Friday, April 12, 2013

The Whitney War: Part 4, For All the Marbles

By: Luke Devoe

And here we are... on the verge of something unbelievable, special, unprecedented, epic. Our Quinnipiac Bobcats, the once complacent, up-and-coming nobodies from unknown Hamden are on the precipice of hockey immortality. The only foe standing between the Bobcats and a permanent etching in the college hockey record books is that pesky, suspender-clad neighbor ten miles down the road. It just figures. It just fits.

Myself and the Eagle
I'm going to do my best not to tell you something that's already been written about, pretty tough considering you can't visit any form of social media without reading a ridiculous historical stat on the matchup. It seems the only people who aren't hip to this news are the fine folks at ESPN's Sportscenter who refuse to show game highlights for whatever reason. I digress, we've heard all the storylines... this is the first time in state teams have met in a final since BU and BC in 1978, the ECAC hasn't won a national title since Harvard did it in 1989 and obviously neither of these squads have ever gotten this far. How could anyone in the college hockey universe not love this? No matter what happens here on out, it's uncharted territory.

On one hand you have Quinnipiac, a team that's been at the top of the heap for nearly three quarters of the season but has had no experience at this level. On the other hand you have the Bulldogs, a team that has actually been very relevant in past seasons, reaching recent national tournaments, notching big wins but never elevating to this level. Yale is an anomaly. They claim to rely on senior Jeff Malcolm in net, aren't entirely deep on offense or defense but have rallied around Head Coach Keith Allain, bought in, and look like a far cry from the debacle of a team that laid two eggs in Atlantic City. Quinnipiac is a defensive oriented squad with some certain, undeniable fire power on offense. They have Hobey Baker finalist Eric Hartzell in net and while it didn't take as long as Yale, they, too, have gelled early on this year.

Watching the Yale/Umass-Lowell game I found myself rooting for Lowell. Not because of my usual ill will toward Eli but simply out of a humble fear that our arch rival could possibly be the villain to derail this dream of a season. But now that the matchup is set, I couldn't see it any other way. This is what will separate this national championship from some of the past. The familiarity breeding its proverbial contempt will be in full force at Consol Saturday night. Fan bases, benches, coaches, trainers, mascots, bands that are infinitely familiar with one another will face off one last time on the grandest of stages.  Even writing this, I can't believe the extraordinary circumstances that are in front of us and in front of seniors on both sides. This is their final go. I can't speak for the Bulldogs, though I've come to admire senior captain Andrew Miller's stoic confidence throughout this run, but for our Bobcats we will say good bye to eleven incredible student athletes who, win or lose, have fulfilled Rand and Jack's dream of bringing the Q to the top, never again to be overlooked, maligned or poked fun at.

I know I haven't been as venomous as I normally am when discussing the Bulldogs, maybe chalk it up to the unrelenting happiness I'm feeling, but if we were to drop this one, it would sure burn. However, it couldn't possibly derail the pride I am feeling as a Quinnipiac University alum. While I have the soapbox let me say, Quinnipiac hockey has become a lifestyle for myself and many others. I have fostered some incredible, lasting friendships because of it and want a national title so much more for those people than for myself.  60 minutes boys. One more to go.

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