College hockey will crown a first-time champ tonight as the top-seeded Quinnipiac Bobcats (30-7-5) and Cinderella Yale Bulldogs (21-12-3) battle in Pittsburgh for the 2013 NCAA Men's Division I National Championship (7 PM, ESPN). While the two programs are separated by just 10 miles of Connecticut interstate, the two programs couldn't be more different.
Yale was founded in 1701 ... Quinnipiac University 228 years later. Yale is the oldest college hockey team in the nation, first lacing up the skates in 1896. Quinnipiac joined Division I 102 years later and has only been a member of the ECAC since 2005. Yale is making its first trip to the Frozen Four since 1952. Quinnipiac had yet to win an NCAA Tournament game until this season and is making just their second trip ever to the National Tournament.
Quinnipiac has won all three meetings this season, including a 3-0 shutout in the ECAC Third Place game back on March 23. The Bobcats are 10-5-2 all-time vs. Yale and are currently riding a five game unbeaten streak over Old Eli.
For the Eagles, Boston College and Yale have faced one another 55 times on the ice. BC and Quinnipiac zero. Next season, York and the Eagles should schedule the defending National Champions from down the road in Connecticut. It's not like there won't be room on the non-conference schedule.
With the addition of Notre Dame to the conference next season, Hockey East clubs will have the ability to schedule up to 14 non-conference games a year. While opponents and dates will likely shift around a bit at the AHCA conference in Naples, Florida later this month, right now Boston College should have 5-6 open dates left to schedule for next season. After the two Beanpot games, the Three Rivers Classic in Pittsburgh (two of Robert Morris, Penn State and Bowling Green), a game at Brown and rumored games with the Wisconsin and Minnesota from the Big Ten, there's still some room left to either host the defending champ at Conte, the Yale Whale or Quinnipiac's beautiful TD Bank Sports Center in Hamden.
Can't think of a better way to recognize this year's champ with a non-conference date with a TUC. That, and ...