The last time Yale played in the Frozen Four of college hockey was back in 1952 at Broadmoor Arena in Colorado Springs, Colo. They finished third in what was then just a four-team tournament.
Flash forward 61 years to Saturday night, and the Bulldogs found Consol Energy Center in Pittsburgh much more to their liking as they shut out the Quinnipiac Bobcats 4-0 to claim their first NCAA Division 1 hockey national championship. The game was played before an announced crowd of 18,184.
It is the first time since 2009 that a No. 4 seed played in the national championship game; the tournament field expanded to 16 teams in 2003. Back in 2009, Miami of Ohio was the fourth seed in the West Regional who met up with Boston University, the number one seed in the Northeast Regional, in the championship game. Boston University defeated the Red Hawks 4-3 in overtime to bring home the national championship that year.
This year, not only was Yale the No. 4 seed in the West Regional, they were the 15th seed overall, and the final team to earn a berth in the NCAA tournament. It took a Michigan loss to Notre Dame in the CCHA final to give Yale their spot in the tournament.
The Bulldogs set their sights on Pittsburgh by defeating the Minnesota Golden Gophers in overtime 3-2 in the West Regional semifinal, and then by putting four goals on the scoreboard in the final 7:35 of the third period against North Dakota. In Pittsburgh on Thursday, the Bulldogs took down the UMass-Lowell River Hawks 3-2 in overtime to set up the title game with Quinnipiac.
Quinnipiac and Yale both play in the East Coast Athletic Conference, and the Bobcats had beaten the Bulldogs three times this season. Yet, Yale scored more goals on Saturday night (four) than it did in the previous three games combined against Quinnipiac, which was three.
BULLDOG BITS: Yale finished the season with a record of 22-12-2 under head coach Keith Allain. The squad was made up of six seniors, four juniors, seven sophomores and eight freshmen. The team has 21 Americans and four Canadians on the roster.
The first goal of Saturday’s game came from Yale junior forward Clinton Bourbonais with just 3.5 seconds left on the clock in the second period. It was the longest the NCAA National Championship game had remained scoreless since 1968, and the second-longest in NCAA history.
Yale’s fourth goal was an empty-netter, and it was scored by junior forward and Mt. Lebanon native Jesse Root at 13:02 of the third period. Senior forward Andrew Miller had an assist on Root’s goal. It gave Miller a total of 114 career assists, which is the new all-time assist record for the Bulldogs.
Senior goaltender Jeff Malcolm tied his season high with 36 saves in the game, and he claimed his third shutout of the season on his 24th birthday.
Yale began playing ice hockey in 1895, when they put up an undefeated record of two wins and zero losses.
BOBCATS BULLETINS: Qunnipiac ended their season 30-8-5 under head coach, Rand Pecknold. The squad was made up of twelve seniors, five juniors, three sophomores, and six freshmen. The team has 14 Americans and 13 Canadians on the roster.
Pecknold was honored by the New England Hockey Writers Association as the Clark Hodder Division 1 Coach of the Year, and he was a finalist for the Spencer Penrose Award.
The game on Saturday night marked just the third time this season that the Bobcats had been shut out. Quinnipiac stopped Yale 3-0 in their last meeting on March 23.
NEXT UP: The 2014 NCAA Men’s Frozen Four will be on April 10 and 12 at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia. The ECAC will serve at the host for the event.