogs say they won't be scoreboard watching.

"In an ideal world, it all works out," Senior defenseman Mike Matczak said. "I think most guys in the locker room would say we have bigger aspirations. Hopefully, in a couple weeks the Cleary Cup is an afterthought. At this point, we’re worried about winning as many games as possible and getting ready for the playoffs."

Jimmy Martin said the Bulldogs will be disappointed with a second-place finish in the standings, but since it's out of their control all they can do is try to win both games. The fact that no team has won three straight regular season titles in the ECAC since Harvard from 1992-94 (back when Trumbull's Ted Drury was with the Crimson, at least for two of those crowns) makes it that much more intriguing for Yale.

Typically, 33 points is enough for a title. Yale did it with 32 the past two seasons, and the last that needed more than 33 was Cornell (38) in 2004-05.

Yale at Ingalls Rink in two weeks to host a best-of-3 quarterfinal playoff series. But it will honor its senior class prior to Saturday’s game, an annual tradition at the last regular season home game. The class is already the winningest in program history with 83 wins, surpassing the 72 set by the class of 2010.

Forwards Broc Little, Denny Kearney, Brandon Mason and Chris Cahill, defensemen Martin, Matczak and Ken Trentowski and goalie Ryan Rondeau will all be in the lineup. Forward Jeff Anderson, out since early December with a leg injury, isn’t quite ready to return. But he is skating again, and has made "amazing progress" according to Allain.

Quinnipiac is in its own fight. The Bobcats can help Yale by knocking off Union on Friday, and clinch home ice for the first round themselves. Since it owns no tiebreakers with the other teams in contention for the top eight spots, Quinnipiac will need at least two points at Union and RPI (Saturday).


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