In fact, the schools were even closer in 2005-06, when Quinnipiac played its home games at Yale’s Ingalls Rink, and again in the first half of 2006. The Bobcats opened their new rink in January 2007.
This is the first time there have been two ECAC schools in the Frozen Four since 1983.
“We have tremendous respect for Yale and we wouldn’t be in the ECAC without Yale,’’ said McDonald. “We played our first ECAC season, our home games were in Yale’s rink.’’
In the Northeast Regional, Lowell took out Wisconsin and UNH. In the East Regional, Quinnipiac beat Canisius and Union. In the Midwest Regional, St. Cloud State bested Notre Dame and Miami. And in the West Regional, Yale eliminated Minnesota and North Dakota.
“I think the real dynamic for us are our work ethic and our compete level,’’ said Yale coach Keith Allain, whose team will face Lowell in the semifinals. “And you compound that with a team game, which is what we try to play, and I think it makes us a formidable opponent.’’
Yale is the first Ivy League team to make it to the Frozen Four since Cornell in 2003. Allain said it’s a testament to the level of hockey in the Ivies given their unique challenges.
“I think we all feel that Ivy hockey is as good as any Division 1 hockey in the nation,’’ said Allain. “We don’t have any scholarships and our admission standards are a little bit different than everybody else. But our student-athletes are as committed or more committed than anyone anywhere in the country. And we want to compete at the highest level both in our sport and academically.’’
All four teams are carving their own path toward giving their schools the highest achievement in college hockey.
“It’s Cinderella Quinnipiac University, Cinderella ECAC, Cinderella UMass-Lowell, Cinderella St. Cloud, and Cinderella Yale,’’ said McDonald. “It’s very special. It goes to show you the parity in college hockey. Many people are happy at the uniqueness of this Frozen Four. It’s not the dominant powers we’ve seen before. To have three brand-new Frozen Four teams is just a great statement. It’s pretty amazing and I think it’s a great statement for hockey.’’
Nancy Marrapese-Burrell can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.