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Quinnipiac, Sacred Heart advance to UConn Hockey Classic final

The University of Connecticut, already established as a major power in both men's and women's basketball, has made it a priority of late to upgrade it's men's hockey program. After all, both of last year's national finalists—Quinnipiac and eventual national champion Yale—play in the Huskies' backyard.

West Hartford native Jordan Samuels-Thomas hopes to help his Bobcats bring home the bacon tonight when No. 8 Quinnipiac takes on Sacred Heart in the UConn Hockey Classic final at the XL Center.

Case in point: Next season, the Huskies will be moving from Atlantic Hockey to Hockey East, one of the two NCAA hockey power conferences in the East (the other being ECAC Hockey, home of both Yale and Quinnipiac).

For the 21st straight year, the University of Connecticut is hosting the UConn Hockey Classic, but this year the event will be held at the future home of UConn hockey—the XL Center in downtown Hartford. Previously, the tournament head been held in Storrs every year with the exception of 1997, when it was held in Norwich. The hope is that in the future, the event (or one similar) will feature the four D-1 teams from Connecticut (UConn, Yale, Sacred Heart and Quinnipiac), with the sites and host teams rotating.

Bridgeport has already proven to be a popular destination for NCAA hockey, serving as home for the East Regional in 2009, 2011 and 2012. In addition, the Webster Bank Arena will host the Eastern Regional once again in 2014, with the winning team advancing to the Frozen Four in Philadelphia. As in previous years, Yale and Fairfield will serve as co-hosts for the Bridgeport Regional—which, to quote the late John Lennon, is "most peculiar, mama," given the fact that Fairfield dropped ice hockey as a varsity sport in 2003.

In this year's UConn Hockey Classic, Quinnipiac, currently ranked No. 8 in the nation, topped UMass in a shootout, 3-2, while Sacred Heart blanked UConn, 3-0. UMass (6-13-2) and UConn (6-6-2) will tangle in today's consolation game at 4:05 at the XL Center. That game will be followed by the championship match between Quinnipiac (14-3-3) and Sacred Heart (5-12). First puck is scheduled to drop at 7:05 p.m. The championship game can be heard on WQUN 1220 AM or by clicking HERE.

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