Yale Bulldogs - Yale University - NCAA Ice Hockey Champions - 2013
When Yale head coach Keith Allain '80 addressed the media at the 2009 NCAA East Regional, he spoke of his team's goal of winning a national championship. At that point, the Bulldogs had only been to the NCAA Tournament twice since 1952, so it's safe to say that not many in attendance that day took Allain's comment seriously.
Four years later, Allain's Bulldogs are Frozen Four champions.
Yale defeated in-state and ECAC Hockey foe Quinnipiac, 4-0, before a crowd of 18,184 at the Consol Energy Center, concluding one of the most improbable runs in post-season history and marking the school's first NCAA team tournament championship -- in any sport -- since 1953.
Junior Clinton Bourbonais' goal with 3.5 seconds remaining in the second period turned out to be the game-winner, and the Bulldogs added three more tallies in the third period to wrap up the title.
"We've been stressing getting pucks and bodies to the net, and we threw it to net there and [Bourbonais] tipped it in," Allain, the Malcolm G. Chace Head Coach of Men's Ice Hockey, said of Yale's first goal. "That gave us momentum going into the third. That forced them to take some chances, and we were patient defensively and counter-attacked pretty well and came out on top."
Senior goaltender Jeff Malcolm made 36 saves to earn the shutout and grab Frozen Four Most Outstanding Goaltender honors. He also backstopped the Bulldogs to four successful penalty kills (10 saves).
Freshman Charles Orzetti scored Yale's second goal, followed by senior captain Andrew Miller(who also added an assist), and junior Jesse Root, whose empty-net goal came in front of his hometown Pittsburgh crowd.
Miller, who had six points (two goals, four assists) in Yale's four-game run to the title, was named the tournament's Most Outstanding Player. His assist on Root's goal was the 114th of his career, breaking the Yale record previously held by Bob Brooke.
"We knew they were going to run around a little bit because they were behind, so we took advantage of those opportunities, and I think we shut them down a little bit," Miller said. "They had a flurry at the beginning of the third, and Malcolm sat tall as he has all year."
Quinnipiac goaltender Eric Hartzell, a finalist for the Hobey Baker award, made 27 saves in the loss.
The Bulldogs, who entered the 16-team tournament as the No. 15 overall seed, toppled three No. 1 seeds en route to the title (Minnesota, UMass-Lowell, Quinnipiac), culminating with the championship game win over the Bobcats -- who entered the tournament as the top-ranked team in the nation.
Quinnipiac had previously defeated Yale three times in 2012-13 -- twice in the regular season and in the third-place game of the ECAC Tournament -- outscoring Yale 13-3 in those contests. But Yale defeated its Nutmeg State neighbors when it mattered most, recording the fifth shutout ever in an NCAA championship game and scoring four times on the nation's top-ranked defense.
The shots were close (11-9 QU) in the first period and both sides had great scoring chances. Malcolm and Hartzell, who each faced a pair of power plays, needed three or four top-notch saves to keep it 0-0 at the first intermission.
The teams combined for 29 shots on goal, including a two-man advantage for both, but the netminders were stopping everything that came their way. Yale had the first 5-on-3 penalty kill for just over a minute while Malcolm grabbed two pucks shot at him. Quinnipiac prevented a shot from reaching Hartzell for 1:13. Malcolm also stymied Jordan Samuels-Thomas on a breakaway midway through the second period for his most spectacular save of the night.
So it looked like this would be the first NCAA men's championship game to go to the third period scoreless since 1968… until Hartzell tried to clear the puck along the boards with under 10 seconds left in the second. Yale blueliner Rob O'Gara had put the puck along the boards behind the net and the Bobcat goalie went back to send it out and run out the clock. That's when Yale defenseman Gus Young picked off the puck and sent it hard toward the net. Bourbonais was in the slot with a defender on him but managed to re-direct the shot through Hartzell's legs and inside the far post with 3.5 seconds left.
The Blue made it 2-0 and Bourbonais was in on the scoring play again. This time, with Yale making a line change, he fed the puck to Orzetti heading up the left side. The freshman winger fired from the top of the left circle, picked up the rebound in the circle and blasted a shot back at Hartzell. The puck whizzed under a pad and into the back of the net at 3:35 of the third.
The Bobcats applied the pressure to try to break the bubble, but that also gave Yale opportunities. Kenny Agostino and Miller jumped all over one of those chances midway through the period. Agostino grabbed the puck in his end along the boards and skated up ice before seeing Miller breaking free ahead. The junior forward sent a perfect pass to the captain and Miller went in alone on the goal. Like the night before in overtime, the senior winger deked and then found the five-hole. This time it was a wrist shot from middle of the slot at 9:06 for his 18th of the season.
Root, the hometown hero, added the final goal of the night. Out of desperation, Quinnipiac head coach Rand Pecknold brought Hartzell to the bench for an extra skater -- and Root took advantage, firing the puck from just inside the blue line, above the right circle, into the vacated net with 6:58 left in the third.
Yale defeated the top three overall seeds in the tournament to win the title: Quinnipiac (No. 1), Minnesota (No. 2) and UMass Lowell (No. 3)… Andrew Miller's goal and assist gave him 156 career points, passing Bob Brooke for fifth on the Yale career list… Gus Young (Defense) and Clinton Bourbonais (Forward) joined Miller (Most Outstanding Player) and Jeff Malcolm (Most Outstanding Goaltender) on the All-Tournament Team for Yale… Yale became the third Ivy League school (Cornell in 1967 and 1970, Harvard in 1989) to win the NCAA title and the first No. 4 seed to win the crown since the introduction of the 16-team field in 2003… Yale's title was also the first by an ECAC Hockey team since Harvard's win in 1989… Yale previously participated in the NCAA Championship weekend in 1952 -- when only four teams participated in the post-season event (Yale lost in the semifinals to Colorado College and to St. Lawrence in the consolation game)… 2013 marked Yale's sixth trip to the NCAA Tournament field… The Blue suited up the same lineup from Thursday night.
Original Article by Steve Conn, Yale Sports Publicity Director, and Dan Fleschner http://www.yalebulldogs.com/