Connecticut Ice Teams

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You may not know how to pronounce Quinnipiac, but any college hockey fan knows the program has been a national powerhouse in the sport for a while.

The Bobcats are led by longtime head coach Rand Pecknold, who has been at the helm for 26 seasons. Entering the year, Pecknold posted 511 career wins, the third most for active Division I coaches. Quinnipiac has had a winning season 21 out of the past 22 years, including recent Frozen Four berths in 2013 and '16.

Last season, Quinnipiac claimed its fourth Cleary Cup (ECAC Hockey regular-season championship) before falling 3-1 to Minnesota Duluth in the NCAA Tournament's Midwest Regional Final. The 26-10-2 overall record was driven by NCAA statistical goaltender champion Andrew Shortridge and Hobey Baker finalist Chase Priskie. Both have gone on to sign NHL contracts, respectively -- Shortridge with the San Jose Sharks and Priskie with the Carolina Hurricanes.

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Sitting in first place in the Atlantic Conference, Sacred Heart Pioneers have made their mark in college hockey this season, cracking the USCHO Top 20 poll for the first time in the program's history.

A new decade feels like a new beginning for this program. It hasn't been smooth sailing up to this point for Sacred Heart, which is the only Connecticut team to be nationally ranked this season.

The team started as a Division III program before the MAAC was formed as a Division I hockey conference. MAAC ice hockey folded after the 2002-03 season and the following season the remaining nine MAAC ice hockey programs formed Atlantic Hockey.

Sacred Heart reached the Atlantic Hockey championship in 2004 and 2010. Current head coach C.J. Marottolo took over in 2009, and the Atlantic Hockey Association named Marottolo "Bauer Coach of the Year" for the 2009-10 season. Since then, the Pioneers have struggled, never finishing higher than eighth in Atlantic Hockey from 2011-2018.

The 2018-19 Pioneers took a step in the right direction, finishing fourth in Atlantic Hockey. This season, Sacred Heart currently leads Army by two points for first place in Atlantic Hockey, with a 14-7-1 record heading into their series with Canisius on Friday. Sacred Heart is aiming for its first-ever Atlantic Hockey title.

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The UConn Huskies are hoping to have a Hockey East playoff spot, but this season's second half will give them a new beginning for a push behind their young talent.

In 2012, UConn announced it would be moving from Atlantic Hockey to Hockey East beginning in the 2014-15 season. UConn started its new era with a new coach, Mike Cavanaugh. Since the move, UConn has yet to win a conference playoff game, with its best season under Cavanaugh coming in 2017-18 when it tied for fifth in the conference.

UConn showed promise last year when it knocked off No. 2 UMass in the season finale, and that was the highest-ranked opponent UConn has defeated.

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The Yale Bulldogs are one year removed from snatching a series win in the ECAC Hockey playoffs, but the tides have turned this season for the country's oldest collegiate hockey program.

The team is in ninth place in the ECAC Hockey standings, with a 5-10 record heading into their matchup against Union on Friday night. However, Yale can never be counted out due to the culture installed by head coach Keith Allain.

In 13 full seasons, Allain has coached Yale to a 235-159-42 record, six NCAA Tournament berths, and a national title in 2013 defeating Quinnipiac -- a team whose home ice is eight miles up the road from Yale's.

Nine out of Yale's top 10 scorers from last season returned, yet Yale has the 47th scoring offense in the country. In ECAC Hockey, Yale isn't top five in any offensive category.

There were high expectations for Yale after last year's solid campaign. The ECAC Hockey Coaches Poll projected the Bulldogs to finish fifth in the conference.

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